How graphic design became art

Aug 04, 2014

Earlier this year, my desire to meet new people and find out what was happening in my neighbourhood led me to join the Teneriffe Progress Association (TPA). I was then asked to design them a promotional flyer to attract new members, and volunteer at the TPA stand at the 2014 Teneriffe Festival.

The flyer featured a modern, colourful illustration of life in Teneriffe showing the suburb’s unique character. I didn’t originally create the illustration to sell, but the overwhelmingly positive feedback I received after posting a picture of it on social media planted the seed.

It was one week before the festival, and with time against me, I embarked on the ambitious task of turning my illustrations into art prints to sell.

Supporting Brisbane businesses

I decided to position my prints as high quality keepsakes for Brisbane locals and visitors alike, and chose premium papers and production methods to suit. As a souvenir of Brisbane, it was important to me that the ‘products’ were 100% designed and printed in Brisbane. I turned to Colour Chiefs—who I consider to be the best digital printers in town—for my full colour prints, and the friendly Brendon at Cosmic Screenprinting to reproduce a limited quantity of my line drawings in a range of colours.

Reproducing them at A4 was logical for a number of reasons—easy to carry on the day, efficient to print, easy to frame, cheap to post, and potentially high impact in shop displays down the track.

The prints arrived the day before the festival and that night I was up late making labels and packaging the artworks into plastic sleeves.

The rewards

After all the time and effort to coordinate, not to mention the cost, I sold a grand total of 3 prints at the festival. I chalked it up to experience, stuck with it, and since then I’ve sold 25 prints—enough to cover my expenses after just one month. Other milestones include making my first online sale on Etsy and getting my prints stocked at the local homewares and gift shop New Farm Editions.

I’m enjoying the process of learning about how to sell a product rather than a service, and my biggest reward has been the feedback I’ve received when people tell me that my work has inspired them to do what they love.

TPA stand at the Teneriffe Festival

Prints on sale at New Farm Editions