by Elizabeth Lavis | 09 Feb 2021
The greatest design advice that Anthony Wood, Global Managing Director of Shillington school of graphic design, ever heard was, “no one wants to work with a talented asshole.” This statement shaped his design philosophy and desire to use the power of collaboration to create designs that convey deep concepts within an instant; no words required.
“My approach to design is always grounded in the belief and need to solve problems and create effective solutions that meet a client’s needs,” he said. “It's a challenge to create beautiful work that gets the design community lusting over it, but it is even more rewarding when you make beautiful work that helps someone else grow and meet their goals.”
Wood considers teamwork to be the cornerstone of any good creation. “Design is all about collaboration for me, and I want to work with people that I can learn from, be challenged by, and create better work.” His latest venture, House of Mockups, serves the design community by providing them with professional, inspired mockups for designers.
The Tamworth, Australia native remembers his rural upbringing fondly but also recalls that it was a difficult place to exercise his creative muscles. “I remember the scorched earth, long summers, and the incredible open sky,” he said. “It was also a place where boys were not supposed to be creative and came with a lot of stigma. Fortunately, I had an incredible mentor called Judy Ball, an art teacher from the Catholic high school who took me under her wing when I was around ten.”
Under Ball, Wood learned about artistic expression, and also free living, and the power of going outside the box to create bold new things. “Her passion for design and art has played into my work; to be experimental, and not to be afraid of who I am.”
Wood’s first love was architecture, but the demanding work and low starting salary prompted him to look into visual communication, a transition that led him to his lifetime love; visual design.
Balancing boundary-pushing with teamwork is a delicate balance, and Wood openly admits that working with clients can be a challenge from time to time. “I have found that most forms of harsh criticism are coming from another issue, so I always refer back to the brief and ask lots of questions.” By getting to the root of the problem, Wood can secure creative buy-in from his clients and foster a healthy environment for good work to thrive.
Proximity to young, creative designers helps Wood keep his extraordinary edge. “Being the Global Managing Director of Shillington keeps me in touch with all of the latest trends,” he said. “I am forever in awe of our students.”
Pressure is another catalyst for creative energy. “I strongly believe that it is actually the pressure that assists with the creative process; at least that is how I have created my strongest work,” he said.
Staying true to his spirit of generosity and giving back to the community, some of Woods’ favorite work is pro-bono. He’s most proud of his work for the Sydney Mardi Gras film festival and the queer production company Pincus Haus, especially as he is a member of the queer community.
Woods’ guiding ethos of fairness, collaboration, and generosity serve him well in a competitive industry that can often teeter on the edge of being cutthroat. His impressive portfolio and success truly prove that the key to excelling in design is collaboration.