Featured Studios

Harmonica

November 2017

Kate Moloney is one half of Harmonica, based in Gold Coast/Oslo. She's a cyclist, likes fishing and is really into design strategy. Asking lots of questions is her game! Read on to hear Kate's journey into design and hear about some lessons she's learnt along the way.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

Having grown up in the 80’s, my older brother and I didn’t have any iPads or iPhones. We did have a computer eventually with a nice black and green interface, but that never interested me too much.

My mum is really artsy so we always had arts and crafts happening in the house. To keep me busy while mum did her thing, she would always give me a tray of chalky watercolour paints (from Crazy Clarks) and a big pad of paper to occupy me. I loved watercolour painting so was always super chill when I had my paints. In grade 3 at school I did a project on Echidnas and Sharks (good combo I know) which included a large A2 poster that I hand painted of an elaborate highly detailed portrait of each animal. Although my mum only project managed me, and I did all the painting, Mrs Buckley still didn’t believe that I had actually done the work myself, so gave me a bad grade.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I’m a Strategic Graphic Designer. This means I ask our clients a lot of questions and think analytically about the answers. As a result, these answers form a solid framework to the designs that are then created. We build and improve brands.

Who are your top five design crushes right now?

I follow a lot of Illustrators and Design Agencies on IG so easily form some pretty solid crushes. At the moment I’m really loving Two Times Elliot, SP-GD, Bielke&Yang, Clase bcn and Christopher Doyle & Co.

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'Working with great people and continuing to do what I love has helped me to shape a really nice lifestyle'

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How important is networking to you?

Really important. Working with great people and continuing to do what I love has helped me to shape a really nice lifestyle. I like golf, but would rather meet people in a more organic way and in their comfortable social circles. A lot of our clients have come from rowdy nights out or sport.

What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?

So many lessons…

1. No man is an island. Collaborate with people who inspire you and whose opinions you respect.
2. The more people on the decision making team, the longer the process will take. Always price and schedule with this in mind.
3. The best results come from great client relationships and open communication. Trust your gut. If you feel like the client is going to be a pain in the ass, they probably are. It’s not worth working for them so pull the plug before you go through hell and create a sub-standard result.
4. Try to have a healthy mix of bread and butter work along with passion projects and portfolio builders. Too much of any could kill your vibe and put a strain on your bank account.
5. Information is power. The better the brief, the better chances you have of creating an effective design. Designing with purpose and reason is an easier task and subsequently makes for an easier sell to the client. Step them through the creative process and give reason for the design decisions you’ve made along the way (these should always relate back to the brief).

2017 for you in a sentence.

A big year for learning, decision making and networking.

Website: harmonica.agency

Instagram: @harmonica_agency

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