Graphic Designer / Kern Studio
In a time when design has never been more important, it’s no easy feat to stand out in the industry. But, Danielle Azzopardi has managed to do just that. Starting Kern Studio as a bit of a side project in between jobs at companies such as Mecca and The Fashion Journal, Danielle transformed her side hustle into a bonafide, booming business and hasn’t looked back,
Covering everything from logo design to packaging and even website design, Danielle offers a one-stop-shop for the smart, brilliant brand. Take a sneak peak at her website or Instagam account and you will be welcomed with a kind of aesthetic that dreams are made from.
In this #careerstory we start at the very beginning. From high school, to studying at Swinburne Univertsity, and the opportunities that presented after she finished. If you are a budding designer you simply have to check out her must have resource list, it’s everything.
Let’s dive in…
Hi there, can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up on a small farm in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Both my parents have always had their own business that has probably influenced me to want to work for myself. Being surrounded by nature growing up was really inspiring, still to this day walking in nature is my outlet where I can relax and I am constantly amazed about the creativity found in the natural world. I think my love for design started young – growing up, I could never been seen without a pencil and paper.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to High School just outside of Melbourne. To be honest, I don’t have the greatest memories of school, I always had a lot of friends but was such an emotional, sensitive person that I had a hard time internally. I went to a co-ed school and always felt like one of the boys which I think has carried through to my adult life.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
I had a really incredible and encouraging Visual Communication teacher who really believed in me – that definitely played a big part in my confidence to further explore design. I was always a high achiever and graphic design wasn’t as commonly known about as it is today so my parents were really hesitant and wanted me to be a lawyer.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Through school I was able to do work experience in a law firm, which made me realise just how much I wanted to study design. I didn’t have much knowledge of the design industry at the time so never really looked to get work experience in a design studio until later on, however I’m sure that would’ve been a great help if I pushed for that earlier.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I studied a double degree in Communication Design and Marketing at Swinburne University. I started studying straight out of High School and my parents were still unsure about a career in Graphic Design so convinced me to do the double degree to fall back on. Towards the end of my course I did a semester of exchange in Germany, which I believe made a significant impact in my career and direction. I had some really influential designers as teachers who were brutally honest with me and I learnt so much there about design and about myself. It completely changed my approach to design. After I finished my course I also studied a Diploma in Photography at CATC Design School.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
When I first started my Uni degree I contacted every design studio on google asking if I could do any work experience or even just help out with admin work. Finally one of them got back to me and I worked there for about 2 years until I decided to go to Germany. From the start of my degree I constantly did freelance work for anyone and everyone. When I got back from overseas I started doing internships as a Graphic Designer for places like Fashion Journal and ID Collective. I went on to work for places like The Style Co and Mecca, always with the focus on running my own studio that I was always doing on the side.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
After years of trying to juggle working for others and running my own thing on the side – my workload got too much to manage so I chose to leave my jobs and focus on my own business.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
Being stern, knowing your worth, getting through the rollercoaster of emotions!
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
I wake up early, go for a walk or to pilates – exercising every day is really important for me to keep my body strong especially sitting on the computer all day my back gets really tired. I then usually do some emails from home, then drive into the office, grab my morning coffee and start on some projects. Most of the day consists of researching, brainstorming, sketching ideas, and designing. I’m definitely one of those creative types that work better late at night which can be an issue trying to switch off and go to bed!
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Personally, probably my mum. She manages so many things and always has time in the day some how. She’s always got so much energy and is so positive all the time!
Professionally, Jessica Walsh was always a hero of mine. I always aspired to the fact that she could achieve so much at such a young age and it gave me a sense of hope and motivation.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Start freelancing and seeking internships as early as possible. It’s never too early to start learning from people in the industry and getting your foot in the door. I wish I started doing that even earlier than I did. It’s so important. Don’t ever feel like you’re not good enough to contact places you dream to work with and try to get experience there, people love seeing initiative and drive.
What is your biggest career f*ck up?
Good question! Maybe printing? I’ve printed a few things in the early days without doing test runs that printed out different to what I thought they would and then had to reprint.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration
- Favourite Websites: Behance, Dribble, Tumblr
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: Way too many to name, everyone Studio Kern follows on Instagram are people worth checking every day, they’re all so inspiring.
- Favourite Podcast: Lady Brains
- Favourite Netflix Series: Grace and Frankie
- Favourite all time book/s: The tattooist of Auschwitz, Lean in, The Difference
- People: Ai Wei Wei, Yayoi Kusama