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Give Him A Tablet And He’ll Take You Places

Stuart Sullivan is Creative Director of The Yak and the designer behind countless brands on the island. He spoke to Tony Stanton about work, simplicity, and doing things the right way.

Ok so who are you?

I’m Stu.

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What’s your professional background? 

Graphic Designer/Illustrator/Troublemaker. Most of my work on Bali comes through people recommending me to others which is always a good feeling. Working in Australia and Indonesia, I’ve had to take cultural sensibilities into consideration, but it’s a pleasure working with talented people from diverse backgrounds. I also end up being friends with most of the people I work for and that’s really rewarding for me.

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When did you arrive in Bali? 

Many moons ago. 2005. I started out with iComm and we still collaborate on many projects to this day. Really had an amazing time there; their entire team are really cool. So much has changed since then but Bali still retains much of its charm and the scope for good design work increases all the time. It’s a tough place to make a buck, but really rewarding if you do good work as people seem to notice immediately and that can translate to more work.

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How did you first meet The Yak?

On some coffee table somewhere in Bali. Thought it was a cool mag design-wise. Little did I know I’d be there one day.

What do you do for The Yak?

Well I started off with a complete re-branding one-off, and never left! I work on all the visual content for the magazine, including brand promos and online. It’s a gig I love and always look forward to every issue. I never saw myself as a magazine designer but it’s an amazing medium to work on given its scope, and also its limitations.


What are the three biggest mistakes people make in design?

Limiting themselves to a particular style or movement. I think a successful designer takes a brief to its logical and romantic limit whilst keeping client sensibilities in consideration. I have to note, many clients don’t know HOW they want things and need to be consulted and educated to get great results. Boring answer really, but the truth!


Answer please: How could I simply improve the way my company looks?

Keep things simple; ensure the look and feel is along the lines of your business but make sure it’s not the same as all your competitors. So many brands fall into that trap and that’s no way to be noticed.

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Do you do branding for other people?

Yes. Recently I have been working on a lot of stuff for Coca-Cola and all the brands they house, and other mass market brands in Sydney whilst retaining a few long-term clients on Bali.

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What’s the secret to your success? 

I’m still trying to work that out to be honest. It’s a moving feast based upon location, demand and trend. Enjoy what you do and put a lot of yourself into the projects and enjoy times with clients as it makes it much more fun and your work will be better as a result.

Legend Mr Stu, Thanks!