Introducing First Nations Design Studio, Coolamon Creative

We’re very excited to introduce Coolamon Creative, a 100% Indigenous-owned creative studio based in Alice Springs and Darwin, NT. They are a small business run by two sisters, proud Dagoman women Samantha Campbell and Gabrielle Fry who share a strong passion for visual storytelling. They specialise in producing gorgeous, engaging resources through graphic design, photography, graphic recording (visual scribing), 2D motion graphics and illustration. We have collaborated with them to create some gorgeous Father’s Day products featuring their deadly designs.

Through this interview get to know the Coolamon team, their ethos and important mission!

What is Coolamon Creative’s mission? 

“Coolamon Creative’s mission is to create high-quality communication resources for Australian First Nations audience, in a way that is relatable and culturally appropriate.”

A gorgeous Father’s Day collection featuring Coolamon Creatives gorgeous illustrations of Deadly Super Dads. Courtesy of Yarn, 2022.

What kinds of projects does Coolamon Creative predominantly work on? 

“We have been involved in a lot of resource development for First Nations audiences, such as animations and illustrations for resources relating to health information and education storytelling. We’ve also worked on a range of graphic design projects, and more recently, graphic recording.”

You are both passionate about visual storytelling, tell us a bit about the stories that you like to focus upon sharing.

“Visual storytelling is at the heart of what we do in Coolamon Creative. Stories can be told through a range of visual resources such as picture books, animations, illustrations, and film. Some of the storytelling we have enjoyed in particular include the everyday life experiences of Aboriginal people, such as family and kinship, and connections to country. We really enjoy sharing stories that are both relatable and empowering for Aboriginal people.”

Gabrielle Fry. Courtesy of Coolamon Creative, 2022.

Tell us about one of the favourite projects that Coolamon has worked on so far. 

“We have worked on so many amazing projects since we started Coolamon Creative, but some of the highlights include designing a set of communication cue cards for Hammond Care. The cue cards are designed as a communication tool to assist Australian First Nations people living with dementia and to maintain their links to carers and communities. The project actually went on to win an award at the Future of Aging Awards, so that was pretty special.

“Another exciting project we worked on included a branding artwork piece for Life Education NT, which was inspired by a collection of artworks submitted by the school in Beswick and represented the landscape characteristics of the Northern Territory. We also recently worked with Fujitsu in one of their recent events for National Reconciliation Week, which involved graphic recording for Dr Anita Heiss talk on Being Brave. There have been many other exciting projects that we have been working on which we can’t wait to share!”

How do your designs connect with your culture and heritage? 

“Our designs have been inspired by our childhood experiences living in various remote Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory. We are descended from the Dagoman and Wardaman people, with connections also to Gurindji and Jawoyn, which are based in and around the Katherine region, NT. Although we didn’t grow up on our home Country, our experiences living in remote communities have given us a very strong and unique connection to the NT, both Top End and Central Australia. Our designs often reflect our experiences of family, kinship, and connection to country.”

Samantha Campbell. Courtesy of Coolamon Creative, 2022.

What advice would you give young aspiring Indigenous designers/illustrators/artists?

“Practice doesn’t make perfect, so don’t aim for perfection, just be yourself and do what you love. Be brave and walk your own path.”

What are your plans/dreams for the future of Coolamon Creative?

“We have lots of dreams and plans for Coolamon Creative, one of the short-term goals include securing some office space so we can have a creative studio to work in and have face to face meetings with clients. We also hope that we can take on some more projects where we can collaborate with other Aboriginal artists and talents, which will help to empower Aboriginal storytelling and self-representation.”

Check out Coolamon Creative online through their Instagram and Website and support them through our Father’s Day collection featuring Coolamon Creatives gorgeous designs illustrating Deadly Super Dads and amazing superpowers. The perfect gift for Father’s Day!

Shop here.