The first thing you notice about the work by Studio Beuro, a new venture from Melbourne-based designer James Kirkup, is the beautifully clean, pared-down aesthetic, most often seen gracing posters and album covers with colorful, typographically minimal solutions. But the studio was born not from a love of design, but rather Kirkup’s gradual frustration with the design industry. “After eight years of working for and with other people, my enthusiasm for doing what I thought I’d never get sick of disappeared,” he says, going on to explain how a career spent moving from design job to design job without ever settling had finally taken its toll. “The only thing that pulled me through was working on projects outside of work hours, like I always had,” he adds. “The more I worked on these projects, the more I realized I had to do this full time.”

From the start, the studio held firm to its clearly defined ideas about what it will and will not work on. “We know who we want to collaborate with,” Kirkup says. “We know the level of work we want to put out.” Studio Beuro’s work has clearly been informed by Kirkup’s time spent in-house at luxury fashion brands, and some of this visual language can still be seen in the studio’s portfolio, lending the output a level of polish. This adds a particularly interesting flavor to their work for musicians, whether it’s artwork for independent labels like Double Denim and Moshi Moshi, or tour visuals for Ghostpoet. “Being a music lover first helps,” Kirkup says. “It’s pretty key to why we love to work with music clients. It’s not what we base everything around–we like to have a range of projects to work on–but we never tend to turn down music work.”

While the studio seems to have found its niche, Kirkup admits that working their way into the music industry has been “a long journey,” from the early days spent creating posters for his favorite bands to being approached by labels for actual work. “The move from doing music-based work under my own name to a studio name has been, and continues to be, one of our biggest challenges,” he says. “Deciding what previous music work we want to show off in our portfolio so as to attract the work we want to be doing is a hard decision. Getting approached to do the next Bieber sleeve isn’t really on our list.”


But it’s not just about making records look great. Last year the studio took on a self-initiated project to create a new music festival discovery app, Headline. Kirkup believes that design can play a pivotal role in how people experience music. “There’s a vast area of missing tools to aid people’s music addictions, whether it be in listening, discovering, creating, buying, or seeing–people just need to get creating more often, and the big labels need to realize this is where they should be going.”

Despite their ambitious plans for the future, Studio Beuro is keeping its philosophy simple: “Make great stuff.”