Life is all about choices. We do our best to make the right ones, but sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places. Meet Luke Day. Born and raised in Adelaide, a big change in heart lead this once apprentice plumber down a new path – following his true passion and doing what he loves the most.
Residing on the Gold Coast and working as a full-time designer and illustrator, Luke’s rare talent is really making waves in the design space. His work is a playful combination of carefully hand-crafted typography and minimalist illustration.
In addition to being an extremely talented young guy, Luke’s humble nature is quite unique. This combined with an excellent skill set and his simple approach to things, he is fast becoming one to watch; working with brands locally and across the globe, including Element Skateboards, Belief NYC and The Quiet Life.
In between designing and chasing waves, Luke set aside some time to chat with us at his Gold Coast studio. Take a seat, grab a coffee and enjoy this Q&A with one absolute legend!
Photography by Trent Mitchell
Tell us a little about your background. What do you do?
I’m a freelance designer/illustrator living in Burleigh Heads.
You’re not originally from the Gold Coast, what made you move?
Yeah I’m originally from Adelaide, I moved to Brisbane with my girlfriend for a career change and to study. We eventually moved down the coast because both of us love being near the ocean.
How did you get into Design/Illustration? Did you always plan to make career out of it?
I remember telling my career advisor and art teacher in high school that I wanted to be a graphic designer, but I didn’t like using computers, so they talked me out of that fairly quickly. I ended up doing 3 years of a plumbing apprenticeship before I thought fuck it, I need to find something that I truly want to do for the rest of my life.
How would you describe your work?
Simple. I try to treat everything like I would a logo, the more stripped back the better. I also don’t have the patience or skill level to tackle anything too crazy.
Can you give us a little insight into your creative process?
It depends on the job, but almost everything starts with a whole bunch of thumbnail sketches and research. I then move into photoshop to refine the best of a bad bunch and eventually move into illustrator where I finish 90% of my work.
Which other artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?
At the moment, I would have to say Jonathan Calugi. I hadn’t heard of him until this years Design Conference in Brisbane. He’s one of the most positive and original thinkers that I’ve met and it shows in his work.
Where do you find inspiration?
No where in particular. Most of my ideas and solutions to client briefs happen when I’m not trying to force things, I could be surfing, driving, even sleeping. There have been a couple of times where I’ve had to get up in the middle of the night and get things down on paper.
What would be your dream creative project?
I really don’t know. I just want to work with respectful, like-minded clients, nothing bums me out more than a bad working relationship. If I can keep everything flowing smoothly and at the end of the day the client is happy and I’m happy, that’s my dream job.
What defines Luke Day’s design style in a few words?
Simple, fun, evolving.
What’s your relationship to jewellery?
Fairly minimal, I think thats why Étiquette appeals to me. It doesn’t scream for attention, it’s there to complete the picture haha.
What’s three wardrobe essentials you can’t live without right now?
My Universal Works fatigue pant, a good tee with a heavy gsm and any one of my number of hats… I have a few, so it’s hard to choose.
You’ve been commissioned for a variety of projects with different brands. What gets you excited to collaborate?
Working with brands I like, having a mutual appreciation for each others work is always a good feeling. Also new ideas and direction, I don’t want to be doing the same thing over and over.
Talent(s) you would love to have?
Drums, I’ve always wanted to play the drums.
What word/phrase do you think is overused?
What does a typical day involve for you?
Roll out of bed around 8, grab a coffee, check the surf, sort through emails and work out what needs to be done. I generally work through to around 5pm, have a couple hours break and the get back to it ’til around 11 or 12. There’s generally a surf thrown in the mix there as well haha.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’m going to leave this one, I don’t think I’ve ever received a piece of advice that has truly stuck with me. Maybe no advice is good advice.
Which Étiquette piece is your favourite?
I’m going with The Per.
Favourite travel destination?
The next one.
What’s next for Luke Day?
Living and learning.