Staff Reporters
Nov 25, 2021

Creative Minds: Michelle Whitehead follows her joy

The senior designer at Houston Group answers 11 of our questions. Learn—among other things—how her happy childhood of creativity and daydreams led her to graphic design, and which rebranding project is closest to her heart.

Creative Minds: Michelle Whitehead follows her joy
In Creative Minds, we get to know APAC creatives through their answers to 11 questions, ranging from serious to silly (Why 11? Just because). Want to be featured?

Name: Michelle Whitehead

Origin: Sydney

Places lived/worked: Melbourne

Pronouns: She/her

CV:

  • Senior designer, Houston Group, Melbourne (2014-present)

1. How did you end up being a creative?

I have been creative all my life. Making art brought me a lot of joy growing up. My favourite thing to do was paint, mould clay and make paper mache after watching an episode of Art Attack (if you know you know). My journey to art school was a natural progression. I fell into graphic design shortly after, influenced by my roommate at the time after a big “what am I going to do with my life” moment. This led me to a design position at Houston Group - a place that has influenced and shaped the creative I am today.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

I have been very fortunate to work on some pretty incredible brands in my time at Houston. One
job that I will always hold close to my heart is the rebrand of The Luke Batty Foundation. The
Luke Batty Foundation was established by Rosie Batty in memory of Luke Batty, her 11-year-old son who was tragically killed by his father in 2014. The foundation was Rosie’s vehicle for
bringing family violence out of the shadows to achieve attitudinal, cultural and systematic
change. It is also a celebration of Luke’s life which is emphasised across the brand.


3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

The new brand identity for San Francisco Symphony by design agency Collins is pretty mind
blowing.

"Music is one of humanity’s most powerful creations—it meets us at our emotional center. Like all
great art, it both inspires and reflects the times we live in. However, ‘classical’ music suffers from an
ongoing and ruthless PR problem: It is too often perceived as an unchanging, dusty, old-world music for elite audiences only."

See the response to that here.


4. What kind of student were you?

Quiet, open-minded, creative and happily lost in daydreams.

5. Do you work best under pressure, or when things are calm?

I have the ability to perform under pressure for sure but if I had the choice I prefer when things
are calm. I think it’s important to slow down and be kinder to the mind these days.

6. Extrovert or introvert?

I am very much an introvert—quiet, self reserved and really love solitude.

7. What's the last song/artist you listened to?

With the weight of the world we are all currently experiencing I’m finding a sense of calm and
escape in classical music. I was recently introduced to Haina Rani, a Polish Pianist. I find her
music expansive and meditative—highly recommend!

8. Tell us about your tattoo(s).

The impulsive side of me came out on the day I landed in Barcelona. I was admiring a painting on the wall of our lush hotel: a palm tree sitting under a crescent moon. I had it tattooed on my arm later that afternoon. I love often being reminded of that adventure.

9. Analog or digital?

A lot of my time at art school was spent in a dark room developing film. The use of your hands and the element of surprise is unparalleled.

10. What makes you really happy?

Being immersed in nature, travelling, long lunches with my people, anything with eggplant in it
and my rescue greyhound Olive.

11. Early riser or night owl?

I am one of those really annoying people that is full of beans at 6 am. My partner Mitch is not a
fan. (Sorry, Mitch.)

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