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Luca Ionescu

logoMany of you know Luca Ionescu as the designer and director of Like Minded Studios, whose ornate typographical aesthetic has blessed campaigns and designs for the likes of Nike, RVCA, Stussy, Zoo York and The Commonwealth Bank. Others might be more familiar with Luca, the art director and founder of Refill Magazine and the Refill projects.

Either way you look at it, Luca is amongst Australia’s most contribution citizens for the art and design, so we’re happy to bring you this mini interview as part of the build up to the LTRHD exhibition.

Luca will be doing the letter “L”.
Like Minded Studio.




Do you think there comes a point at which individual style becomes counterproductive to the objectives of good design?

I think a designer/typographer should be able to see the difference between style and function and be able to combine or separate them as need be.

I think an artist or designer can use their own style within the advertising and design world as long as they can still answer the brief. I think personal style is key for an artist to establish and express themselves visually.

Any great artist that has been remembered throughout time developed an unique style, be it a musician, visual artist or designer. A designer working with clients is a different matter to being an artist.

As well as using their own style a designer must always be aware of the brief a client has given and the message they are trying to communicate and not let style get in the way.

You must master your ideas before you add style, style alone without substance does not function. Style alone can be reserved for pushing boundaries in experimental and personal work.

4292454408_c0a6da52ce_bIs the rise of the ‘rock star designer’ inspiring greater originality and risk-taking within the industry, or is it encouraging a type of repetitive, idiosyncratic self-branding that discourages innovation and discovery?

I think that what you are saying about the rock-star designer is not something new… he has been around for a while.

Sure there will be those who are caught up in the scene, ego and rock-star mentality. And then there are those who are the real rock stars that live their life by their art and design and continue to take risks and be original.

You could argue Paul Rand was a rock-star designer in his day, yet he was still a risk taker and original. Most of all I’m sure he was not on an ego trip about his greatness but did his own thing and others noticed his vision.. and he developed a style he could use within his work… and still be able to communicate ideas.

I think companies are definitely seeing the benefits of aligning themselves with artists to propel their brands and allowing artists to sign their work.

Screen shot 2010-01-26 at 10.00.20 PMHopefully it’s the dawn of a new era or poster and advertising art where artists with unique and original styles are encouraged to sign their work and be able to blend style and visual communication.

This tradition of brands and artists has been happening from the days of Mucha, Piatti and A.M Cassandre.

What is the one campaign you have designed that you are most satisfied with?

The Tooheys 696 campaign was a great project to work on, that has snowballed into more work for Tooheys.

Is there a memorable instance where you think you were able to communicate something in a particularly acute and effective manner?

It happens all the time, especially when clients get our ideas.

Do you believe that ‘less is more’?

I believe there is an answer to every problem and each one is different.

4035699353_906ec24147_oHow do you think that audiences are responding to design in an era where technology has made it so dazzling elaborate?

I think there is a trend amongst designers to bring things back to doing things the old fashioned way, bringing the craft back.. not letting technology dictate but.. putting emphasis on traditional skills that would otherwise be lost.

Such as hand lettering and bespoke type. At the same time technology is offering us access to abundant information that was not accessible before, enriching our work.

3934010360_eaac517fe6_oAre people becoming more numbingly apathetic towards the visual media that saturates them?

There is currently an over-saturation of blogs and social media devices that can become a distraction. Its up to the individual to choose how much they want to expose themselves to.

Do you have a role model that inspires and guides your output?

I would be limiting myself with just one role model, I like to keep learning and growing from everyone around me.


What does their life’s work represent to you?

Keep on moving and do as much as you can, and give back to others.

4112948907_431de53ca8_bWhat’s one piece of advice you would give to someone with aspirations of becoming a designer?

Learn to communicate well, don’t be afraid to express your ideas or of confrontation. Good design is communication, that will also help you when you draw up sketches… if you can become a good communicator you can flesh out your ideas without being afraid of making a mistake.

Take an interest in art and design and research and study on what has been done before your time, respect those who have done it… and go create your own.

Most of all enjoy what you do and share it with others so they can enjoy it also. Don’t be afraid of complementing others that are doing good work. Don’t get caught up in the scene, envy or hate.

These are things I would tell my own son if he asked me about being a designer.



Luca is part of LTRHDS exhibition, launching February 26th in Melbourne. Click here for more info.


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