FAWN TALKS: MILDRED & DUCK
They are a pair of smarty-pants designers with a gorge portfolio of fancy-pants designs under their belt. That’s a lot of pants! But that’s MILDRED & DUCK all over. They’re stuff is super-fantastic: clean lines. Fresh colours. Sweet fonts. Ingenious creations in our opinion, but all in a day’s work for Sigiriya Brown and Daniel Smith. They love their work and—I quote—neon, cacti, moustaches, pompoms, screen printing, lists, teacups, mondegreens, the eamesii, graph paper, vintage glassware, fluff, onomatopoeic words, baking, drive-in movies and breakfast. Anyone know what “the eamesii” is? No matter. If they love it it’s gotta be good. As to why, well, we’ll let them tell you in their own words—and how they came up with such a cool name too!
I’m Mildred and Dan is Duck. Dan went through this phase where he called me Mildred for a while. I don’t even remember how it started. I think he was just making fun of me about something. Anyway he could tell it annoyed me so he kept it up for a while and when it came time to name our business, somehow it ended up in the name. I call him Duck sometimes, and because the business is really just the two of us most of the time, it made sense that we were both somehow represented in the name.
We’re a small graphic design studio based in Melbourne. We started the business mid-2011 and work with a range of different clients across different industries. We mainly work on identity design, stationery, brochures, annual and other reports, publications, presentations, signage, website design and development, and really anything else that needs to be done! We work closely with our clients to ensure great results that exceed everyone’s expectations. At the end of the day if our clients are happy then that’s what’s important to us.
We get excited about lots of things all the time. I guess we’re always having a little phase or obsession with something. That’s just how we are. When we put up that [list of things we love] on our website I’d just gotten a little pompom-making machine from Japan, so we were making a lot of pompoms. We were pretty into teacups for a project we were working on [too]. I guess the teacup phase is still going actually. My grandmother has a huge collection of teacups from her mum and sister, and they’re really beautiful things.
I think being a designer is pretty consuming. A lot of the time we end up working late, especially when we’re really excited about something and we just want to work on it a little more. It’s hard to switch off, but we enjoy what we’re doing so it never feels like a problem to us.
I usually pick all the colours for our projects. That’s something I really enjoy doing. I think colour is often so underrated in design. Dan does more of the web stuff. He’s way better with detail than I am. He’s great with maths, and he’s always coming up with rules and systems for things. I mostly just put something on a page where I “feel” like it goes best, so it’s good he’s here to balance me out. I think we both balance each other out, and every now and then he even lets me break one of his rules!
We don’t advertise or anything like that. It’s great because people who approach us have usually found our work somewhere and liked it, or another client has recommended us to them. Generally we just get an email, or a phone call from someone who wants to have a chat about us working on something for them. Then we usually get together and have a conversation about what they require. It all pretty much moves forward from there. We take on all kinds of jobs, from basic small jobs to more complicated projects and we’re always happy to hear from new clients.
We really love every part of what we do. Even the things that seem tedious or challenging at the time. We always look back and try to take something from every experience. Being passionate and enthusiastic about all we do is what makes our jobs enjoyable. We’re working towards building a sustainable long-term business so it’s really important to us to focus on making sure we give all of our jobs and clients our full attention to get the best possible results. (Sigiriya Brown)
Words by Choe Brereton.