DDIdeas / Featured

In a sea of Kardashians…be a Meghan

There’s a lot going on in the world right now that seems to be pointing towards a restacking of the gender imbalance. Let’s hope that this isn’t just a temporary positive blip and that the dial moves permanently to create the kind of change our daughters will thank us for. Amidst it all, an unexpected heroine has emerged as the new face of this very old conversation.

Steering clear of the stench that surrounds Harvey Weinstein, or the farce that’s emerged around my one-time favourite actor Kevin Spacey, let’s focus instead on the delightful Meghan Markle.

Beneath her princess-like beauty and fairy tale love story with the world’s most eligible bachelor, Ms Markle has revealed herself to be far more than that old cliché of a Hollywood actress who captivates Royalty.  She is an eloquent and passionate advocate for female empowerment, a phrase that is now less dirty to utter than it was even a few months ago, thanks to the #metoo campaign

In what is emerging as her own inimitable style – natural, articulate, warm and heartfelt – Meghan shares her views on this hot topic back in 2015 at a UN Summit.  This was long before she was picking out wedding dresses headed for Windsor Castle, or charming the Queen’s corgis into wilful submission, which leads me to suspect that she had no formal agenda, other than to encourage women to speak their truth.  Watch her disarm the room as she speaks hers here:

We’re seeing a modern icon claim new ground for women and girls all over the world before our very eyes, one who hasn’t felt the need to sacrifice her femininity as she’s found her voice, and whose gentle manner belies the power of someone who has a compelling fire burning within.

It’s hardly surprising that the flame-haired prince fell hard for Meghan.  She’s the role model I want my daughter to believe in, the “Girl power” I subscribe to in 2017 and the sign of a shifting perspective from the stuffy Royal establishment unshackling themselves in the wake of her undeniable style, wit, empathy and unaffected grace.   Qualities she singularly has the power to revive in a world of flagrant self-promotion and waning elegance.  Qualities too that every brand talking to women would do well to think about embedding within their own brand story.


Loosening The Reins: Creativity In Europe

Freedom of expression and the space to do it. That’s what Europe offers the creative.

Let’s start at the extreme end of the spectrum – Hamburg. The G20 protests brought with them a load of violence and civil disobedience. But they also revealed a city that was not willing to lie down and take what figures like Trump and Putin represent. Whilst I found myself in the crossfire of some hair-raising skirmishes between police and protestors, I couldn’t help but be affected by the screams of a city that has already had to rebuild itself once when power got out of hand.

To escape the mayhem, I jumped on a train to Amsterdam for a long weekend (Grabarz was closed for the G20 and what turned out to be more-than-legitimate security concerns).

Amsterdam is a creative’s paradise. A stroll through the iconic Vondel Park revealed an open-air theatre where a troupe of contemporary dancers were performing. Completely free, just grab a beer and enjoy. A ferry over to Amsterdam Noord unearthed a warehouse converted into shared art-spaces, some of the most mazing murals I’ve ever seen and an alternative community that live on what was, for all intents and purposes, a Pirate Ship.

Next weekend, I head to Berlin. A city where every corner drips in artwork.

Surrounded by so much unadulterated free speech and creativity, I wonder where my own city will make room for the same?

In Sydney, I watch helplessly as iconic hubs like Kings Cross are extinguished, laws are enacted prohibiting the purchase of a bottle of wine after 10pm and public performance that is watered down to a council-approved guitar player in Pitt St Mall.

I once heard that life begins at the edge of our comfort zone. So if culture and creativity are going to hit the heights I hope for my hometown, we must loosen the reins a little. It may be scary at first, but it will be worth it.


Grabarz & Passports & Polar Temperatures

Written by Yannick Labbe our Creative Director from Grabarz&Partner Berlin, who now has his very own DDI fan club.

I expected many things from my sponsored trip to Australia. But one thing, I surely didn’t: the perceived temperature here resembles a mid-January day in Jenniseisk, pearl of the Siberian steppe. But instead of focussing on the rather uncommon similarities between the capital of New South Wales and the gem of the Krasnojarsk-oblast, here’s a few things I take home from my sneak peek into Australian work life, and life in general:

People are awesome. And so is working together with them. Chopper-flying is great. Wood-chopping is, also. It’s good to hang around dogs. It’s also good to hang around good ideas. Just to let them die sometimes. It’s good to not have an attitude. It’s even better to recognize that folks are better than yourself in what’s different from what you do every day.

So, instead of moaning along about the cold (which is one of the key selling points of Jenniseik, icy jewel on the banks of Jenissei-river), this is what’s also going to stick with me: the warm welcome for a random dude from Europe from everyone at DDI. You made this trip unforgettable. Thanks for everything, guys, you’re awesome (so is Jenniseisk, glittering treasure of the barren lands behind the Ural – but that’s a whole different story).


The Australian in Hamburg: What My First Day Taught Me

A missive from Chris D’Arbon, our CD who is on exchange right now at Grabarz & Partner in Germany. We’re thrilled to have the wonderful Yannick Labbé, CD International from Grabarz here at DDI at the same time!

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Energy Begets Energy

Earlier this year, we were privileged to have the enormously talented and incredibly humble, Cleonie Quayle, share the sources of her creative inspiration with us in a workshop here at DDI.

Cleonie is a self-titled ‘Aboriginal entrepreneur’ who shares her life story through every piece of her remarkable jewellery. As one of the women being supported by our pro-bono client Global Sisters, DDI is thrilled to have contributed to Cleonie’s education as a businesswoman through the Sister School programme. True to Cleonie’s ‘hand up, not hand out’ philosophy, she graciously exchanged her words of wisdom in a bespoke creative workshop with our team.

Our Studio Manager and Senior Designer extraordinaire, Paul Conley, was so taken with Cleonie’s story that he immediately set to work bringing the Cleonie Quayle brand to life with a representation of her remarkable craft.

My take on all of this is very simple: Energy Begets Energy. Cleonie shared with us great vulnerability and humour in her life’s journey which is filled with tragedy, triumph and every emotion in between.  Paul gave of his talent with openness of heart and generosity of spirit for Cleonie and her future success.  And in that exchange, something beautiful was created. I watch with pride as these meetings of the mind unfold every day at DDI.