In Conversation with Ken Cato

In 1970 Ken Cato established Cato Brand Partners in Melbourne, Australia. With Ken still at the helm and offices in 16 international locations Cato has worked in over 110 countries.

Ken’s work has afforded him immense global acclaim and as such he and his team have been recognised with many international awards too numerous to list.

Other notable honours include being recognised as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013 for distinguished service to the graphic design profession, as well as being bestowed Hall of Fame status with ICOGRADA, The Premiers Design Awards, AGDA and The Design Institute of Australia. Ken also received honorary doctorates from Swinburne University and The University of the Sunshine Coast whilst becoming an Honorary Fellow of Monash University. Ken holds professor status at De Tao University and adjunct professor at The University of the Sunshine Coast.

Ken’s passion for design extends beyond that of Cato Brand Partners; in 1991 he established the worlds largest student design conference. Originating in Melbourne it now has substantial presence in China.

A regular speaker at both design and business conferences, Ken has presented in over 30 countries and is an acclaimed author of over 20 books about design and business.

Who or what inspires you?

Anyone that has talent and passion in any field of endeavour.

How did you get your first big break?

My secondary school principal informed me that there was such a thing as an art school and suggested I should investigate whether this would interest me.

Tell us what you are currently working on?

As always a multitude of short and long term projects in different corners of the world.
Ensuring the future of what was the agIdeas conference (now ideasondesign IOD) lives on. I have just signed a 3 years contract for the programme which is now based in China.

Any top tips for an aspiring Graphic Designer in 2018 and beyond?

  • Don’t expect people to think you’re a genius without proving it to yourself. