Interview: Jesse Mallon

Interview: Jesse Mallon

We sent Jesse a few question last week so we could find out a bit more about the man behind the 2010 winning entry. Read on…and make sure you check out his impressive website here.

Q1: Firstly, tell us about yourself; background, education and current work.

I grew up, and still live, in the northern suburban Melbourne (represent!).  After finishing high school I ditched my childhood dreams of becoming an astronomer or a Japanese translator, and chose to study design, springing off my love of web design and my hate of coding.

I studied at both Swinburne TAFE and University, which were both great for different reasons. I was lucky enough to get a part time job at a small studio after finishing TAFE, and I’ve continued working there since completing my Honours degree in 2009. The rest of my time I fill up with freelance work and self-initiated projects.

Q2: Can you have a go at describing your style?

I try not to be too defined by a particular style. Every client and every job is going to be unique, so a different ‘style’ or approach is needed for each one. But of course, there are similarities between a number of the pieces I’ve worked on. I prefer using minimal colour palettes with simple, clean layouts. I also love creating letterforms, and working with type in general.

Q3: A lot of the work you feature on your site looks like a combination of vector and Photoshop work, but your winning poster was painted by hand? Was this something different for you?

The poster did start out as a vector (type in Illustrator), but I felt like it needed some texture to give it more depth. I ended up doing it on paper with a black marker, tracing over print outs of different fonts; italicised and not italicised, different markers, etc. I have a whole pile of different versions. Once I was happy with it I scanned it in, inversed it and ‘photoshopped’ in the colours. While I ended up with a more textured poster, the majority of work was still completed in Illustrator and Photoshop.

Working with pencil and marker is generally something I do just to develop ideas before moving onto the computer, so it was different for me to utilise something ‘hand-drawn’ in the final execution.

Q4: This is the second time you have entered the competition. Why do you think Positive Posters is worthwhile entering?

It’s not often you get to work on a project that has the sole intent of promoting positivity, especially when there is a possibility it might actually be put into action. There really isn’t any reason not to enter. It’s free, the prizes are great and all it takes is that one good idea.

Q5. What are your plans for the future? Are you going to stick with design?

I don’t have any specific plans at the moment…  just hopefully more opportunities, more projects, more design! I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t design.

Q6: “Positive design” is something that we talk about a fair bit. What do you think positive design is and what affect, if any, can it have?

I see positive design as a piece of design that aims to change something for the better. I definitely think that this type of design can make an actual difference. Design enables and heightens the communication of a message to its intended audience. When positive design has been executed successfully, I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be able to communicate a message just as well as another design can help to sell a product or service.

In another sense, I also think design that has been thoughtfully crafted and respects both the audience and the client can be classified as positive design.

Q7: You are still in the process of receiving all of your prizes, but what impact has winning PP 2010 had on you?

The best prize is definitely the poster distribution. Having something I designed on display all over Melbourne and Sydney isn’t something that’s really happened before (except for some condom packaging I’ve done). Seeing it pasted all over Swanston St in Melbourne on the night of the exhibition was just a great feeling. I also had to upgrade my website data transfer plan, so it’s been great exposure as well!

Q8: Kanye West, Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley?

Kanye West (and Elvis’ quiff).

Q9: Any other comments?

I just wanted to say a big thanks to Nick and everyone on the Positive Posters team. You guys have put a hell of a lot of effort into a great initiative, and I can only see it getting bigger and better from here.


  1. Lilly says:

    WOW!! THESE ARE AMAZING!! I literally just brnued my batch of cookies looks in awe at all of yours!! cant wait to see what else you have and use you for my next party! are you in seattle? Where are you?