Mirella Marie, Designer
Today we have creative genius Mirella Marie on #shemakesnice. She's a graphic designer and the owner/creative director of Vertigo, an independent graphic design studio based in Melbourne. Her career path has been guided by her courage and integrity, and today she has been kind enough to explain the theory of Occam's razor to us (you know, as you do). Hers is a very inspiring read.
What do you do?
I’m a graphic designer and the owner and creative director of Vertigo, an independent graphic design studio based in Melbourne. I’m also a contributor for Women of Graphic Design and a writer for Creative Women’s Circle.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
Occam’s razor — a principle from philosophy that translates to “more things should not be used than are necessary”. I apply this to every aspect of my life from the tangible such as material objects, to the intangible such as design and visual communication. It’s like a 14th century version of the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid), which was the first thing I learned in design school.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
1). Discovering Saul Bass through the work of Alfred Hitchcock (who, after my father, is my biggest inspiration). Bass' work sparked my passion for graphic design.
2). The realisation after working in an ad agency for many years that I wanted to do something more meaningful than create print ads all day. It was then I started to explore brand identity design.
3). My mother having a heart attack and my father being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, both within the span of two months. They lived interstate so I was travelling to and from Melbourne a lot which made full-time employment pretty much impossible. It affected me to the point where I found it difficult to be around people all the time, which was the catalyst for starting my business because I could work from home on my own.
What is your dream project?
To create a piece or series of visual communication that inspires betterment within people or the community.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Brand identity projects for a fine artist and a swimwear label, and web design for a jeweller. I’m also doing a lot of consulting in brand development to help our clients define their brand. For personal projects, I’m working on a photography series that explores the similarities between human skin and bark formations.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
Listening: Melbourne Ska Orchestra.
Reading: Hitchcock/Truffaut by François Truffaut.
Watching: Curb Your Enthusiasm for the millionth time. Larry David is my spirit animal.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
Obviously gender equality but also equal pay. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever for women to be paid less than men — for any job, in any industry, on any planet.
How can we find out more about your work?
If you could choose to hear any female contemporary present at Make Nice, who would it be and why?
Performance artist Marina Abramović because of her commitment, focus, and discipline towards challenging the limitations and possibilities of the mind.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
“This is not your practice life. This is all there is.” — my father.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
Yes but it wasn’t always this way due to the lack of females working in the industry when I started out. Fortunately this has changed over the years and my network now encompasses other creative disciplines, much like graphic design itself.