In case you hadn't noticed, Nikki Darling recently turned one and celebrated with a shiny new logo and ~aesthetic~. To create this new look, we worked with the powerhouse that is Kate Fox. Kate is well known in Melbourne for founding the dive-bar-cum-goth-club event Requiem, DJing everywhere from the Liberty Social to Yah Yah's with everyone from HTRK to Gudrun Gut and of course, creating banging art and design work for a growing number of local businesses under her brand Kate Fox Art + Design.
We sat down with Kate and picked her magnificent brain about her inspirations, style and how she created the new Nikki Darling look, and this is what she had to say..
KATE FOX: The analogy I like to use about my design career is this: I walked through the art gallery and ended up having way more fun in the gift shop.
In the mid-00's I studied Fine Art at the VCA, and if you asked me then, I would have told you I was going to be a famous hyper-realist painter. After treading water in retail, I stumbled into social media marketing but I started to miss creative work. Eventually I returned to study, bringing my art practice and marketing skills together with Communication Design (Graphic Design) at Swinburne University.
If I had to name my influences, I'd say they are art, music, pop culture and subcultures. Yes, that's broad, but I don't think any creative ever just finds inspiration in one place. I am constantly flicking through magazines, watching films and documentaries and music videos, wandering through galleries, listening to music, and looking at anything and everything I can find online, from Pinterest to art journals, Behance to Instagram, even shit-posting and meme groups, you name it!
More specifically, low-brow art and kitsch culture have always really appealed to me, which I feel comes through in my work. Also, Japan. The culture and history of that country never ceases to amaze and inspire me.
I don't really have a set, structured approach to my design - it changes from project to project. One thing that remains the same is that I do an insane amount of research, like too much research, and I always experiment on paper before I go to the computer. Clients like Nikki Darling and Yah Yah's allow me a great deal of creative licence and I always try to inject myself into the work, with equal parts technical proficiency and irreverence.
It struck me early on in this rebranding project that it must be difficult for Nikki Darling to advertise adult products on social media, as it would be a violation of terms. This is why it's so clever that Lauren had the idea to commission me to make the products into 'kawaii' characters, turning them from potentially offensive lewd objects, into something more or less innocuous, while also creating a unique and endearing direction for the brand identity.
Visually the logo drew on some illustrative influences; a little bit kawaii/anime, a little bit Keith Haring, but it also gained a symmetry and typography that fits into and takes from a very current brand design vernacular and online aesthetic. Nikki Darling's tone of voice was already very well established, so it was important that the logo conveyed this simultaneously approachable but trustworthy/professional personality, while also staying true to its sense of fun and light-heartedness.
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