15.07.15 / New Frontiers / Start-Ups

New Frontiers / Start-Ups, Wednesday 15 July 2015

Design is constantly evolving into new directions, always breaking boundaries and changing the very nature of the role of a designer. New Frontiers, tackles and explores these lateral shifts and evolutions head on. See and hear creative thinkers, working at the cutting-edge of design, share ideas, insights and inspiration.

Start-Up is the second in the 2015 New Frontiers series. The third and final event, VFX, Motion & Sound, will follow in August.

Start-up - is the buzzword in Silicon Valley but what about here in Australia? Three design related start-ups will help us understand that the future lies in entrepreneurship. Join three relatively new businesses as they share their vision and journey thus far: Alaster Spiers from the creative storage platform Stashboard; Tom Baker, co-founder of Mr Black spirits company and Mark Gowing and his new publishing house, Formist.

Mark Gowing

After beginning his career in publishing at Scholastic and Rolling Stone Magazine, he founded his own design practice in 1997 through which he has created work for leading cultural institutions such as Hopscotch Films, Sydney Opera House and the University of Technology, as well as publications for Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Harper Collins Publishers, Murdoch Books and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Gowing’s work has been exhibited, published and awarded around the world. In 2008 Mark became the first Australian to win the Gold Medal at the Warsaw International Poster Biennale, which has since been followed by a Golden Bee at the Moscow International Biennale of Graphic Design in 2010 and a Gold Medal at the Mexico International Poster Biennale in 2012.

Gowing is founder of Mark Gowing Studio (1997), Preservation Music (2001) and Formist (2013). He is a member of the International Society of Typographic Designers and the Alliance Graphique Internationale.


Tom Baker – Mr Black Co-Founder

Rather disappointingly Tom was born and has lived his whole life on the north shore of Sydney. With a penchant for postcodes starting with 2, Tom studied Industrial Design at the University of New South Wales, graduating in 2009 with first class honours and a slew of national and international design awards. After college, Tom joined the team at Sydney based innovation agency northandsouth. Working throughout Asia, the USA and Australia, Tom worked on new product development for some of the world’s largest consumer brands including P&G, Yum! Restaurants, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Beam Inc and Schweppes.

In 2013 Tom met one of Australia’s highest awarded distillers - Philip Moore – and founded the Mr Black Spirits Company. Brought together by a love of good coffee, better spirits and distain for anything else labeled ‘coffee’ in the bottle shop, they created the world-class coffee liqueur Mr Black. Mr Black is now sold in over 450 venues throughout Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong with an expansion into the UK in September 2015.


Alaster Spiers – Stashboard Co-Founder

Alaster grew up in the UK, starting a graphic design degree in Newcastle England, and completing it in Boston Massachusetts following a 3 year Basketball scholarship. He took his first job as a graphic designer at a small studio in San Francisco, designing flyers and gift cards. After 5 years in the design industry Alaster transitioned to an art direction role in advertising industry and has currently worked across 4 continents at some of the worlds leading agencies such as Weiden + Kennedy, Droga5, Ogilvy, and Landor Associates.

After years in the creative trenches and many late nights, Alaster and an old uni friend (Thom Davy) teamed up to address a problem they encountered on a daily basis. They felt that inefficient and messy work process was getting in the way of creativity. This desire to help their fellow creatives lead to the launch of their new tech startup Stashboard.com. Stashboard, a cloud storage service for creatives, aims to make the creative industry a more productive and creative place.


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