2 minutes with Lauren Bonkowski
Occupation: graphic designer/art director
Business: Two Poles Apart
When you were studying Communication Design at Uni, did you know that hospitality brands were going to be your niche?
In hindsight, this is probably where I was always going to end up. I distinctly remember sketching out a ridiculous sunken bar for my dream house at 14. And at 17 I started organising wildly overcomplicated “cocktail parties” ignoring the fact that everyone was perfectly content with grapefruit Cruisers at the time. I think my interest in design for hospitality was a subconscious marriage of the way my family expresses love- through food, with my love of art.
Tell us about some of the brands you have worked with?
I’m very lucky that my job allows me to work remotely for clients across Australia. There’s been Pirate Life in SA, Starward Whisky, Maidenii Vermouth, & Melbourne Moonshine here in VIC, Lost Palms Brewery in QLD, Sullivans Cove Distillery & Boekamp Brewery in Tassie, West Winds Gin in WA and a stack of great venues across the country.
How do you work with hospitality businesses to create their identity?
The biggest part of my job is to help clients break down and vocalise what their often non-visual brain wants. I’ve realised if I skip this part at the beginning, projects take triple the time to finish. When everyone is on the same page aesthetically and thematically I start actually nutting out designs. My job is to create a distinctive visual language that expresses brands’ personalities in an appealing and relevant way.
What's your favourite part of your work?
There are a lot of favourites, but in a very geeky way today I’ve been quite contentedly searching for that perfect font for more hours than I care to admit. One with a character that fits the personality of the brand. Packaging relies on really solid font choices.
You are one-quarter of the Marionette team, can you give us the low down on this fab range of liqueurs?
Consumers are loving Australian Gins and Whiskies, but the liqueur world is still completely dominated by European players. Our aim is to make the most out of Australian produce (which is some of the best in the world) to create local alternatives. We launched with a Dry Cassis (blackcurrants from Richard in Tassie) and an Orange Curacao (thanks to Glenn in Mildura) and we’re gradually picking up steam with 3 more products to come this year. Eternally grateful to the bar community for being so incredibly receptive to and supportive of us. It’s been quite the year!
Worksmith sounds like the best co-working space ever, what's it all about?
I’ve done the rounds when it comes to co-working spaces and this one is pretty &*#()@ great. At most shared spaces everyone makes attempts to be friendly but when it comes down to it often everyone ends up in their own little stress bubble. At Worksmith I’m surrounded by people in the same world facing the same challenges, and more importantly genuinely celebrating each other's successes. It’s a natural community which is why I think it’s such a great place to be.
See more of Lauren’s work with hospitality brands on Instagram @twopolesapart
Worksmith is a co-working space for the food and beverage industry located on Smith St in Collingwood, check them out on Instagram @worksmith.io