Design powerhouse Raft Studio is all grown up! We celebrate its eighteen years of creative chutzpah and catch up with director Stasia Raft, one of the most magnetic personalities in the biz.
June 26th, 2017
Stasia Raft, Raft Studio, design practice, Melbourne, anniversary
How did you come to practice design?
After graduating from graphic design I was snapped up as a junior art director in a big ad agency, working on various accounts such as Myer, Mars, TAC etc., exposed to many dynamic talented creatives from a very young age and winning many big accounts. This had a huge influence on me – and I always wanted to have my own business, so it wasn’t long before I started Raft Studio.
From your days as a graphic design student throughout your career, how have changes in technology impacted your own work? (I remember you mentioning having to book the only computer…!)
My year at Swinburne graphic design was the first to get a Mac, and yes, there was a roster for students to book in and use it! When I started working I was the first art director to have a Mac. I would design my ideas in Illustrator & Photoshop, mock them up on boards and learnt very quickly how to present them. Technology has obviously speeded up the process to output the work, however the best creative thought can’t be rushed!
Can you give some insight into your experience as a woman leading the field – times when you have felt either emboldened or disadvantaged by your gender?
I have always been focussed on producing great creative, winning business and surrounding myself with talented people and supportive clients. My gender is not something I really think about! I have never felt either disadvantaged or emboldened by being a woman, the highs and lows come from running a business not from being a woman in business.
Graphic design is so expressive of the way society thinks and feels. Do you see a shift in attitudes towards gender and cultural diversity in the industry now?
I remember putting an “ethnic” girl in layout for a Myer catalogue in the 90’s and being told off!
Yes times have changed, now the more diverse the better, which is a reflection of the audiences we are communicating to now and the evolution of the multicultural society we live in!
Raft just celebrated its 18th birthday – what have been the knockout milestones along the way?
Being awarded the Australian Broadcasting Corporation account in our formative years and retaining them for over 15 years. Becoming known as a leading property creative agency. Moving into our new award-winning studio… and of course raising a family all along the way.
How do you keep the culture at Raft Studio creatively bold?
We take risks! We will always present something unexpected and there will always be an option in our creative where the brief has been stretched to the limits! More often than not, that’s what wins the business! We look at the competitors to our clients and do the opposite. We are heavily influenced by fashion and art and will always endeavour to apply this thinking to the projects who are not in this category.
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