Melbourne is arguably harbouring the cream of emerging Australian design talent at the moment….or at least it seems that way. Everyone we meet has a friend, or friend of a friend, that is exhibiting a collaborative piece with one design consortium or another in one of the many galleries around the city centre.

The Nicholas Building in Swanston Street is home to a number of these wonderful collectives, including Hammer & Tong. We have known one part of this brains trust for some time. Perth raised Mark Paterson has more than likely introduced himself to you in a bar over the years, quiet possibly even bought you a round or two. He is the essence of ‘all round top bloke’. A guy that will spring up out of nowhere, talk to you for a minute or two and (aside from making you wet yourself with laughter) have you feeling like you had hung out with him for your whole life. Add that to the fact that he has one of the sharpest eyes you ever have seen, and you have yourself a good grounding for a design practice.

Oh, we forgot to mention that after some time studying design at RMIT, he also had a little ‘extra’ training too…. at the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States. Tough gig.

r-n-d had a little word to the design duo, but was still unable to deduce exactly who was the hammer and who was the tong. Just part of being funny buggers one expects.

r-n-d: who is Hammer and Tong?
h&t: who? what? oh them, yeah! um. a design duo?

r-n-d: what do you strive for in your work? do you have a philosophy?
h&t: strive, that sounds dramatic. philosophy...well, mmm. to communicate visually via, instinct, experience and humour, rather than some intellectual ideal. bruno monguzzi said it best "the visual environment seems too noisy and I just want to contribute a little silence." no rabbits, no hats.

r-n-d: what kind of work do you look for?
h&t: just something to apply our instinct, experience and humor to.

r-n-d: who would you say your influences are?
h&t: well this week: 20 years of typo-graphics from the tokyo type directors club—exhibition, omar s, dot dot dot magazine, and this

r-n-d: do you ever have difficulty balancing commercial interests and artistic aesthetics, or is that not a problem for you?
h&t: are you kidding. being raised in the circus we could both tightrope walk whilst juggling by the ages of five and seven respectively. yet, we still both struggle to jump through hoops.

So you’re a little confused? Well if they spent all their time writing responses to our questions they wouldn’t be getting any work done. Believe us, the work speaks for itself. Hit them up at