Sean Bate is a self-proclaimed obsessive when it comes to collecting magazines and books. First drawn in through skateboarding and graffiti, the Melbourne-based graphic designer saw these two influences as his pillars for getting into the industry. “I’d say the print culture around those two areas probably led to my interest in design,” he tells It’s Nice That. Now, he runs a multidisciplinary design studio named Day-Spot and has worked with Billabong, Critical Slide Society, Crown Ruler, Deus, and spends most of his time creating posters for musical giants such as Nightmares on Wax, Kamaal Williams, Mac Demarco, Floating Points and Lord Echo.
Studying design after school, he surprisingly held off from pursuing it as a career until a few years later – more specifically until his friend approached him with a request to create some gig flyers for a club in his hometown. And before this, Sean was operating a streetwear and skate shop that he’d launched. Tying these experiences together, his work usually comes from in and around the music scene. “It’s a bit of a niche that I’ve fallen into and I generally love the projects that come from it,” he says. “Having said that, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to branch out a little. I love getting work that requires me to research an area that I don’t know much about and learn something new.”
Applying this attitude towards his practice, Sean has leapt across the disciplines. Still dabbing in music, he also recently got tasked with the redesign of the packaging for Sundays Coffee – a coffee roasters based on Queensland’s Sunshine coast. “The brief was super open so I wanted to try and do something new,” he says. “I felt as though the clean, minimal aesthetic was a bit played out and boring when it came to coffee, so I tried to have a bit of fun with it.” The outcome is a bold white typeface, paired with a deep yet vibrant orange backdrop, a sticker and, of course, a playful logo. “I will jump at any chance to utilise some archaic typefaces and did so with the bright yellow ‘Easy Like’ sticker.” Sean worked together with founder Josh Russell to create the identity, with resultantly bellows with fun and a fresh new take on coffee design.
As for his inspiration, Sean explains that it’s a multiple-source experience. “I draw it from anywhere I can, but it is often influenced by something I’m into at the time,” he explains. As an enthusiast for old Australian and New Zealand ephemera, particularly comics and magazines such as Footrot Flats and Captain Goodvibes, his style is a medley of old and new influences. “I try to refrain from continuously using the same references and styles in my work as it can become quite constraining.”
Most importantly, he notes that he’s at peak creativity when he’s “in a good mood” and will “do everything I can to get there”. This succumbs to a structured routine, “something that can be quite elusive as a freelancer,” he says. “For the the last few months I have been getting up quite early at the same time everyday, doing some sort of exercise and putting on Charlie Bones. This seems to get me in the right headspace – out to the Do!! You!!! Breakfast Show.”