Georgia Norton Lodge completed a Bachelor of Design in 2013.
Georgia left her role has Senior Designer at Sydney Based branding firm, Juicy Design, in 2019 to focus on building her own businesses - Soft Launch, a design agency, and Georgia Draws A House, an illustration business.
Her career has been focused in branding and visual identity roll outs. Her journey has seen her working with clients such as; Jetstar, Virgin Australia, IGA, McDonald's Global, Taronga Zoo, The MCG and Keystone. Some of the larger rebrands she has worked on include: Boost Juice Australia, Salsas, Museum of Australian Democracy Old Parliament House and The Solotel Group.
Georgia Norton Lodge has been featured in: The Sydney Morning Herald, The Latch, Yen Magazine, Inside Out Magazine, Shameless Media, The Daily Telegraph, Stylerunner, Side Hustle School Podcast and news.com.au. She has been a guest speaker at Sydney Writers Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, Scribblers Festival and Byron Writers Festival. She is an illustrator for Allen & Unwin and has just finished the 4th book The Elizabella Series, a project she did with her sister that is published by Walker Books. Some of her regular clients include Belle Property, The Agency, McGrath, Atlassian and she is often seen working with kids for Burwood, Inner West and Lane Cove Councils.
The first year in business looked fantastic for Georgia. Amongst other projects, Soft Launch lead a rebrand of Gelatissimo Australia and the redesign / development of Flour & Stone website. Whilst Georgia Draws A House, seriously took off, she drew over 500 houses, and was seen flying around Australia delivering drawing workshops and inspiring other side-hustlers in a lecture series.
At UNSW Art & Design we encourage our students to explore the breadth of career opportunities available to them. The Design Your Future series showcases the journeys of our unique and inspiring design alumni.
Tell us a bit about your career in design? Were there any pivotal moments on the path to where you are now?
My career in design has been pretty traditional! I went to uni, did a bunch of internships, and landed a full-time job in my final semester. I spent the best part of the last decade in small branding studios focused on design for hospitality. I love my niche; I basically design brands for restaurants and bars though in more recent years I have directed rebrands for loved Aussie brands like Boost and Gelatissimo. I guess somewhere along the way, in between making my 50th pub logo and creating guidelines for McDonald’s Global, my hands got itchy and I wanted to do something with a bit more freedom. That is where Georgia Draws A House comes in.
Georgia Draws A House is an illustration business where people send me their address or a photo of their home and in return, I draw it for them. Think Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, ‘I bought my first home’ or ‘we just sold the family home!’ – it is a little business that celebrates love, family, and the spaces we live in. This started when my sister was writing her first book and I was commissioned to design the cover. The book is based in the neighbourhood we grew up in, Annandale, so I started out by drawing the buildings I could see and eventually came to my family home. I drew it, my mother loved it and hung it on her wall. Then her friend walked in and she wanted her house drawn! Then her friend’s friend wanted hers done and then just like that, Georgia Draws a House was born.
I spent years working full time and moonlighting as Georgia Draws A House. Slowly, slowly building a presence and customer base on Instagram. Then one day I went a bit bananas and decided to do one of my drawings really large scale on the side of my parents’ house. 10 days (or so!) later, in the most pivotal moment of my career, the SMH found a photo of me in front of it and wrote an full-page article in the Sunday paper ‘Meet the 28 year old saving for a house by drawing yours!’. I got hundreds of orders, quit my job and now I’m here. Where is here? In my gorgeous rented studio in Darlington, directing a couple of interns (some from your uni!) on both business Georgia Draws A House and Soft Launch (brand agency). I work for myself, a go in and out of calling myself a designer or an illustrator, I wear many hats and I love it.
Most rewarding aspect of a career in design?
Well! I don’t really know how to answer that, but I guess the autonomy it has provided me to live a flexible life. If it wasn’t for my career in design, the people I’ve met and relationships I’ve nurtured, I wouldn’t be in the financial position to jump ship to devote time to growing my Georgia Draws A House business. It is a rewarding journey but the doors it’s opened and security it’s given are really something I feel very grateful for.
Most interesting design challenge / project you’ve worked on?
Besides growing your own business (who knew how much there would be to learn!), one project springs to mind. I spent a few years at an amazing agency called Juicy, they are interior design and branding (yes, there are places that do more than one!) – the design challenges here were more interesting than in any other environment. This is because as a graphic designer I had to start to think beyond the logo, the typeface, the colours, I realised these aren’t much without a seamlessly paired environment to house them! McDonald’s Global works in ‘palettes’, when you go to any store around the world, the owner will have chosen the look and feel of their store from a series of designs. I am a very proud contributor to one of these global palettes. There were so many challenges, ‘how do we design the store so it can be made cheaply but still look comfortable’, ‘how do we design something that is suitable for all countries’, ‘how can we bring something truly new to the market whilst still being on brand’, ‘is this McDonald’s yellow, or is THIS McDonald’s yellow’... I could talk about this for hours. I loved working with the team on these jobs, I will remember them forever!
What about your UNSW experience has helped you in your career?
Well firstly it helped me land a job because everyone wants educated designers! Beyond that, the multi-disciplinary nature meant I was always open to learning more and trying new programs and ideas. I never felt I had to be ‘just a graphic designer’ or ‘just an artist’ and now I am both! Also, watching the other graduates from my year turn-up and build their businesses is ridiculously inspiring – I would not have these group of connections without my UNSW experience.
One skill you learnt at UNSW Art & Design that has been in-valuable?
The introduction to the Adobe Suite, though 100% mastered well outside the uni walls, I believe it would have been too daunting to learn these from scratch without the support of my peers and teachers.
Designing Your Future – one piece of advice for aspiring designers?
Don’t go out on your own too quickly. If you have something unique that you want to put out in the world, illustration, your own ceramics style, a gorgeous jewellery label do it on the side, whilst you learn the tricks to your trade. Working full time for someone else for the best part of a decade gave me the connections I needed to be where I am, it’s given me to confidence to talk to the media, to discuss money with clients, to budget, to direct staff. Make mistakes with someone else’s money first.