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Careers in Design

April 27, 2009
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the goals of this project and it brought me back to a recent Q&A I did with Indesign for their Careers in Design website – a new, online careers resource for the Australasian architecture and design community. Listing current, exciting jobs from the fields of architecture, design and interiors, Careers in Design is the only design-industry specific career platform of its kind in the region. Visit for more information.

I’ve pasted the Q&A below, or you can read it on the Careers in Design site:

In June 2008 Brisbane designer KT Doyle received a Creative Sparks Grant from the Brisbane City Council to create prototypes for a range of sustainable wallpaper and textiles. She set out on a journey that involved enlisting professionals from a range of areas within design – to give advice, support and creative assistance in developing her own range. KT has recently collaborated with Porter’s Original Paints and Space Furniture in Brisbane.

Tell us the story of how you approached a group of key design industry professionals to give feedback on your work:

Before applying for the [Creative Sparks], grant and in order to maximise the success of the project, I decided to approach a range of experts within the design sector and ask if they might be interested in assisting the project’s journey with feedback during crucial milestones. I invited specialists relevant to the project in architecture, interior design, textiles, graphic and product design, critical writing, curatorial and sector development. I was thrilled that they were all excited about coming on board! They have injected an energy and dynamism into the project, which has helped it evolve far beyond what I had anticipated.

What was it like approaching these big companies?

I approached Porter’s Original Paints in October 2008 to produce my range of wallpaper, however, it wasn’t until the collaboration with Space Furniture on their February 2009 Moooi window installation that our relationship crystallized. One of my industry experts was working at Space Furniture’s Brisbane showroom when they were establishing the vision for the Moooi window and I was brought on board to provide the wallpaper backdrop for the display. This is a perfect example of being known to someone and their ability to see the potential for your work.

Both Space Furniture and Porter’s Original Paints gave generously of their time and knowledge through the process, which allowed me to push the limits of what I thought I could do.

What kind of feedback did they give you and how has this changed the trajectory of your career?

The support my industry experts have provided, has nurtured the work to become even more than I had hoped. We have been in close email contact throughout the project, but more than this, our roundtable meeting at the project’s halfway mark was what confirmed the ultimate direction I’ve taken.

They haven’t once told me ‘what I should do’, but instead created a space in which I could see clearly ‘what I need to do’.

How has living in Brisbane benefited your career?

The design industry in Brisbane is truly prospering, with all facets experiencing innovative growth and success. I am lucky to be surrounded by so many talented designers, all forging their careers in both a local and global context. The community here is intimate enough to provide the support and connectedness, which is crucial to any burgeoning career. However, it is large and diverse enough to allow great cross-fertilization of ideas.

How do you manage working a full time job while developing your own design business?

Ah! This isn’t easy! My employer started his own business 10 years ago and has gone from strength to strength in the creative industries. He understands what it takes to develop a small business and has been really flexible with my working hours. I now work a full week in four days, giving me one business day in my studio, which is invaluable for making phone calls, visiting suppliers and conducting research. I work approximately 24 hours/week on my project, including weekends and nights. Whatever it takes to get me across the line in terms of my goals and deadlines!

KT Doyle’s five essentials to starting your own design business:

1. Remain focused on your initial goals.

2. Do your homework – research is the key to making informed decisions.

3. Put in the hard work, it will pay off.

4. Find the support you need and always remember to say ‘thankyou’.

5. Use constructive criticism to move forward and find better ways of working.

Advice for emerging designers:

Two things have really helped me along the way:

1. Share knowledge, it’s both empowering and will help move your entire sector forward, and

2. Absolutely, never give up!

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