Q&A: Lachie McDonald of General Creative

Published:  June 26, 2012
Miriam McGarry
Q&A: Lachie McDonald of General Creative

Lachie McDonald places puns on paper, and smiles in blu-tack. The young Melbourne-based designer is a recent graduate of Monash’s Bachelor of Visual Communications, and self-starting freelancer. Lachie’s website General Creative conveys his cross-disciplinary talents, as well as his witty design solutions. desktop asked Lachie about his varied skills of drawing, animation, design and Bolognese…

Tell us a little about your design background
Well, Dad was a graphic designer and Mum a landscape designer. Each year when we were kids, they bought my sister and I a nice box of Derwent pencils. Each one of them had a cool name, (e.g. Mid Vermilio) and we respected those pencils, which I think was important in our early development. We were both good at the arty subjects and by the end of high school it was obvious that arts would be the area for our future careers.

I’ve had interests in animation, art, ceramics, design, furniture, industrial design, photography, and at one point even wanted to be a caricaturist. Eventually, I settled for studying graphics as it allows for a wide scope of disciplines. Graphics is what you do if your good at drawing in high school but want to make a little money, compared to an artist.

Identity and poster for Melbourne based blues rock band ' The Routines'.

How would you describe your style?
Neo-primitive, postmodern, vintage, lofi, hi definition pop-art, but more recently, I’ve noticed undertones of wank.

Nah, I’m not sure I have a style, for now anyway. I have a certain taste that avoids anything dark, or subscribes to any particular subcultures. I think originality and humor are important, and seeing as money hasn’t been an issue for me yet, I haven’t had to compromise these. I love a good pun though.

Blu-tack project: larger than life size, blu-tack faces stuck to the back of business cards

Your portfolio spans a variety of mediums. How does your blu-tack portrait sculptural work inform your graphic work, or vice-versa?
I think it is good to have an understanding of a few different disciplines. Sometimes a brief requires a wide scope of applications or ideas.  When you’re armed with an understanding in more than one area, your ideas will naturally be more open as you can think in a variety of mediums. Also, the skills all overlap so your understanding of one thing helps another. For instance, recently I went shopping with a girl whose understanding of colour was amazing, so I bought heaps of clothes under her instruction.  Now, not only do I have pep in my step, but I am more interested in and knowledgeable about colour, and that helps with everything I do.

Your work is really playful- what role do you think humour plays in design?
Humour is definitely an important part of design. For me, the adverts that stand the test of time, or the ones that remain most memorable, are the clever ones. Whether it is wit or a good punchline, if it makes you laugh then you’ve reacted strongly to it. For something to be really funny, I think it has to contain some originality. It is never going to be as good if you’ve seen it before. Also, humour is a universal language so it anyone can connect with it.

Take 5, a jazz magazine featuring an eclectic array of material

Take 5, spreads

Your portfolio includes quite a few self-initiated projects, as well as commercial and student work. What does a usual day entail?
Avoiding distractions and biscuits. Well, now it’s commercial work so the biggest challenge is staying focused all day and trying to keep a clear mind. Lots of little breaks works better I reckon. Good music is also important.

Who would be in your dream team for a collaborative project? Whose work do you admire?
My favourite artist for a while has been A.J. Fosik. He is the man. When I look at his stuff there are magical twinkly things going on inside me. I limit the times I look at it so the effects don’t wear off. Things have a finite source of inspiration and if you look at them too much they lose their mojo. That’s how much I dig it!

Before Fosik, I had a thing for Sebastian Kruger whose portraits have got be some of the best in the world. Technically he is the master.

Madrid-based studio, Serial Cut, are the bees knees, and so is their photographer Bartholot. More locally, Toby and Pete are pretty wicked, imagine working with them!

General Creative promo

Where will desktop readers see you in five years time?
Tropical beaches. It’s very up in the air, as it always has been. The aim for now is to learn as much as I can about image making, 3D, Photoshop and photography.

The website lists ‘bolognese’ as one of your specialities… can you tell us your secret ingredient?
Crunchy meat! For real… you burn the bottom of it like paella.

To see more of his work, head to his website.

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