Meet the Masher: Dave

Creative director and all round good bloke Dave left agency life, where he was a Co-Director, for greater flexibility in how, when and where he worked. Since his move to independence at the end of 2019 he hasn’t looked back – despite Covid 19 rearing its ugly head. Read about his design journey and positive outlook as a freelance creative during the current climate.

What has been your career journey to now?

I graduated from uni in 2008, right in the middle of the GFC so getting any job, let alone one in design, was a challenge. After a few solid months of searching, I eventually found some casual work at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary as a supervisor of their high ropes course. By chance I got chatting with the CEO and mentioned that I was a designer and he said that the Marketing Department could do with my help. I started splitting my week between the Marketing Department and the high ropes course, slowly transitioning to become the park’s Multimedia Manager.

A couple of years into my time at Currumbin, I decided to pick up the textbooks again and study for my Masters in Marketing. Working full time while also studying full time was a great way to make sure I didn’t have much of a social life for three years.

During this period the opportunity presented itself to join the Gold Coast creative studio, Oven Creative. My goal for many years was to work at a studio, so I was all in. I spent the next seven-ish years at Oven, eventually becoming Co-director and wearing many hats along the way.

In late 2019, my Co-director and I decided that, after a couple of monster years for the studio and some changes in personal circumstances for us both, it would be a good time to call it a day. Since then, I’ve been out on my own, cutting my teeth in the world of full-time freelance.

You recently went out on your own, what attracted you to that?

The potential for greater flexibility in how, when and where I work.  I needed to establish a healthy work-life balance and I wanted greater control over the type of work I was doing.

… and has it happened the way you thought it would? Has anything surprised you?

Somewhat… it all started out pretty smooth until the Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions came into play in early 2020. I’m hopeful that once things start going back to normal, work will pick up and I’ll have a sustainable project load again. Until then, I am enjoying the additional time I have to spend on the projects that come my way and some creative projects for my own enjoyment.

Do you have a routine or structure to working from home?

After 10+ years of office life, I’ve rebelled a little and have a pretty loose routine. Most days (when not in lock-down) I will wake up, have a bite to eat then take the dogs for a morning meander. I’ll then have a shower, pack up my gear and head to a cafe or library to work from for the morning. I’ll switch it up for a few hours in the afternoon before heading home to work for a couple more hours and top it off with another dog walk.

I’m trying to make time for exercise each day, be it pilates, cycling or yoga. I’ve also found meditation and reading to be really good for my mind, so putting some time aside for those activities has become a priority.

What’s one item from your home office you couldn’t live without right now?

Not the most inspiring answer but I love my work mouse, the Logitech MX Master 2S. It’s a beast!

Four words that sum up being an independent for you?

Flexible, personal, agile, unshaven, rebellious.

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