Tim Saunders


Meet Tim Saunders. He is a graphic designer, lecturer,  facilitator, bike rider… and it appears he is indestructible. Tim has taken the time out from teaching design younglings and creating the Wildspace graphic design bridging course – helping students and grads make the transition into industry – to answer some questions. Nice one, Tim! Behold his wisdom.


Is planning your career important?

Yeah, it’s pivotal.

What did you do as a student, outside of course work, to prepare yourself for industry; and do you have any advice for current students?

Have an idea of a goal, but expect that it may change. Be adaptive, but have a goal.

What was your first design job, and how did you land it?

My first design job was at a PR company. I said I could use the programs they were using at the time (which was not entirely true) — I had to learn real fast! (The good Mr Saunders does not condone stretching the truth when applying for work)

When you started your first design job, did you feel prepared, or overwhelmed (or a charming mixture of both)?

I was semi-prepared. Macs were just starting to take over and I no idea about them, but I found out!

In the current creative climate, is it important to have a broad skillset?

In Australia it is vital to be multi—skilled; our industry is too small to specialise

As an employer, what do you look for in a grad?

A strong passion for something outside of the creative, ie cycling, team play — soccer etc. as it shows a depth to the person and to their abilities.


What does a typical work-day look like for you?

Emails. Sorting shit, and getting sorted. Great coffee – no excuses for bad coffee.

Do you have a set methodology when you work on projects?

Look, research, think, act.

Do you carry a notebook, or voice recorder, or camera (actually, a phone can do all those things…) wherever you go?

All the time.

Have you had any mentors along the way, and what effect did they have on you?

Yes Lyndon Whaite, he showed respect to all forms of art and design.

Has there been a point when you’ve taken a risk to advance professionally, and is taking risks essential to success?

Certainly! I went solo when I left State Theatre in ’95 and never looked back!

How does your environment impact your creativity?

Totally – you may walk over a step 99 times and see it on the next time through.

How important is it to be part of a supportive creative community? Would you suggest students immerse themselves in their local creative community?

Yeah it gives you the confidence to take risks if you can run an idea by someone other than yourself.

What are some of the most powerful/memorable lessons you learned on the job?

Get to work early, work hard, then celebrate.

Do you feel a responsibility to give back to your design community?

Totally – through teaching networks and associations


What do you do to unwind?

Ride it like it was stolen. (He means bikes)

What music are you listening to?

Currently blur (YES!!) + New Order again

Could you explain string theory in a tweet?

Don’t care to!

Who are your favourite authors?

James Ellroy

Who/what inspires you?

Tom Borgas



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