Meet Phil Smith, designer of AWNY’s new logo

Phil Smith was the talented Aussie designer who won the AWNY Design our Logo competition we held late in 2014. His logo was selected as the top 3 by the panel of judges, and then voted as the winner by a people’s choice vote on the AWNY Facebook page.

Learn a little more about Phil and his inspiration behind our beautiful new logo.

Tell us a bit about why you moved to NYC? Where are you from and ow long have you been here?
I moved to the Big Apple 4.5 years ago from Sydney—time flies and I pinch myself every May 12th that I am living and working here.

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?
I live in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn right up near the Brooklyn Museum. This area has so many good neighborhood bars and restaurants, proximity to Prospect Park (which is great as I run a lot), and is a stones throw to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens when I need to decompress. I love walking to the subway every day and looking up at the beautiful museum with all of the ancient scholar’s statues lining the perimeter of the roof.

What do you do?
I am Digital Art Director for The Mixx; we are a small strategic design, marketing, and communications shop and happen to be a certified woman-owned business. I work with Fortune 500 and smaller clients to bring their digital needs to life.

Tell us about your design aesthetic?
I like clean design that serves a purpose; bold block color, elegant typography, and elevating a compelling idea or message with visuals and interactions.

Describe your inspiration behind the logo?
When I looked over AWNY’s existing identity, it did not connect for me with the vibrant, dynamic community of Australian women living in this one-of-a-kind place on earth. It lacked the spark I was looking for; New York is more than a skyline. I saw something in the stars on both of our flags, and wanted to open that up to how I could visually represent AWNY. The AWNY letterforms are sharp and angular, so I knew it would visually gel as a direction. Laser focusing on this idea spurred my creativity to explore a few examples of what it means to be a professional woman living and working in NYC—the spark; the rising star; shining brightly; the support network.????????????????????

Why do you think that this is the best visual representation for AWNY?
The five triangular points of the star are representative of the people forming the community; remove any of the shapes and it is no longer a star. In the same way a community of individuals forms the collective, and only exists with participation. The colors blend American navy and red (although our flag has these colors too), with more definitive Australian colors of ochre and sky blue. The magenta was for the womanly spark an Aussie ‘gal’ brings across with her.

Tell us about developing the winning logo for AWNY?
The competition occurred when I was buried with client work, so I did not have the bandwidth to go in multiple directions. I was limited to weekend mornings and late at night after work. I keep a notebook and pen on me always, so I can scratch an idea down on the subway or when inspiration hits.

Being a competition I could explore without constraint. Working on the star theme, and after more than a few bloopers—collateral damage of the creative process—I landed on the chosen direction and kept refining and working it up from there.

Hitting send you never know what the judges will pick. Fortunately it worked out!awny_logo_m3

As a Professional working in NYC what are the differences to working in Australia?
I think you need to play office politics more here.

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?
Like: food, bars, summer in the park, rooftop parties, good mates. Dislike: lack of good beaches. Don’t all Aussies say the same thing?

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?
A man wearing a dress pushing a full upright piano down the sidewalk…go figure.

Any advice for people moving to NY?
Network like your life depends on it (because it does).

Any advice for other Professionals working in NYC?
You need less coffee than this city makes you think you need.

What’s your favourite New York spot?
Right now it is Barboncino on Franklin Ave in Crown Heights… great beer and wood fired pizza.

Anything you miss about Australia?
Lots! My family, my friends, the beach—too much to mention.

What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?
1) Stay downtown in an area where you are going to want to hang out 2) Take full advantage of Qantas’ two bag policy 3) Don’t expect a relaxing holiday 😉

Is there anything else you would like to include here?
Thank you for the opportunity to design your logo and for this post!! Sorry it took me so long to turn around to you.