Daisylegs: friendship, design and Monsters Inc

Published:  March 29, 2016
Gemma Pass

Daisylegs is a Melbourne-based design studio founded by Jamie Edward and Maddison Kitching. Set in motion towards the end of 2013, the studio is quickly becoming known for their original blend of art and design, and their multi-disciplinary, hands-on approach. With an impressive new website having just rolled out, desktop spoke with Jamie and Maddison about the most valuable things they learnt in design school, their favourite projects to date, and how their bond over Don Don’s and Captain Good Vibes cemented their friendship and design practice in place.

For those of us who don’t know you yet, tell us about Daisylegs. How did it get started, and what kind of work do you do?

Jamie: Hello we’re Maddison and Jamie. We are a graphic design, illustration and mural painting practice with a strong emphasis on being hands on and having fun. We’re a weird blend of art and design.

Maddison: We met at university [RMIT] in 2010 where we bonded over Don Don’s and Captain Good Vibes. From there we started painting and drawing together, getting small jobs along the way. Like painting a mate’s sister’s bedroom and succulent pamphlets for succulent lovers but yeah, those jobs gave us the kick that started Daisylegs.

What drove Jamie and yourself to start the studio?

M: We were really excited about other studios and artists who had done their own thing. We were also pretty sceptical about getting a good job with someone else. We thought it’d be way more fun and easy to work for ourselves. We were wrong about it being easy!

Logo design for Espresso Martinnie.

Daisylegs studio poster.

Your approach to design is very hands on. What advantage do you think this has for the work itself, the studio and its clients?

M: We think that a hands-on approach often leads to new discoveries, especially when experimenting with materials. Our mistakes often lead us in new directions, and this helps us with new ideas or suggestions for clients.

J: The studio space is always changing to suit the type of job we have. Some days we are clean and tidy working at our desks, but other days there are buckets of paint scattered everywhere. We believe that this flexibility in the studio has allowed us to create a more diverse range of work and it keeps us open to new challenges and opportunities.

How would you describe the style of your work?

J: This is a tricky question to answer because our style evolves to suit the job at hand. It’s always changing. Our work can range from clean and simple computer generated graphics to hand drawn illustration to large, colourful painted wall murals. Maddison and I work on our own artwork on the side, but when we approach each new job, we always try to remain as neutral as possible and to not let our personal styles have a big influence.

Photo courtesy of Marble Basics. Photography: Sean Fennessey, Styling: Bliss Adams and Bonnie Adams.

Logo and stationery design for Marble Basics.

What are the studio’s guiding beliefs?

M: We follow the motto “Work smoothly, lifetime peace.” I was in Springvale buying some dumplings when a monk approached me and gave me a gold badge with this saying inscribed on it. Initially I was stoked and humbled by this free gift, but then the monk asked me to pay for it. A few days later we found out it was a scam happening all over Victoria! But I did buy the badge and now it’s one of our favourite items and that’s become our company motto.

You work on a diverse range of projects and clients. What has been one of your favourite projects to work on?

M: We were involved in the launch of Grill’d’s new flagship store on Flinders Lane earlier this year. This was an awesome job for us because we got to collaborate with a great bunch of people at Grill’d and Techne Architecture and Design to create a mural based on the Melbourne laneways (Melbourne has heaps of laneways). It reaches 6m in height. It was hectic working on site with all of the building trades but we loved drinking V’s at 6 in the morning and reading Zoo Magazine with the tradies.

J: We also recently designed the EP cover art for Melbourne band Slum Sociable. The artwork is all hand painted on trashy gossip magazines, which I secretly love, and we listen to their music all the time, so it was really satisfying to be involved.

Mural for Grill'd, Flinders Lane.

Mural for Grill’d, Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Press shot for Slum Sociable.

The studio has been involved with an organisation called Red Dust; can you tell us a little about the organisation and what you’ve been doing?

J: Red Dust is an organisation that delivers health promotion services to remote Indigenous Communities. They have a Role Model program where musicians, athletes, artists and corporates get involved with delivering these health messages.

M: We’re super excited to be involved with these guys. They are doing amazing things! We’ve been out bush with them a few times now to the Tiwi Islands, Wadeye and Peppimenarti, where we have helped out at schools by running art programs for the kids.

M: To apply our skills in this way has been extremely rewarding personally, and by the same token influential in the direction of Daisylegs.

What people and places do you find to be the most inspiring and why?

M: We’re excited and inspired by heaps of stuff. We both love surfing and the outdoors. Travel and getting away from Melbourne is a big part of our lives. I recently went to Taiwan, which was awesome.

J: We also enjoy chatting with different people wherever we are, whoever they are. Our studio is a bit of a drop-in centre. The door’s always open so we get all kinds coming in for a sticky beak. We love it, come drop by.

What was the most valuable thing you learnt at design school?

M: We learnt a lot at uni, but I think we actually learnt about the city more than anything. There’s a lot to look at in the city. We learnt to be more aware of our surroundings and to pay more attention to the little things, because inspiration can come from anywhere.

Illustration for Vice Magazine.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your university student self?

J: My advice would be to make the most of this opportunity to meet new people. Chat to everyone and learn as much as you can from each person you speak to, because you never know where those conversations might lead.

M: We would have probably never have met if it wasn’t for uni…

If you had to choose a film and soundtrack to best suit the mood of the studio, what would they be?

J: We’re a good mix of Monsters Inc. and Morning of The Earth.

What kind of stuff do you guys get up to in your downtime?

J: We both love going down the coast and sleeping in the car park the night before a surf.

M: Jamie really enjoys making wooden sculptures and showing off his brilliant smile and I love to paint.

Mural for The Ugg Shop, South Yarra, Melbourne.

Learn more about the studio here

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