Take 10 with Tristan O’Shannessy

30th November 2020, News by Design Assembly - Nicole Arnett Phillips

Introduce yourself:

Tristan O’Shannessy, Design Director at Marx Design


How did you get into design?

I studied fine arts at Unitec straight out of school and later came back from an OE to do a degree in graphic design at AUT.  My first design job was at the now disbanded Maxim group, l lasted a full 8 months there before moving on to Milk where I stayed for 9 years before moving to Marx. I only work with companies that start with M. It’s a thing. I’ve had many mentors over the years (and still do), but the one who has probably most shaped my approach to design is Simon Cairns from the early days at Milk. I’d put Ryan Marx down as a friend, peer and mentor combined – I’m learning a lot from him all the time. 

What do you love about design?

That is a big question. Pretty much everything. I love shaping brands. I love how people respond to those brands. I love the knowledge you gain working with intelligent clients. I love working with an inspired and motived team. Right now, I love that it can be agile. My happy place is crafting type.

What or who inspires you?

What or who inspires you? I get a lot from the designers I work with, there’s a constant stream of sharing in the studio which is something we’re trying to keep alive in isolation. Visual Fodder and The Brand Identity are frequently visited. The photography showcased on The Heavy Collective is outstanding. Below is an image from Mark McKnight found on The Heavy Collective. I recently spent a day at Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Art Observatory in Japan, which was easily the single most inspiring event of the last year.

How are you feeling right now?

Changes by the hour at the moment, but right now I’m feeling pretty good. The sun is shining, my kids are behaving and I’m working on some great jobs.

Are you working right now, if so what does your work from home day look like?

Yes, I’m one of the lucky ones. Work hasn’t really slowed too much, and now in week two of working at home the routine has settled. I get to my desk at around 8:30, catch up with the team then get on with my workload. I’m taking longer lunches than usual, which usually includes taking the dog for a good walk. I catch up with the team again around 5 then sign off around 6. Mostly it’s been pretty focused, but there are always a few distractions around home.

What’s your one tip right now? 

There’s a lot of advice circulating around the importance of sticking routines and being disciplined, which is probably great advice. But what I’m enjoying right now is making the most the few advantages this situation has given us. For me that’s sleeping in, walking the dog and making the most of having a lot more time with my two daughters. I also feel this is the perfect time to really focus on creating great work. With there being less distractions, less daily interruptions, this is a great opportunity to focus the mind and enjoy the creative process. I hope to see some incredible work coming this period of lockdown

Tell us about your current workspace.

I’m lucky on a few accounts there – I’ve always done after hours work at home, so my space was pretty well set up in the first place. My home office is in a converted garage detached from the house, allowing me space from the family, and more importantly them space from me. I have a large desk and have just about everything I need – I do miss having a good printer though.

Which local business are you going to miss most during our isolation period?

Coffee General –  Great coffee and great bagels. Coffee General