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March 1, 2024


Seb Godfrey

Seb Godfrey is a graphic designer and illustrator based out of Melbourne, Australia. He is one-third of the Tasmanian brewery, Deep South, and is widely reconised for his work on the coveted events Golden Plains and Meredith Music Festival. His playful and witty approach to branding has him a sought-after collaborator in the vibrant Melbourne scene and beyond.

words by
Kody Deretic

How did you get your first big job?

Shortly after moving to Melbourne in 2012, I opened a pop-up cinema called Deja-View in the foyer of our shared studio warehouse, Magic Johnston (on Johnston street in Collingwood). I met so many like-minded and interesting people through running that space, and it proved to be a great way to network and get design jobs. It was just a matter of right time, right place.

I soon had the torch passed to me to take on the creative for Rooftop Cinema at Curtin House after a long line of high-profile Melbourne studios, and that seemed to open the door for more event-based and festival design (Meredith, Golden Plains, OK Motels, Groovin The Moo, Zoo Twilights, St Kilda Festival and Live Nation events etc).

What does a regular day in the studio look like for you?

I usually cycle into the Collingwood studio for 9am, grab a coffee over the road from mates at Everyday Coffee then dive into the day. There are usually 3 of us in the studio. It’s good to have other heads to bounce ideas off.

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I worked in a number of studios before doing my own thing full-time, and I think the most valuable thing I took away (apart from meeting some like-minded folks along the way) was studio process.

Your work for Meredith and Golden Plains is all time. Can you shed some light on what that experience and process has been like?

I’ve always loved going to festivals, but working on these particular ones is an absolute dream job. Meredith and Golden Plains are both coveted events and I feel truly honoured to help bring them to life each year.

I started working on Meredith in 2015 and seem to take on another piece of the creative puzzle each year; from the identity and website (with studio pal Tom Tkatchenko) to merch, print works, digital and stage visuals. I try to make an effort to learn some new tricks each year to keep things evolving. I honestly have to pinch myself that I actually get to do this for a job. It never gets boring.

You mentioned you get a lot of leads through instagram, has this always been the case?

No, it wasn’t always the case. I used to get all my jobs via word of mouth, friends of friends etc… but Instagram has proved to be a necessary evil. I find that whatever I post is what I get back. Ie. I start posting music festival work, other festivals get in touch. If I post a couple of pub rebrands, more pubs come in looking for a brand refresh. It seems to work for me that way anyway.

You’re 1/3 of Deep South, a new brewery in Tasmania. Hows that going and where did the design inspo come from?

Deep South Brewing Co. is also a dream job. I grew up in Hobart, and my folks ran a seafood restaurant called The Drunken Admiral (on the wharf, just a few doors up for where I went to art school). I’ve always been involved in hospitality in some way shape or form. I started peeling buckets of prawns in the restaurant at age 10 and since doing my fine arts degree at UTAS, I shifted my job from working-in hospitality to working-for hospitality in a design capacity. I love hospo’ design as much as much as I do festival design. Bars, restaurants, sandwich shops and pizzerias, what’s not to love!

When the opportunity came along to start a brewery with an old mate of mine (who just so happens to be one of Australia’s best brewers) there wasn’t much decision making to be done. I also had complete creative freedom to go wherever I wanted with the brand. I knew that I wanted to steer clear of the usual pitfalls and clichés in Tasmanian food and beverage packaging — usually leaning into convict, colonial or ‘ye-olde’ territory. I named all the beers after islands off the southwest of Tasmania, Pedra Pale (Pedra Branch is a famous big-wave surf spot and notorious breeding ground for white pointer sharks). Flat Witch XPA, Sharksjaw IPA, Lion Rock Session Ale, the nature/surf angle seemed a lot more relevant, contemporary and untouched. I created a minimal brand to reflect this idea, with a duotone palette and simple geometric line work that referenced each location. This pared-back aesthetic approach also cuts through with our canned beers on the shelf. They really stand out in the fridge!

We’re a couple of years in at the brewery and the beers are pretty much everywhere on tap or in can around Tas. Our North Hobart venue/brewery also does very good pizzas and is a must-hit if you’re ever in Hobart! Great spot.

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Pricing is the bane of every freelancers existence. How do you tackle it? Project rates? Day rates?

My studio rates fluctuate. There’s no set-rate for all clients. Projects start with a phone chat, followed by a written Q&A. This is helpful for a few reasons, mainly being that not all clients know how to articulate what they’re looking for, so this gets us on the right path from the get-go. Requesting 50% up front is also a must. It ensures both parties are invested in seeing the job through.

As for rates, on average, smaller jobs (half-day to a day) fluctuate between $120-$180p/h (a figure that’s grown over the years as the business grew) and bigger projects like Meredith and Golden Plains are on a set project budget for the entire project.

Have you had agency experience? If so, do you think it was crucial to your success today?

I worked in a number of studios before doing my own thing full-time, and I think the most valuable thing I took away (apart from meeting some like-minded folks along the way) was studio process. Every studio is different in the way they deal with clients and handle projects (even boring stuff like filing systems and invoicing). Borrowing from all these places and learning what works for you helps streamline these process and frees-up time to work on the fun stuff.


Instagram: @sebgodfrey
Deep South: @deepsouthbrewingco