For studio Muse Muse, branding is quite like the art of storytelling

Getting clear on position and purpose, the Australia-based creative branding and editorial studio is bringing beautiful visual identities to the table.

8 July 2024

Opening the doors to Muse Muse studio in 2012, creative director Lila Theodoros has worked on her fair share of custom print and branding projects for clients all over the world. Completely self-taught, the designer has been playing with editorial layouts and visual identities for over 20 years now and she finds that “these two strands of design are incredibly complementary to one another”. When approaching the design of a magazine, her branding background always pushes the designer to “develop a custom publication that has its very own unique voice, engages with a target audience, and delivers an aligned visual brand experience”. And within her brand creations she asks important questions like: “if this brand was a magazine, what would it look like (paper stock, layout, colours, font choices, masthead etc), what stories would it feature, who would read it and where?”.

In this symbiotic practice of hers, storytelling is one of Lila’s major points of focus, but not in a cliche way – it’s something the studio gets quite serious about. “I know everyone says this when describing their branding studio,” she says, “but I hope my point of difference is that I do actually start with the words before diving into visual design.” Interviewing her clients at length to dig into what they stand for, she “asks all sorts of questions from the practical to the abstract, always in search of those unique elements that will be the foundation of their visual story,” Lila tells us. Finding a unique idea that sets brands apart, the designer uses a mix of digital and analogue techniques to develop her clients’ distinct visual languages. “I paint with Indian ink, I draw with oil pastels, I cut shapes out of paper, I collage with mixed media, and then I bring these handmade elements into a digital space to further manipulate and play,” she explains.

A magazine fanatic, the designer takes inspiration from the likes of Monocle, Apartamento, Kinfolk, Gentlewoman and Interview. She also finds influence for her visual work in all sorts of other places: the work of Dadaists from the early 20th century, the sounds of her playlists (put together for each studio project) and street art she sees whilst out and about. “I like to observe everything,” she says, “because my next idea can come from anywhere. One little moment can spark everything.”

GalleryCopyright © Studio Muse Muse, 2024

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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