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Logo and Printed Materials

Fiona Lascelles

On becoming an art director…

My first love is art. I wanted to go to art school from an early age but fell into what I felt was a more practical discipline, so you could say design has been a bit of a slow burn. In saying that, I enjoy the creative experience of problem-solving that comes with design.

On a typical day…

I’m not a morning person so I start my working day getting through those simple tasks. I try to keep email to certain times of the day so I’m not a slave to it. Then it’s a burn through a demanding workload.  

On inspiration…

Art galleries, music, books, travel, photography, Instagram.

On the arts…

The French thriller, Diva, was the first time I realised I could escape the mainstream. 

Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa was the first time I heard landscape as music, haunting minimalism at its best. More recently, that experience has come through electronica on the Russian label Klammklang. 

On what I do…   

As an art director in publishing I find the need to have a very DIY approach across a wide range of areas as it is a small team. I maintain both a day-to-day and long view of a brand which offers the opportunity for a more holistic approach which is great. Does this allow for the development of the craft of design? In my case, I would suggest the essence of the craft has evolved from its origins to fit industry demand, for better or worse.

On advice for those starting out…

Remain open, be curious, don’t run with the pack, develop your own voice, don’t sell yourself short, maintain a personal practice outside of the workplace, give something back.  

On working through a creative block...

I worked with an art director a while back on a project and to brainstorm we would set ourselves a certain time for an idea, say an hour. In this time we would individually make quick visuals on our laptop, stream-of-conscious-style. Work quickly, throw it down and move on. At the end we would discuss the ideas that emerged. I do that now to free up my thinking when I get stuck. As an exercise I find it liberating. 

On sustainability…

I feel we are on the cusp of change and designers have a great opportunity to influence this change. It’s a huge issue so here I can really only voice my concern about the food industry. More work needs to happen on the six Rs of sustainability with food packaging. One of my biggest grievances is takeaway coffee cups. Do you have to? 

On buying Made in New Zealand…

Yes, on the whole. Firstly, for environmental reasons of which we are all aware. 

But also there are some very talented designers and makers in this country, and some extraordinary innovation taking place. At Cuisine I support as many New Zealand makers by using their products wherever possible. It makes sense when we are celebrating New Zealand food to serve it on NZ made dishes.   

On the flipside, if looking to New Zealand exclusively my view becomes too introverted and I miss out on the talents of the global creative community where design is influenced by other cultures and histories.

On community…

Traditionally, community is a body of people with shared interests and provides a sense of belonging. This can be a problem if we fail to ensure empathy outside our own echo chamber. Because of this I would like the view of community to expand and become more diverse and inclusive.

On a joy in life…

Flowers... no, books… yeah, books. A favourite is Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris by Leanne Shapton.

The story of a relationship told through an invented auction catalogue of their possessions, consisting of over 300 black-and-white photographs of staged auction lots. The images tell the story with incredible succinctness and accuracy. This method of story-telling changed the way I look at how I use photography.

On finding balance 

I always feel as though I’m doing something wrong when I say that I don’t have balance in my life. But I do find time for those close to me, walking in the bush where I can, making delicious healthy food, reading, and weekend escapes sure help to reset. Is that balance? I’m not sure.

On someone significant in my life…

My father. He taught me about drawing, he provided unconditional support and enabled my creative endeavours from the get-go. He taught me to do the best that I could, be honest and authentic, alongside some righteous parallel parking skills!

On contributing to Great Full…

I believe it is a fundamental right for all humans to have access to the best healthcare, and we need to ensure this right doesn’t become a privilege.