Some talented people make their mark with little effort. Others rely on hard work to make up for lack of talent. Then there are those who are talented and work hard. And they lap the field wherever they apply their skills. People like Peter Majarich. He bleeds, "-est." Peter ranks among the hardest working, toughest, broadest, friendliest, craziest, most ambitious designers cranking away in the trenches these days.
His prolific body of work is featured in a wide swath of media like Vice, Fast Company, The Independent, Mashable, Mental Floss, Bored Panda, and The Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, AKA, The Oscars.
Peter is the founder of Craft and Graft, a design and branding studio in Sydney, Australia. His famous project, "A Movie Poster a Day" featured a unique movie poster designed and completed from scratch every day for a year. I sat down with Peter to jaw about design and all things, "-est." Including the roughest town to grab a beer in Australia.
T: Your life story in one sentence?
PM: Eternally struggling with left brain versus right brain.
T: Give us the backstory on, “A Movie Poster a Day?”
PM: A Movie Poster A Day was a classic example of a side project becoming the main gig. By definition, AMPAD took up almost all of 2016. And then — thanks to the flow on effect from the media you mentioned — led to a whole bunch of projects in 2017. It started off as a throwaway idea whilst bored and hungover on January 1st, 2016. After the first few weeks it snowballed into something big. As CP+B alumni, you and I both know the value in projects that have talk value inherently "baked in". Whether intentional or not, AMPAD had two ingredients that a lot of people responded to — movies and design. The venn diagram that includes those two fan bases is a big one. And I was fortunate that a lot of filmmakers and film fans connected with the project. I think Mashable was the first big publication to write about it, and digital media being what it is — everything just flowed from there. It's kinda funny and paradoxical, things become newsworthy because other news organizations are writing about them.
T: Tell us about Craft and Graft? Where are you taking the studio?
PM: Craft and Graft is a wrapper for any and all design-related things I do. I am inspired by guys like Build, Christopher Doyle and Accept and Proceed. Continually just trying to get within a thousand yards of the kind of work those studios produce.
T: What are you currently hot on and how is it influencing your work?
PM: Andrew Archer's EDO-BALL illustrations are gobsmackingly stunning. It's a hugely niche project — museum-quality prints inspired by a cross-section of basketball and ancient Japanese art. The textures, the line work, the ideas that bleed through. All of it makes me just shake my head and sigh in amazement.
These imaginings from Andre Lacatusu of a future where social media sites are long gone are incredible:
And sometimes I think good design is just good curation. Check out this compilation of fictional products created by Wile E Coyote in the Warner Brothers universe:
T: Who is the best designer to ever walk the Earth?
PM: For me, it's Brock Davis. His 'Make Something Cool Everyday' project blows my mind and was a big inspiration for my own. He manages to inject something interesting, surprising, or unexpected into every piece he churns out. And then he executes it beautifully and simply. That's the best definition of design as far as I'm concerned. That being said, I'm sure there was some amazingly talented caveman (or woman) designer who walked the Earth long before there was Instagram and Squarespace and all those other ways to share your work that we don't even know about.
T: The wildest thing people need to see?
PM: The work of Mikolaj Kula.
T: The ballsiest art?
PM: Anyone doing stand-up is pretty ballsy, I think.
T: The scariest place in Australia?
PM: Hartley's Crocodile Farm. Hot take: Australian crocodiles beat American alligators for scariness any day of the week.
T: What’s on the Craft and Graft Spotify playlist?
PM: Right now, anything by Max Richter. His work covers all the gamuts.
T: Tell us one thing you’ve never told anyone else, ever?
PM: As a kid it was my life goal to dunk from the free-throw line. Thus far the goal has gone unachieved.
T: What books are on your nightstand?
PM: Sum by David Eagleman — 40 philosophical short stories by a neuroscientist on the topic of life and death.
The Big Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons — the authoritative and entertaining account of modern basketball by one of the best pop culture writers out there.
The Secret Pulse of Time by Stefan Klein — an investigation into the daily currency of our very existence. Fascinating look at something that pervades all of our lives but is still very poorly understood.
Neuromancer by William Gibson — a beautiful, cloth-bound edition of the cyberpunk classic.
And, Story by Robert McKee — which I've been trying to finish for about a decade.
T: You have a lot of test films on Vimeo. Tell us about what they’re all about.
PM: I plan to make a short film in 2018. Crowd-fund it possibly. It's my new obsession. Over the last few years, I've dived deep into the art of cinematography, trying to learn as much as I can about filmmaking. The test shots are my attempts at capturing visuals that are cinematic — well composed, and having the same texture of the visuals I see in films I like. Faking it, til I make it, basically.
T: What's the one line you hope they write in your bio in the Cooper Hewitt permanent collection?
PM: This guy sure designed a lot of movie posters.
T: Roughest town to grab a beer in Australia?
PM: It's literally my hometown (Cambelltown, New South Wales). Not really, but also kinda true. The suburb I grew up in gets a bad rap from the media but I'm hugely grateful for the opportunities it's afforded me.