The Coworker Chat #1 - Design By Bird Creative Director, Luke Carson

Interview with Design By Bird Creative Director, Luke Carson

Luke Carson and his growing family call Mornington Peninsula home. Creative Director and founder of design studio, Design by Bird, he and his team work from the collaborative workspace Co.Co Place.

Luke was a child who always had a Derwent in hand – he was the proud owner of not just the twelve pack, but the seventy-two. He drew the world around him in colours that made sense to him, capturing what he saw with the guidance of loved ones like his father who encouraged his creativity and challenged his development.  As a high school student he was mentored by inspiring teachers who nurtured his lateral thinking and creativity which led him to the decision to make design his career.

Like every new design graduate, his career began through work in design studios, learning the nuances of the creative process working with client briefs. After a long career working in leading design studios, Luke decided to take the leap and begin his own studio.  Like any new business, starting a business for yourself is a risk. It opens a world of business beyond just delivering the creative projects, it involves seeking new clients and managing a team. He was ready. It was time to carve out a space and team that he could lead in his own brand style.  He has not looked back.

Over the first year through marketing and collaborations with design school and public speaking opportunities, the studio grew in profile. Building the team, he assembled an innovative group of talented individuals who could help him deliver the unique design solutions he was passionate about. Initially based in Melbourne city, Luke decided he had now created a strong national network of clients that meant he could be based anywhere to deliver creative.  He made the decision to move the studio to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, the place where he had grown up, seeking a change of scene and different environment.

Finding inspiration from the bush to the beach and everything in between, Mornington Peninsula has been a great move for the studio.  One challenge the ever growing studio does face is a challenge that many Peninsula based businesses continue to face – attracting and retaining young talent. Luke shared;

‘Most move away from the Mornington Peninsula after growing up in the area. They study and find their first job in the city and move back in their thirties... making it difficult to discover and nurture junior designers,’ says Luke.

Luke understands this trend, as he did the same thing. He sees this as a unique challenge to up the ante in his studio and provide young talent with education and opportunities and give them reason to stay and grow with the business. 

The name ‘Design By Bird’ reflects the studio’s approach to design - like a bird soaring above,  the studio is committed to  seeing things from a different perspective. The studio embraces divergent thinking, challenging the obvious through collaboration with clients. 

Luke believes:  ‘The obvious thing is easy. To simplify that and come to something worthy; that is the hard bit.’ 

Luke says his design process is considered, not disciplined; ‘Set the rules first, then break them.  If you break them before people understand them, they don’t see the importance of the break.’

‘You are not going to wake up and find the solution, you have to go through the process to find it.’

Luke loves the design process, loves seeing emotion in a client, and the moment when they embrace an idea. For Luke, these things are ‘the adrenaline rush’.

Luke selected Co.Co Place as the base for his studio, because he believes there are many benefits in sharing the same environment with other businesses. He says he would never work from home, or alone in an office with his team, because ‘it’s too boring and insular’.

Coworking allows him to collaborate, build a community where ideas are shared and hard working people assemble in a space to do what they do best.  The collective community of businesses motivates and energises each other to work harder to grow. 

Luke’s time out is taking his dog Jess for runs on the esplanade from Mornington to Mount Martha. This is where he remembers why he moved back here to inspire a new lifestyle of balance and inspiration. He says ‘it’s like an artist has painted it everyday.’

When asked to name three people he would like to invite to a dinner party to discuss design, Luke says he would love to share a seafood feast and debate the idea of simplification, creating meaning in design.  He would ask the following individuals and brand to weigh in:

  •  Josef Muller Brockmann (Swiss Graphic designer who studied architecture, design and the history of art. Renown for his simple design and his clean use of typography)

  • Aesop (iconic beauty brand who uses simple clean design and typography to engage and delight it’s customers)

  • Nathan Buckley (former Collingwood player, commentator and coach – just to get a different perspective – and because Luke is an avid Collingwood supporter!)

A story shared by

Luke Carson, Design By Bird

Interviewer: Stef Boadle, Co.Co Place

Copywriter: Rachel Doyle