Hall of Fame / Garry Emery

Garry Emery - Creative director and founder of emerystudio.

With no formal education, Garry had a humble career beginning at age 14 during the fifties. A broad interest in art and letterform design encouraged him to enlist in life drawing classes and the basic study of print technology, manual typesetting and the fundamentals of typography. Relocation from Perth to Melbourne in 1959 in search of career opportunities led to a short term in advertising. A curiosity and inquiry into contemporary art, architecture, product design, urban design, letterform design, calligraphy and typography established a lasting career in design, initially with a focus on the printed medium, then multidisciplinary practice in 2, 3 and 4 dimensions. Perhaps his greatest attribute is his curiosity, the desire to continue to understand the world around him, to maintain relevance.

Emerystudio sees their business as managing perceptions. It’s not how they started; their roots are in traditional graphic design practice, in craft, the abstract constructs of language: letterform, design and typography. To their deep knowledge of the technical workings and cultural meanings of letterforms, they bring expertise in branding and marketing and the application of information in urban and architectural contexts. Emerystudio has been instrumental in locating graphic design in the three-dimensional, spatial realm. Designing using letterforms enables them to develop cohesive relationships between language, messages in print, on-screen and three-dimensional environments, and to extend the role of the written word to the design of brand experiences as well as meaningful and memorable places.

The work of emerystudio is the product of a dedicated team of multidisciplinary designers. The practice is positioned as specialist generalists, working in interstitial spaces, in the cracks between other design disciplines, not expert in anything. The basic premise of the studio is that it is unwise to separate design from art, practice from experimentation, one discipline from another, or reason from intuition. What matters is the outcome. Ideally the outcome will solve functional criteria, be beyond the rational and be imbued with a certain ‘magic’. The practice aspires to make a cultural contribution to each project, to raise the human spirit.

Garry has said that ‘graphic design is the only discipline truly responsible for the management and communication of information, and most importantly, the visual expression of language and the written word. For more than 2000 years of graphic design – typography – has conveyed written language. Nearly everything that graphic design does engages with language and text. Language and typography are continually modified by popular culture, regional inflections and globalisation. But context, communication and relevance are central to the craft – yesterday, today and tomorrow. Perhaps there is now a need to redefine the traditional discipline of graphic design to address the demands of the radically changed globalised world, to reposition that discipline by discovering new relevance through different ways of thinking and working.’

The practice is aware that they operate in a context of rapid change, driven by continuous flows of information and the fluid interplay between information and entertainment, entertainment and marketing, marketing and data, data and opinion, opinion and invention, public and private, and so on. Emerystudio are aware of the need to be able to ride the tiger: predict the unpredictable, anticipate the future, just to stay in the game.

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AGDA