Live music photography. The Living End at Palace. 23/09/2006
Olivia Desianti has achieved quite a lot for someone in her early twenties. By the age of twenty-one she has graduated with a degree in design (Visual Communication), begun her own online music magazine Arcady, established herself in the music photography scene, and started work as junior designer for the Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne.
After growing up in Perth, Olivia found that Melbourne would prove to be a more inspiring place to work. ‘There’s so much culture in Melbourne, which is why I moved here in the first place’, she exclaims. Originally getting involved in design, she moved on to advertising at her step-brother’s agency but, after three months, lost interest. She says she found it to be a harsh eye opener and had the feeling that she wasn’t going to last long in that particular field.
Olivia explains, ‘At university, I veered off slightly and started writing and taking photos for various music publications in my spare time. I ended up falling in love with the constant flow of work and the uncertainty that is always present in mass media. Within university itself, we started focusing on publication design, and from the minute I started that project, I knew I had finally found what I want to do.’
‘AMPERSAND’ Corporate Identity.
Logo design for a fictional organisation to teach young women and couples about having children.
During her time spent at university, Olivia was also finding her feet in the Melbourne music scene photographing live bands. Since 2005 she has been involved with an American online music magazine, Aced Magazine, by doing album reviews, then moving on to gig reviews. Following this, Olivia received a photographer’s pass to Bloc Party’s first Australian gig: ‘I ended up meeting heaps of people from that gig who helped me kickstart my career in band photography.’
From her university introduction to publication design, combined with experience on the music scene, Olivia began the online music magazine Arcady. Olivia started Arcady as a hobby to vent her design ideas and also to get a leg up in the music industry. She explains, ‘it began as a place to combine my two passions: music and design. I wanted a place where I can be within the music industry and still be visually creative. It started off as a bit of fun, a place where I can freely state my views on music.’
Being a young designer in Melbourne, Olivia says her advice to other young designers who are venturing into the design scene is to ‘network as much as you can. It doesn’t have to be with other designers; befriend people in the business, accounting, music, food, whatever industries. Explore how they think and find what you’re really interested in. Those contacts will come handy at some point.’ She is a designer who has a love of mass media, and that is her niche. ‘You have to find a niche that suits you, and the only way you can do that is to meet new people and find out what their world is like.’
Illustration for ‘Learn’ liftout of Herald Sun depicting subjects which students learn being applied to everyday life.
Apart from networking and gaining the right experience, Olivia says another important aspect of finding work is to be able to work in different disciplines, as more and more employers are now asking for web design skills. Olivia believes that this is bad news for most designers. She’s a firm believer that one has to perfect the craft of your choice, but to gain a basic knowledge of other disciplines is also essential.