Thanks to the sheer number of Sydney creatives, there’s no shortage of imagination fueling the city’s thriving design culture. One of those brilliant minds is Paul Garbett of Garbett Design.
Paul’s passion for graphic design started as a child after uncovering his grandpa’s collection of passports, stamps, and bank notes inside an old suitcase. From that point, he was hooked. He studied at Johannesburg’s National School of the Arts during high school, then graphic design at Johannesburg University.
After moving to Sydney in 1998, he co-founded Garbett Design (formerly NaughtyFish) with Danielle de Andrade.
Since then, the independent graphic design studio has created works for clients such as Moonlight Cinema, AGDA, and Raffles. Paul has also received various accolades for his design, which includes two Pinnacle awards from AGDA, two Platinum awards from Graphic, and awards from the New York Type Director’s Club and D&AD.
We had a chat with Paul to learn more about his work.
How would you describe your overriding design philosophy?
“At the core, we’re trying to make things better that we found them.”
Is there one project, or a couple of projects, in particular that you look back on with great pride?
“Working for the Utzon Music series season identity for four years for the Sydney Opera House was great. I still like the work we did for the Australian Institute of Architects, Making2014 Conference and the identity for The Practical Man.”
It seems more so than many other creative mediums, designers look back on the greats of the past for inspiration. Who were some of the designers that inspired your work as you were getting going?
“There are loads, but Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Paula Scher, Le Corbusier, Laszio Maholy-Nagy, Frank Stella, Sol Lewit, The Bauhaus, Charles and Ray Eames, Dieter Rams, Wim Crouwel come to mind right now.”
Any advice for aspiring designers looking for a start these days?
“Be curious. Things will change a lot over your career, so have an open mind. Play the long game and try to build a career that you find interesting every day – even in 20 years.”
Tell us about the key to designing a great logo.
“A simple, good idea is the essence of it. Aim for something that endures as opposed to something trendy. Make sure it is unique, at least amongst its competitors.”