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Talented Tuesday with Alicia Mitchell, Senior Art Director

Alicia Mitchell is a Melbourne-based Senior Designer and Art Director who has worked on some of Australia’s best loved brands. Mavens caught up with Alicia over a cheeky lunchtime mimosa to learn more about her work to date.

Tell us about your career. How did you end up where you are?

When I was at school, the thought of going on to university for more years of exams was completely overwhelming to me. So I took a hobby I loved – designing Myspace layouts and sharing them online – and decided I’d be a graphic designer. Then I learned what a creative director was and thought that sounded exactly like where I’d like to end up, so I went to uni immediately after my diploma, studying advertising with a focus on art direction (there are no exams in art direction!).

From there I worked as a freelance creative and a graphic designer – then I blinked and had been working for almost 8 years. I ended up where I am now by trying to absorb all knowledge from people I’ve worked with. You’d be surprised by what you pick up that makes you perfect for the next job.

You’ve worked both client side and agency side, and are now back working agency. Is that your preference?

At this point, agency is definitely my preference. There’s pros and cons on both sides, and there’s such a huge variety of client teams you could work for. At this stage in my career, I’m keen on the energy of an agency, surrounded by other creative people and supported by experienced advertisers. As much as it can be stressful, I find it more interesting! You learn so quickly, especially early in your career, when you have the opportunity to work with a large mix of other creative people.

Habits I’ve had enforced in agency have proven extremely useful in-house too – particularly the art of selling in your work.

Tell us what you’ve been working on in recent times.

Recently I’ve worked with Sushi Sushi on launching the brand partnership with Bromley&Co, including a new range of recyclable packaging; as well as launching a range of vegan sushi. Right now I’m back on a client I’ve worked with for a while now – Coles’ range of own brand products, where I get to work on everything from baby food and protein powder, to ready-to-eat meals and skincare. There’s a lot more fun to be had there then you might think!

I’ve also loved seeing how entrepreneurial people are getting since the Covid kicked off. I’ve created a brand identity for my friend who has launched an all-Aussie online jewellery destination, and I’m working on restaurant branding for tapas bar.

What’s your professional motto?

Hmm. The things I say the most probably aren’t that inspiring… Like “Is anyone going to die?”

But really I think it’s to ask for assistance when you need it. Taking everything on yourself is a recipe for burnout. Trust the people you work with. You can still be a good collaborator, be a high performer, and put your best effort into your work while having boundaries.

Who are your favourite female role models?

Any of the amazing creative Aussie women who have started their own businesses and designed their careers around their lives.

Evan Rachel Wood, for her work and advocacy on intimate partner violence.

And Dolly Parton, for her philanthropy in children’s literacy.

Alicia Mitchell is a Senior Art Director at Big Red in Melbourne.


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