FK talks to Tanya from We Are Messengers, who will be at the Brisbane Markets this weekend!
Tell us about We Are Messengers.
We are a boutique stationery company specialising in hand-printed greeting cards which are all designed, manufactured and printed here in Brisbane. All of our products are environmentally friendly using only natural materials and/or recycled where possible. Each product features a unique message that is designed to impact others in a good way. We really do care about making a difference to the world we live in and we hope you do too.
What is your background, and how did you get started?
I’ve been a graphic designer for just on 11 years now. Anything art/design related has always been a focus of mine, so it was no surprise to my family when at the age of 15 I decided I wanted to be a ‘commercial artist’. I’ve been lucky enough to work in Brisbane and London as a designer and have been exposed to many different industries. Whilst in London I was lucky enough to work for a recycled stationery company and that’s when I started to build the foundations for what I am doing today (even though I didn’t know it at the time). When I returned to Brisbane 5 years ago I scored a job lecturing in Graphic Design for Shillington College. It was here that I really started to develop myself as a designer and was involved in the establishment of Blanket Magazine as I was in desperate need of inspiration. After a few years of having taught typography to others, I felt it was about time I used some of it on my own product! So together I combined my passions, took the plunge and never looked back.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you develop this into your creative process?
Inspiration for me is everywhere. Whether it be some old signage on a shop front down the road or the clothes some random person is wearing. I try not to be too picky or selective as creativity can come from so many things. It’s how you execute that final design that ends up making the impact. I have a huge pile of brochures and printed materials sitting on my drawers, I have magazines galore and am constantly searching websites like welovetypography.com. When working on my products, I find the process is quite organic and dependant largely upon the message. I also try to experiment so my process can be quite different one day to the next. Some times I opt for a hand drawn outcome and other days I find the computer is much more successful.
What has been the most challenging aspect in developing your business?
Having the confidence to go out there and sell it. There’s always a little voice in the back of your head scaring you to not do things. We are only in our first year of business and already we’ve had a huge response, it’s been enough to keep me going which is great. The biggest challenge from a business perspective has been figuring out how to run the business on a day to day basis – Trying to find the personality of We Are Messengers, what do we do during the week, do we blog, tweet, facebook, how do we connect to others, what works and doesn’t work, product testing and general admin. My focus is now on building the business a little more strategically, getting a core range together that we can start to sell wholesale.
Tell us what you find is most unique about the Brisbane design scene?
Ah Brisbane, I love the city. The design scene has been growing dramatically in the last few years and we’ve been lucky enough to become one of the cities that the Semi-Permanent conference visits. We also have beautiful new buildings like GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art), which sits on the river opposite the CBD and is not only a great place to visit for inspiration, but the cafe by the river is a great picnic spot. In October this year we will be hosting the Icograda Design week – which is a huge step for us, its certainly a sign that the times are a changing. I’m sure that I come across a new Brisbane designer, exhibition or venue that is arts focussed each week and often stumble upon many other like minded creatives who run their own businesses.
What are you currently working on, and what new things can we expect to see at Brisbane FK?
At the Sydney Autumn/Winter Markets we launched our NEW range of notebooks and Pencils, in Brisbane we are preparing these new products as well as some new nifty little pencil cases made out of 100% wool felt. I’ve had my mum in the sweat shop helping me sew. Can’t wait to see how they go! We are trying out some new colours for printing which is always fun.