To mark the opening the new NGV Design Studio at NGV Australia, this retrospective exhibition on the design process and projects of seminal graphic designer Les Mason celebrates the formative contribution of Mason as both a practitioner and provocateur who indelibly influenced the emergence of Melbourne’s graphic design culture.
Born in California, Mason studied painting and interior design at the Chouinard Art Institute in California before moving to Melbourne in 1961. At the time printing companies and advertising agencies made all of the decisions about how packaging, advertising and branding looked. Mason pioneered a new approach where design sat at the heart of the process.
After opening his own studio in South Melbourne, Mason began to produce finely detailed, commercially adept, and hugely creative designs that proved instrumental is defining the role of graphic design as a profession that could offer design thinking that generated more successful products and better brands.
Mason was instrumental in establishing the discipline of graphic design and critical in catalysing studio based design practice. He was a prolific designer and critical thinker, with a lasting legacy.
A member of Alliance Graphique Internationale, (AGI) Mason had a reputation for graphic design excellence with a prolific career spanning over 30 years.
Mason won multiple national and international awards and was widely acclaimed for his work as art director of 77 issues of Epicurean over a 13 years period, where he established the title as the most prestigious food and wine magazine in Australia.
Drawing on a rich archive, much of Mason’s work has been reproduced for this exhibition spanning a diverse array of projects across packaging, corporate identity, advertising, architectural graphics, and magazine.
About the NGV design studio
As part of an ongoing commitment to design, the NGV opens a new dedicated space, presenting a diverse program of design and architecture-related content curated by the new Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture.
The NGV Design Studio is a flexible space to explore and represent key ideas and issues in design and architecture and in doing so enhance the appreciation for contemporary design.
Content ranges from retrospective exhibitions on seminal practitioners, to reactive projects, installations and thematic exhibitions exploring contemporary issues.
Ground Level, NGV Design Studio