Traditionally, if you were the son of a builder or baker (or candlestick maker) then you were expected to follow in your father’s footsteps, and get into the family business. Not so much if your dad’s a graphic designer, because they haven’t been around long, but that’s exactly what Matt Graham ended up doing.
“It’s not quite that inspiring,” says Matt. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do at school, so I just kept going. By the time I finished, I didn’t want to be a tradie, so I signed up for a design course. The fact my dad was one didn’t really factor into it.”
Formally trained at the Design Centre in Enmore, Matt grew up surfing on the northern beaches of Sydney, so when the time came to use his newly acquired qualification, he scored a job at Tracks, the legendary surf magazine, rather than going into advertising, like the rest of his classmates. It was the dream role, or so he thought.
I thought I knew the world really well when I was a surfer, but there’s just so much more out there.
“It was a bit of a curse actually,” he says. “Only because I’d be sitting in the office all the time, looking at photos of people on my dream surf trip, surfing my dream wave. The editors would get to go away all the time, but as the art director, you typically have to stay back and make the magazine.”
It’s a hoodoo that continues to haunt Matt, because while he’s no longer forced to stare at photos of perfect surf all day, being the art director for TripADeal does mean scrolling through countless images of amazing holiday destinations.
“It’s ok,” says Matt. “What’s different about this job is that it’s taught me a lot. I thought I knew the world really well when I was a surfer, but there’s just so much more out there.”