Discover the interview of Matt Grantham from Onfire Design Ltd in Auckland, New Zealand.
How did you become a designer?
It ended up being a pretty linear journey for me. I came by graphic design at school in the UK through an art teacher at school and I was lucky enough to have access to a very early Apple Mac, with some very basic drawing and photo editing software which, at the time, blew my mind! Fast forward to University at what was Kent Institute of Art and Design, via an art foundation course where I had a brief flirtation with fashion design, where I studied Communication Design. A fancy moniker for a multidisciplinary course where I got exposure to photography, illustration, fashion (yeah that cropped up again!), Printmaking and graphic design. It was a great course at the time, gaining valuable experience in all these other areas while understanding different methodologies, ways of working and developing ideas.
After Uni, I went through the usual graduate and junior designer stints at a few big studios in London (Pearlfisher, Fitch to name drop a couple) where my eyes were opened to how these studios worked. I got my first full-time position at a small agency called Creative Edge in South West London. From there I travelled. Ending up in New Zealand in 2000. Since then I worked my way through a number of brand and packaging agencies in Auckland. After 13 years at Coats Design where I ended up as Creative Director, I moved to the same role at Onfire Design in 2017.
How would you define your vision of design, your style ?
As a very young, ambitious, and a little bit naive, junior designer riffing on all things trendy at the time, it was hammered into me by my then Creative Director that the particular studio we were at ‘does not have a style, we make ideas happen and kick f*&(ing ass’! That nugget has stuck with me ever since. Each project is different, each challenge brings something new to the table and the team amends ‘style’ to the project informed by sound creative strategy and finding the story or great idea and crafting that beautifully!
For the future, what are your professional projects ?
Onfire Design has a vast array of clients, from owner-operators, start-ups through to national and International FMCG brands, our projects right now and in the short term reflect that eclectic (aka awesome!) mix.
Current work involves two large New Zealand based FMCG brands who are at different points in developing new products and refreshing their current portfolios, naming and developing the packaging for a husband and wife start-up in the health and beauty segment, developing a brand and e-commerce packaging system for a start-up client in Asia through to naming a new commercial business in Australia. An existing client also gave us a brief last year to create a promotional video for a new product range (a first for me), with more to follow this year. Never a dull day.
What do you like the most in your job ?
The challenge of each day (refer to above answer!). The variety is stimulating, exciting, scary and inspiring. Building strong relationships with clients is always rewarding. Getting to know them, their products, needs and how they work from the single operator through to working with marketing departments. More than anything, the team and culture that has been developed at Onfire Design – a family in all senses of the word, using our individual knowledge, experiences and experiences in a collective manner to succeed in this awesome business!