photography: nagoya/kariya (aichi prefecture)

Blog, Photography

In visiting Nagoya in early December, I caught the very end of autumn leaves, but it was still gorgeous – absolutely crisp air, clear blue skies. I’ve never seen a proper deciduous forest in full flame, but this was a taste of what it must be like. Nagoya autumn leaves

The apartment buildings have small playgrounds that look like they haven’t changed for 40 years since they were first put in. The colours here meld with the fallen autumn leaves, and children walk home from school rugged up in the 9 degree air. Nagoya playground 1

I love looking out from Japanese apartment buildings, having grown up in the sprawling Australian suburbs. From the top floor, its a bit like looking out at a raised ground level. Most apartments are only 3 to 5 storeys (kai) high, and so you can actually still see the gorgeous winter sky. Nagoya view1

print design: modern wedding invitations

Blog, Print


I married the love of my life in June of last year and despite attempting to persuade my more talented friends to design my wedding invitation, they insisted it was my responsibility.Wedding-Invite_angle

I wanted to design an invitation that was rich, evocative and easily printable. We couldn’t afford expensive embellishments like foils or embossing and I didn’t have the time to hand glue and cut thousands of small pieces of ribbon or paper.

I wanted something that looked modern, rather than the very traditional or classic styles, but without chevrons and on-trend everything (aka ‘as seen on Pinterest’).Wedding-Invite_frontWedding-Invite_back

We continued the design across the order of service and the thankyou cards (which we had in place of wedding favours).still004

In lieu of traditional wedding favours like chocolates or candles, we gave gifts from the TEAR Really Useful Gifts catalogue to different projects, and each table received a different item. Having received a lot of bomboniere that were food or cute tokens, I found it hard to justify that myself, knowing that our guests wouldn’t really benefit from a packet of seeds or something else small that fit within our budget – but that same one or two dollars would go much further for people who couldn’t afford to eat or send their children to school. The thankyou card was simple and explained our decision – many of our guests loved the idea and commented on it afterward to us.

Thankyou card for placesettings

Image by Halcyon Claire Photography

If you’re interested in buying the design or having me create your own custom wedding invitations or bits and pieces, please contact me and let me know. I would love to help you celebrate your upcoming wedding day.

Fonts: Gotham font family, Mountain Retreat, hand lettered names
Illustration: Custom photo illustration by me.
Photo credits: Wedding photo & Program/order of service by Geoff Beatty. Thankyou card by Halcyon Claire Photography. Both of these photographers were brilliant to work with and made us so relaxed on the day. Absolute pros.

packaging + web: Pace Farm Madagascar Promo

Blog, Print, Web

Busy busy! Lots happening on the freelance desk. Pace Farm, a previous client of ours, are running a new family competition/promo in conjunction with the upcoming Dreamworks animation, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted! and Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. They’re giving away 3 family holidays to Dreamworld, movie tickets and more.

The promotion packs hit stores a few weeks ago and look really great! Check them out at the supermarket and pick up a promo pack yourself  – then head online and enter the competition! [assuming you aren’t in my immediate family… sorry Mum!]Promotional Home Page

Previously we’ve come into these promotions at the website/online competition entry stage, and this time Pace Farm asked us to do the promotional packaging design as well! We handled a lot of back and forth getting the design just right to suit all the stakeholders and meet the legal requirements for the copyright holders and the relevant government bodies.

The website design includes promo material from Dreamworks for the Madagascar 3 movie and from Dreamworld. It also includes a secure competition entry page built on the client’s server. We made use of Google Webfonts for better SEO and content visibility, as well as tracking the whole thing with Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of the design and provide meaningful feedback.

Check it out while it’s live! –>

All movie artwork and Madagascar 3 elements: Madagascar 3 © 2012 DreamWorks Animation L.L.C

visualizing marathon: growing pains

Blog, Print

Photo by Charlene Manuel

Last year I was part of a team in the Visualizing Marathon 2011: Sydney! A bunch of students across disciplines as varied as computer science, statistics, industrial design and visual communication came together in teams to visualise the problem laid out for us. Part of a global challenge across 5 cities, each city handed participants a challenge unique to their region and community. Ours?

The Challenge: Visualize the relationship between Australia’s demographics and the health care workforce. What are the current trends and specific stress points? As the population changes, how will the workforce need to respond? How does an overburdened workforce affect the country’s health?

With just 24 hours to come to grips with the data, the problem and come up with a deadly data visualisation, Tiia, Josephine and myself threw ourselves into it.

We were one of two teams awarded an honourable mention.

Our work wanted to illustrate the large amounts of data that explain the issue and help people come to grips with it. We created an illustrated infographic in just 24 hours that used metaphors around ‘growing pains‘ to show how the forecast changes to our population over the next twenty years will increase stress on a healthcare system that already under-supports people in rural areas and Indigenous Australians.

Interested in the process work?

Additional Credits: Tiia Metzke, Josephine Lie.

flyer + poster design: PTC Conference

Blog, Branding, Print

How to represent ‘All of Life, in All the World?

In April, the Presbyterian Theological Centre asked me to produce a promotional flyer for a 2 day conference they were running in conjunction with the World Reformed Fellowship.

