My name is Jacob Tolo. I am a designer living and working in Melbourne, Australia. I was born in the pacific island of Samoa and at the age of 5 moved with my family to New Zealand, where I went to school and studied Graphic Design. For the last 10 years I have been working mainly in Children’s publishing, packaging and illustration. Along with working as an Art Director, Designer, Studio Manager and general dogs body over those years, I also managed to complete post-grad study at Swinburne University. I have just recently opened my own studio in Brunswick East, called DesignTologata.
For the last 10 years I have been intrigued by the notion of culturally specific design. Particularly in the Pacific and Australia. I work closely with Sista Girl Productions in the creation of graphic design for indigenous community groups in Victoria and often do work for clients in New Zealand with a Pacific/Polynesian bent.
The idea first came to me several years ago, that culturally specific design is a subject that is not widely discussed or even critiqued in the same way that western design is so rigorously examined. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a platform to tear other people’s work down ( there are plenty of other sites that achieve that) but by looking at what I think is a successful merger of traditional and modern design aesthetics in other peoples work, there can be a discussion about why and how it does work. Not only in graphic design but design as a whole, that has been created specifically for our communities – be it architecture, fashion, furniture and so on.
I’m hoping in this space I will be able to bounce around some old ideas and maybe even introduce some new ones to further the conversation around ‘designing for a culturally specific audience’.