29 April 2020

Farewell Michael Sun, our talented Voiceworks Designer!

Drag, Flare, Slug, Hum, these are just a handful of the amazing Voiceworks issues our outgoing Voiceworks Designer, Michael Sun worked on!  Even though he was in Sydney and most of the Voiceworks team was in Melbourne, Michael Sun has given tirelessly to Voiceworks team, and helped Editor Mira Schlosberg bring to life both some of Voicework’s most innovative and stylish issues to date!

As a part of our goodbye, we sat down with Michael to talk about their time with us, the evolution of Voiceworks, and what they are wanting from the future.

What was the most surprising thing about being Voiceworks’ Designer?
Relevant to the ways in which we’re all communicating/working right now — the ease with which everything flowed even though I was designing remotely from Sydney! I had definitely prepped myself for worst-case scenarios when I first started (a particular recurring dream about needing to go check something at the printing press at the last minute and being trapped a whole state away), but everything was so smooth and communicative. And being able to go to visit for some of the magazine launches was the cherry on top <3
What’s your favourite thing about working on Voiceworks?
Getting the opportunity to see so much exciting, fun, and experimental writing and art — which definitely gave me licence to apply that same level of wackiness to the magazine’s design!
What are some of the things you learnt in your time being on the Voiceworks Designer?
So many tech specs! I loved working with Printgraphics, and I learnt so much about the pre-press process/getting nerdy about things like spot colours. I wish I could’ve visited their printing press in person!

What were some of your highlights of the experience?
Being able to go wild on colour! Including too many gradients in every issue! Working with editorial master Mira on a creative vision for each issue! Before Voiceworks, I came from a background in student media where we only had budget to print in black-and-white (and had to put out a weekly edition), so just having some breathing room was a dream come true as well.
Were they are designs/ideas you had for Voiceworks that you perhaps didn’t get to try out? Or any designs you had to make compromises for to make a reality?
One thing I really wanted to try was incorporating some hand-drawn elements into the design — a doodle in the margins here and there, a scrawled underline or circle around an author’s name etc. Ultimately it didn’t gel with the overall vision (and also my illustration skills are woefully underdeveloped), but I’d love to see Voiceworks play with that kind of aesthetic shagginess.

What do you do outside of designing? (promo yourself and your work shamelessly here, we wanna celebrate you!)
Aside from design, I am a film and culture writer! This year, I’m writing a column for fellow literary publication Kill Your Darlings as their New Critic all about queer self-discovery in pop culture. I also gasbag on FBi Radio, where I co-host the Saturday Lunch show.

What has been your favourite or most memorable Voiceworks piece or piece and why?
SO SO MANY. I think the ones that stick out most are Jamie Marina Lau’s To go to L.A., from Issue #112, Drag — that was the first piece I ever laid out for Voiceworks so it has obvious sentimental value, and also made me want to go to L.A. And from Issue #113, Flare, urbigfrog’s mixed-media felt sculpture (!!) cover, which I had the privilege of seeing in the flesh at the launch for that issue. 

What is something you want to see more from Voiceworks in the future?
Even more online work! Working on the new Voiceworks website, and seeing how quickly it’s become a pioneer in experimental forms — games, code poetry, interactive nonfiction — has been so exciting. I can’t wait to see where it goes next :”)
We wish you all the best Michael, in what comes next for you, and we thank you for giving so much to the young writers, artists and editors of Australia!
Applications for the role of Voiceworks Designer are currently open, please see this page for further information. Applications close 9am on Monday 11 May 2020