Graphic design brings creative ideas to life

The world in which we live is profoundly shaped by graphic design. Exposed to a sea of fonts, logos, advertisements and billboards, it influences almost every decision we make. Graphic design helps businesses and brands communicate with people more effectively, bringing ideas to life in ways that are not only effective, but also beautiful.

5 May 2017

Twenty-two-year old TAFE Queensland graduate and Sunshine Coast business owner Madeline Rawlings became bewitched by the wonder and creativity of graphic design at an early age and grew up determined to turn her passion into a career.

“I’ve always been surrounded by creativity. I grew up in the surf/swim fashion space,” Madeline said.

“My dad, Glen ‘Rocky’ Rawlings, competed on the World Championship Surf Tour and is now a surf reporter for Channel 9 on the Gold Coast and former writer for Surfing World Magazine. My aunt Heidi Bartholomew worked in the surf/swim fashion industry for over 20 years and was the Creative Director of Design and Marketing for global surfwear giant Billabong, creating the Girls Billabong business,” she said.

Madeline was eight-years-old when she was employed as a model for Billabong Junior Girls, exposing her to the hustle and bustle of the creative world.

“I was lucky enough to travel throughout the state for shoots in some of Queensland’s most picturesque beaches, landscapes and locations,” Madeline said.

“It was one giant collaborative community. Surrounded by mood boards, sketches and product samples, each shoot had creative directors, art directors, photographers and graphic designers all working together in complete creative harmony; each feeding off one another’s ideas, concepts and energy. I was hooked!”

“These experiences fuelled my passion for design and creativity and drove me to explore the fashion industry further,” she said.

Studying textiles and fashion from years 8-12 at school, Madeline spent hours on the sewing machine and fell in love with the freedom of creation and the intricacy and highly technical components of fashion design.

“It’s a space where you can get totally lost, consumed by the creative process and freedom of expression,” Madeline said.

“Design was a fun and creative outlet for me growing up,” she said.

Now completely consumed by creativity and design, Madeline set about turning her passion into a career and enrolled in a Diploma of Graphic Design at TAFE Queensland.

“TAFE made sense to me. I didn’t want to spend months or even years learning the theory of how to design things; I wanted to get in there and do it,” Madeline said.

“I’d spent five years at school in a very hands-on practical learning environment and loved it—thrived in it in fact. I wanted to replicate that learning environment and graduate job-ready to achieve my goal of owning my own business and doing my own thing,” she said.

After graduating, Madeline founded her very own freelance graphic design and branding agency ‘The Binding’ and set up residency in the collaborative co-working spaces of SPARK BUREAU where she flourished.

“SPARK BUREAU was the perfect place to build my brand, form networks and start my business,” Madeline said.

“I had ongoing access to business workshops and support in business development, mentoring, and partnership opportunities.”

“I took part in the technology startup incubator program and fell in love with the group’s commitment to fostering innovation on the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

At SPARK BUREAU Madeline had the opportunity to co-found Xandra, one of the world’s first companies solely dedicated to developing ‘chatbots’ for brands to engage users via conversational platforms like Facebook Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa. Think ‘live chat’ between you and a robot with personality.

“Excitingly, we’re working with The City of Maroochydore to help build a smart city. Our ‘chatbot’ will be used to inform people about the history and future plans for the new CBD and surrounding area,” Madeline said.

“Personifying brands has never been more important. Conversational interfaces like ‘chatbots’ will dictate how brands engage customers, how companies transact business, and how physical spaces—including cities—interact with members and residents.”

“It’s a really exciting time for both designers and residents on the Sunshine Coast, and to have the opportunity to be a part of this project is allowing me to play an active role in shaping the future of my own community,” she said.

Driven by creativity and bound by purpose, Madeline’s turned her passion and lifestyle into a career and brings creative ideas to life every day, doing things her way as a young business owner.

“My dad and my aunt followed their passions and turned their lifestyles into careers. I wanted to do the same, and I have,” Madeline said.


For more information about design courses available at TAFE Queensland visit our website or call 1300 308 233.

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