Art Director at SPGD
Surya
Prasetya

Surya is the Art Director at SPGD, a graphic design and visual
communication studio based in Melbourne.

Melbourne, Australia • July 19, 2022

What led you into design?

I was 22 at the time and still had no idea what I wanted to do. I had just finished getting my taxi licence with the idea of becoming a limo driver. But after I had my first introductory shift, I really couldn’t see myself following through with it, so I quit and felt confused about what to do next.

This led me to think about going back to 'art' I had always enjoyed it through school and my only hesitation was that I was so bad at studying. At the time, my brother and I were playing around with t-shirt prints and clothing in general but did not have any idea of how to use 'design programs'. This prompted me to look at going into a course to learn how to draw on a computer.

I called up the school to see what prerequisites I needed in order to be accepted, only to learn I would need an art folio to be considered to get into the graphic arts diploma. I decided to make a small folio that was really a photo flip book of the t-shirt prints and logo designs, which was all done on Microsoft paint!

I went for my interview, and they told me I would need experience in basic programs, so they suggested a certificate 4 in art and design, so I applied. This was only a 6-month course and I failed due to lack of attendance, but I still wanted to apply for the graphic arts diploma, so I did.

They accepted me which I later found out was an error on their behalf. After talking with them, they said as you failed the certificate 4 we feel you will struggle to handle the diploma but because it was our error in accepting you we will allow you into the course. From here I never really looked back — the diploma was the first time I actually did well at something academically, after 2 years in the diploma I then went on to doing another 2 years in a bachelor of communication design. This is how I was led into design.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day seems to be a bit of a clone of the previous day. Wake up, have 2 coffees, sit somewhere outside and allow my brain to warm up. Then I normally jump on the MacBook Pro 16' plug it into the 2008 23' cinema display and begin writing back to any emails that are waiting for me. Usually, Mara and I will go through a basic overview of what is needed to be done during the day. Generally I start with the small jobs that don’t require too much brain strain.

After this it's normally lunch and I start getting hungry so will go get some food. By this time my brain feels ready to dive into the more conceptual challenges, so this is where the vortex begins, and I start getting right into whatever it is I'm working on at the time.

What’s your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

Architecture inspires me a lot. I have always loved building/s and continue to build as a side hobby as this allows me to detach from the screen and have physical exhaustion rather than mental. I have finally designed my first house and seen it come to realization, this was so inspiring, and I hope to do more in the future.

Having something that sits parallel in the design world yet so far apart in the process is so refreshing, and it's always nice to go back to graphic design after having a break from it.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

The most recent thing I came across was this self watering nozzle that attaches to a used water bottle or coke bottle etc. Fill the bottle, screw the nozzle on, put it in the plant and itself waters for around 2 weeks. Not so great looks wise, but it's such a clever way of re-using our old drink bottles to water our studio plants.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Hard question, I think one of our most in-depth projects that we worked on was Andrew Burns architecture. Although the end result looks so stripped back, the structure and system that was implemented had such strong foundations for the identity to carry on evolving in-house.

Having said that, most projects have their own merit and challenges, if we achieve something that both client and ourselves are proud of this is the most rewarding part once a project is completed.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Design challenges, I feel, are a constant part of working with clients. It’s not so much of designing for them, but rather designing with them. The challenge is trying to get into their psyche. We all perceive design differently, it’s a matter of understanding their vision mixed with your style to create something that is unique and that the client can be proud of and also feel involved in. This we feel is a more collaborative approach rather than a forced approach, and the result is generally a happy outcome. Generally.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Work hard but don't forget that you need to make time for fun, don't let it consume you too much. I really liked the advice I received from Dominic Forde of Forde and NIcol Follow these 3 F's Fun Fame and Fortune make sure you tick at least 2 before accepting a project.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

My Brother Ari: IG @arriprrasetya he has been living in Denmark for the last 7 years and is currently designing his own furniture.

One of my dearest friends IG @ollieschaich who has recently begun working solo after being 1/2 of bureau collective for over 10 years.

And VROSA IG @v.rosa.it Melbourne/Italy based jewellery brand with a real sense of family, this resonated with us so much and evokes nostalgia.

And our IG @studiospgd

Thank You!