Part of an ongoing series highlighting the amazing people in the creative community.The Design Kids (TDK) bridge the gap between students and industry within the Australian and New Zealand graphic design community. With an amazing team, Frankie Ratford and Yve Johnson work with second/third year students and fresh grads offering exposure, experience, and opportunities in graphic design, typography, illustration.
What brings you all the way from Melbourne to Portland?Good question! I run a company called The Design Kids, where we bridge the gap between college students and professionals, in the Graphic Design industry. On our site, we have studio interviews, a design directory, exhibition listings, global design competitions, an annual show (where we pair Creative Directors with graduates), workshops, jobs and internships, grad shows and so much more! We currently have around 45,000 people in our community in Australia & New Zealand, and we’re in the process of launching in the USA and Canada next. We’ll be roadtripping around for the next 2 years, building the site as we go. So hello Portland, our very first stop!
How did The Design Kids get started?I used to work for design studios as a Graphic Designer, and I found sitting at a desk wasn’t really the best version of me. At the time, I was working at Frost* Design, and I loved the company, the clients and living in Sydney but just felt generally like something was missing. After a six month trip around the world, I had a pivoting moment in Madagascar (a story for another time!), and decided even though I wanted to be in the design industry, I wanted to do more/give back so I started TDK - a platform to help graduating college students. Back in 2009 it was an online shop where we sold tees and posters of the design students work. It’s since involved into a platform to connect college students with industry and build a design community for both parties to be part of. We now provide industry knowledge, exposure and opportunities to students and graduates, with a focus on illustration, typography and graphic design. We spend 9 months a year on the road, spreading the love, doing talks, running exhibitions and facilitating workshops and design meet-ups. Basically all the good stuff!
What are your hopes and dreams for the long game of TDK?World domination! No, really. Its going to be fun! We’ll be roadtripping to 12 major cities in the U.S, spending a few weeks meeting people in each place, and a few weeks building the site and putting the content together. Then on to Canada, and then Europe. Then maybe Japan, and India. Who knows! I like the idea a design graduate in Portland can find out about Melbourne based studios, see what events are on to make connections, check out job listings and find out more about the industry before rocking up and getting a job! (and maybe volunteering at CM Melbourne, who knows!?)
Having hosted CreativeMornings in Melbourne, how similar / different does the chapter in Portland feel?
I think Melbourne and Portland feel quite similar as cities - both have a great creative community , great coffee and good vibes! Your space is very grand (and much bigger than ours!), plus I’m loving the name tags (I made loads of new friends!), but Melbourne rocks in its own way too. Plus we both have some pretty sweet donuts, so I’d say it was a tie! Thanks for having us!
Follow our design road trip around America!