Unlike many conferences, the drawcard was the richness of the background and experience of the speakers from around the world, and they were mostly unknown. The topic, however, was one that would appeal to ordinary church members, not just church leaders and Bible scholars.

The challenge was to create marketing material that would communicate this clearly, make it seem accessible and yet compelling. The format was a DL flyer/handout (as small as possible to save costs on printing) and an A3 poster that would be pinned up at churches.

The Poster Design

My approach was to draw together my own photography into a matrix to visually pull out the difference in world cultures and the church. The images are from Sydney, Japan, Vanuatu and are both distinctive and suggestive. The colours were fresh and based on the photographs.

Front page of DL Flyer

Reverse of DL Flyer with details and registration form

David Burke, one of the organisers and a Lecturer from PTC, had this to say about working with me on the design:

It was a positive experience to work with Fiona. She listened to the information we presented and worked in a way that was sensitive to the brief. She was readily available and flexible in contact and we were pleased with the final result.

The printing was done by Springwood Printing, who were very easy to work with and quite flexible in providing quotes and options.

business card: Quantum Events

Blog, Print

Quantum Events is a production and lighting company starting to make themselves known in Sydney. They already had a wicked logo but needed some help to get it into a format they could put into people’s hands.

Matt Celloglaze business cards with a Spot UV finish to highlight the logo design

I designed them a business card that would be memorable and convey the quality production and lighting experience people could expect from the business. The Spot UV varnish adds to the play of light on the cards, something that reflects their business.

The owner, Tom Smart, had this to say about the project:

You were very easy to work with, and I had complete confidence through out the entire project

Full Colour / double sided business card design

The imagery on the back of the card is based on their logo and gives priority to the contact details of the owner. Click below to see the artwork for the cards.

Check them out on Facebook or visit their website for a pricing list.

logo + website design: Gumnut Kindergarten

Blog, Branding, Web

We’ve been working on a website for the friendliest kindergarten/preschool on the Northern Beaches, Gumnnut Kindergarten, for a little while now, and it’s all ready to go.

I went to visit them in the early stages of the project and it really is lovely happy place – just like a family. They have places available now! 

It’s a WordPress managed site, with all the content updateable in a simple backend format. The header image changes dynamically and the site includes real photos of their facilities and natural surrounds. We used some funky Google WebFonts to mix it up a bit and add that cutesy kid touch to the whole thing.

New Logo for Gumnut KindergartenI also developed a more web-friendly logo for them, keeping the central ideas and message of their existing logo. (You know what? Gumtree leaves are actually quite hard to draw and represent. Gumnuts with blossoms are even harder!)The kindergarten wanted to maintain their links to the church in their logo tagline and also in the design of the website. We used a ‘bookmark’ symbol to link back to the church website, as well as a quote from the Bible in their logo.

Our client says:

Thank you for the work you have put into it, it looks
fantastic, very welcoming and the message is very clear.

Technically, developing the site structure was a challenge – to develop an architecture for their information from the ground up and make it clear for a new visitor where to find the information they need. We made sure that the structure and content included was clear from the outset, and the client understood what to do next.

We integrated it into our favourite CMS, WordPress, to make a website that has easily updateable links, content and downloads. They are easily able to change application forms or policies online, and make changes to photos and other admin details as changes happen.

We even gave them a user guide to make it super simple to maintain. This will mitigate future costs of needing to pay a web developer money to make small administrative changes, which from a small business perspective is one of the biggest selling points for investing the extra money in having a website with a CMS (content management system).

Interested in knowing more? James Kirsop and I make websites, and we’d love to make one for you. 

branding + flyer: Stu Robinson [magician…]

Blog, Branding, Print

This was an interesting project – I seem to be getting a lot of niche market work at the moment, which means cool opportunities to bring things together.

Stu Robinson is a talented magician based in Sydney. I worked on helping him develop his professional branding and identity to promote his stand up magic shows, and with an interesting twist, an added Christian message. Stu does magic shows for both secular and Christian events and wanted to include that aspect prominently in his identity. Stu Robinson Logo

Clean, light typographic logo, to go along with some wicked photography taken by James Kirsop and art directed by yours truly.

Early logo concepts in black and white playing on the idea of card tricks and elusiveness.

Photography by James Kirsop

The vibe for the photography and brand identity was cheeky with attitude, fun without being too much like a kid’s party atmosphere.

There’s more photos to come, and photos of the finished postcard. Stay tuned!

branding: Brush With Destiny Studios

Branding, Print, Web

Recently helped a friend launch a small business as a miniature painter in Sydney, called ‘Brush with Destiny Studios‘. It’s kindof a niche market, giving me the chance to really have fun and design something a bit quirky.

The logo has a slight coat-of-arms feel to it, using elements of both the Warhammer and fantasy miniatures that Douglas Taylor paints, and also incorporates some painting imagery as well.

I haven’t personally seen the printed business cards yet but I’ll add a photo as soon as I get a sample.

The client was after a low cost, low maintenance website and was prepared to do a fair bit of the work himself of maintaining  content and figuring out how to use the CMS, so we went with a Hover URL forwarded to a WordPress blog, using the Structure theme and I added a few template posts to illustrate the potential.

So far its a roaring success! The new website had over a four hundred pageviews this week and the client has had a lot of good feedback on the business cards, which he plans to place in hobby shops and Games Workshop outlets around Sydney.