Featured Founder + Designer

The Binding

May 2019

We chat with the wonderful Madeline Rawlings, founder of The Binding, about how her in-house internship at a tech software company helped shape her practice, and the best parts and the worst parts of her job. Plus we discuss the great sense of purpose her side project The Essentials Club (@theessentialsclub) gives her.

Any hilarious stories about you as a kid being creative?

I didn’t pin point exactly what I wanted to do until after high school, but looking back I think it was always clear that graphic design was my calling as I was more likely to spend the time refining the cover page of an assignment (with word art rainbow text and palm borders of course), than probably actually doing the assessed work.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied graphic design at TAFE and it was honestly the best experience and I would highly recommend looking into it if you’re thinking of studying. All the teachers were industry experts and the course was full of practical/hands on skill learning. I felt job ready only 3 months into the program and applied for an internship knowing I’d be able to put my learnings into real life situations while studying. This was as an in-house designer at a tech software company where I was the only designer and was fortunate enough to be pushed out of my comfort zone, given a lot of creative freedom and a voice within the marketing team. Getting a chance to fine tune my skills in an open minded and evolving startup scene was one of the best things I could have done to set the foundations for the rest of my career.

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

I knew I wanted to set up an identity that was seperate to my name and could grow beyond just me. So after many scribbles and brainstorms I came to the conclusion that The Binding would be that identity. This was before it was exclusively a ‘studio’ and initially the idea behind it was to create a platform to bind all my creative endeavours and share my capabilities to provide design services. But that just became confusing from a content and messaging standpoint so I went through a process of refining and shifting to focus on branding. Now the name reflects the process of binding my client’s narrative with my design skills to craft meaningful identities. Or as Charles Eames said “Anytime one or more things are consciously put together in a way that they can accomplish better than they could individually, this is an act of design.”

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Intentionally put yourself in front of the people and opportunities you want to attract.

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What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day.

I’m obsessed with being a part of people’s business journeys. Generally clients come to me when they’re just starting out or about to make a massive pivot and for me to help create an identity for them, then watch on as they hit milestones and know that I somehow contributed to their narrative is a very rewarding feeling!

One of the worst parts of what I do is definitely the admin. I love the creative side of what I do, but with every project there’s a heap of emailing, quoting and invoicing that needs to be completed and that sucks up a lot of time and takes me away from what I want to actually be doing - The Designing! It’s something I’ve considered outsourcing but to be honest I struggle to comprehend the logistics of how that works.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

As mentioned in my naming process I have a lot of creative outlets and with The Binding being more of a niche focus I then started a personal side project where I can now share other interests without the constraints. This is The Essentials Club (@theessentialsclub // theessentialsclub.com ) which is all about sharing DIY projects, tips on ethical/sustainable choices, and holding me accountable to get creative for myself and away from the digital world by focusing on tangible projects. Having graphic design skills has helped SO much bringing this baby to life which I’m forever thankful for as TEC has given me a great sense of purpose knowing that I’m making some kind of positive impact!

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

So many of the connections I made in my early days influenced my career path. So my biggest piece of advice is to intentionally put yourself in front of the people and opportunities you want to attract. Go to events. Join groups. Reach out to people/business you admire online. Be present at the right places because who knows what doors will open for you.

Website: thebinding.com.au

Instagram: @the.binding

Twitter: @thebinding__

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