Home-grown style lost as Aussies bring in Poms

I read with interest what the article ‘Stepping on to the global stage’ (DW 9 August) had to say about Sydney Design 07 and Australian design in general. In the past seven years I have either been working there, or consulting with associates who are based there. There is a misconception that Australia has this great wealth of home-grown talent.

Yes, there are some very good home-grown creatives, but the majority are immigrants, mostly from the UK and Europe, who bring their skills with them, particularly in graphics and advertising. I’m sure the Australian Graphic Design Association will be the first to claim there is a wealth of talent – well why don’t you shout about it!

Aussie design groups frequently ask recruiters to bring in people from the UK. They desperately want the European look to their branding and packaging. Many retailers have traded on the Australiana theme for years, so they bring in UK groups to give them a British-style brand solution. Australian retailers such as Coles Meyer now have identities that are no different to any British retailer.

Sydney Festival organisers created an unimaginative identity that is so bland it’s no wonder the event struggles to attract the attention of the global design community. Both South African (Indaba) and New Zealand design events have a higher profile.

Australian consultancies try to be more British than we are – instead of promoting a pseudo-British look, why don’t you look to your own design heritage and rediscover what makes Australia good?

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