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Behind the designs | Kiel Tillman

Posted on February 23 2017

Burleigh-based designer Kiel Tillman is the creative mind behind two of the flagship designs from LKI's Autumn 2017 range – Nature of the Beast and Forever Gettin’ Loose. We caught up with him to find out what influenced the designs and the process he goes through when a company throws him a design brief.


Kiel, good to chat, man. Tell us a bit about the two designs you created for the Autumn 2017 LKI range.
For the Forever Gettin’ Loose design, the LKI team gave me a brief that included using the shaka hand-sign and an 80s font. We went through a couple of iterations, where I had a couple of snapped bones sticking out at the bottom of the hand, but it didn’t really suit what they were after. I then gave it an 80s feel with the halftone triangle. The font was all hand-drawn; I wanted to create an old-school brush effect with it.

Nature of the Beast probably went through the most variations early on as there’re so many ways to draw a lion. I settled on three different versions – a really detailed fine line version, a simple, cartoony design and a real rough design, which is what the LKI team went with. I was stoked with that ,as it was my favourite as well.

I found out the other day they also used that design on some boxer shorts for the same Autumn range, which was pretty awesome.

What sort of process do you go through when you’re doing designs like these?
It depends, really. Sometimes you can nail it in one go, then other times it can take three or four attempts to perfect. Usually, when you have a good brief it makes life a lot easier. The worst brief is when a company says “do whatever you want” because what you end up with is never what the client wants!

The Beast design came together quite easily – we just fiddled around with a couple of different logo positions, and that was it.

For the Forever Gettin’ Loose there were a few more iterations with the design, positioning and fonts.

Can we expect to see more rad work from you in future LKI ranges?
Yeah I think we’re going to put together something new for an upcoming range, which I’m excited about. We’re bouncing emails back and forth at the moment and I’d say I’ll receive a creative brief from them in a couple of weeks.


Sweet, sounds good! What do you do for a crust day-to-day?
Probably 75% of my work is freelance creative such as logo design, graphic design, tees, murals and exhibition art. Then I still work a couple days a week for a boutique signage company that I’ve been with for seven years. Last year I had a desire to step out and do my own thing, but I still keep involved with the company as a creative consultant.

What inspires you when you’re trying to come up with a new design?
It can come from anywhere. For my personal work I relate back to music a lot, but client work is all steered from the creative brief. As soon as I hear or read about a new job the ideas start firing around in my head. I get instant ideas and they’re usually the ones that stick too. Sometimes I think “that was too easy” and I’ll try another concept, but they don’t usually hit the mark as well as the first round of inspiration that hits me.

Haha nice one, mate. Thanks for the chat and we look forward to seeing some more of your work in the near future.

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