We sat down with Burleigh local Tahlia Benefield at her Burleigh based branding and graphic design studio to find out more about one of the Coast’s up-and-coming talent’s in the Gold Coast’s booming creative industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a Burleigh based graphic designer and love collaborating with local businesses anywhere from Byron Bay to the Sunshine Coast.
I have a particular aesthetic to my design style which is influenced by my love for scandinavian culture and design. The scandi’s are world class for minimal, elegant, functional and beautiful design which has had a large influence my design creativity and minimalist approach. On top of their flawless designs, I love their cultural obsession for “fika” (coffee and a pastry)—I think we could all do with a dose of Swedish culture!
I grew up in Grafton, a small town in New South Wales—a town that is heavily reliant on local businesses and services to keep the local economy turning. From a young age I was apart of the local biz scene working for my dad on his rose farm!
I attended weekly farmers and growers markets, selling beautiful bunches of blooms to the locals and I quickly learnt what an important role our local services and products play in today’s world. I fell in love with the small business culture, the stories behind people’s business, the successes, the failures, the ups and downs and ins and outs of small business and the sacrifices made to make a buck!
So, you’re from Grafton! What brought you to the Gold Coast?
I was born and raised on my dad’s fruit farm (turned rose farm) and left Grafton as soon as I finished high school to start looking for work in the “city” whilst I prepped myself for university on the Gold Coast. Although I call Gold Coast home, I will always be “NSW” at heart (eep!).
Now that you’re freelancing full-time again, how did you transition from being an ’employee’ to being your own boss?
Before jumping into this full-time gig I freelanced on the side for about 6 years! I started designing at the ripe age of 16 when I got my hands on a free version of Photoshop, and kick started my passion for design by designing all of my friend’s birthday invitations. Little did I know these 16 year old birthday invites would turn into a self-employed dream!
I always knew that I wanted to work for myself and I have spent the last 3 years taking the steps I needed to transition from full-time employment to self-employed boss! I wanted the transition to be as smooth as possible with little effect on my income so I spent a year growing a “safety net” of cash for when I made the big move.
I knew the time was right when I was contracted by SnapChat to design Australian geofilters for 2017. It was an amazing opportunity designing filters for Aussie events and special days like Christmas, New Years, ANZAC Day, Mother’s Day and the Melbourne Cup. Securing this freelance gig gave me the confidence to jump into self-employment. Since then, I haven’t looked back, it has been onwards and upwards since then!
What’s your favourite thing about working with local businesses?
I love local biz! There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you’re supporting a fellow local. When I work with a local I get to sit down with them, face-to-face, hear their story, their ideas, their motivations and their big “WHY” they do what they do. When I get to understand the behind the scenes of a business it makes what I do so much more rewarding and enjoyable. Oh, and I always get so excited when I see my designs float around the Gold Coast—just have to give myself a little pinch!
How do you elevate brands?
My focus when working with brands is to find that spark or uniqueness about the business and make sure the world knows it! I believe every business has something unique to offer and it is so important that it is shown and understood to the right people. I help businesses communicate their message visually! Whether it be though a logo, a menu, a timetable, a flyer, a brochure, a social media post or a billboard, I use graphic design and marketing to bring the brand to life!
What’s the biggest mistake you see local businesses make when it comes to their branding and marketing?
Not investing in their brand and not looking consistent. I completely understand the tiny budgets of small businesses and startups which is why many businesses try and keep costs down when it comes to investing in their brand identity. I’m talking logos, social media posts, signage, business cards and packaging… when a business neglects to invest in how they look and feel as a brand they lack a brand image and brand voice which is what makes them unique!
I see the most successful brands are the ones that have their branding sh*t together. They stick to a particular style, a certain font, a consistent voice and a kick-ass offering, so no matter if you’re in the store, on their website, scrolling through their social media feeds, reading their menu or getting your coffee in a beautifully branded take-away coffee cup, it is consistent. Put all these things together and you have a killer brand identity!
Nowadays people are attracted to brands that look good—consumers buy, then upload Instagram photos of the products they’ve purchased, and they like to associate themselves with brands that not only offer a unique product or service, but one that looks good while they are doing it. A well designed brand is a small expense compared to the loyalty and popularity it will attract.
Freelancing is a full-time gig, well beyond the 9-5, so how do you find time to wind down?
“Netflix and still” Ha! Yoga and meditation is my ultimate go-to when I’m in need of a wind down. When you spend all day being creative, having meetings, keeping on top of emails and trying to run a business, post on social media, market yourself and keep sane… it’s doing the opposite and being still that grounds me, clears my head and helps me switch off. Oh, and you can’t beat a good Netflix series (Power!) with my partner!
So, you love yoga then? Where do you practice yoga?
Boheme, my saviour! I found this charming little studio when I moved to Burleigh a couple of years ago. I had always been interested in yoga as I knew the mental and physical benefits were amazing, so I dipped in and out of yoga studios all around the GC. It wasn’t until I found Boheme that my commitment to the practice changed entirely. The good vibes and no-ego nature that is from Boheme is exactly why I call this place my dojo. Overtime I have been lucky enough to get to know the beauty and brains behind Boheme— Amy, and I can now see why Boheme is such a calm and peaceful place to roll out my mat. Amy is not your average yogi and it’s her uniqueness and way of living that really makes Boheme not just another yoga studio. Do your mind and body a favour and visit Boheme!
If you’re not working from home, practicing yoga or binge-watching Netflix, where might we find you?
I don’t have a number one go to on the GC because I love trying different local cafe’s! Some of my favourites, Parlour Coffee in Tallebudgera, Nook Espresso at Burleigh beach, I love grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting on Burleigh Hill in the cooler winter mornings to watch the waves and get some business done! Oh, and I can’t leave out Tribeca NYC on Chevron Island for a sneaky bagel and coffee on my way to visit client’s around the coast!
So, we all now want to be your friend. How can we contact you?
Say hello on Instagram! My favourite place to share creativity and find inspiration. Otherwise, visit my website and drop me an email! I’m all about meeting my clients, fellow creatives and big dreamers for a coffee and a chat about their business, dreams and plans!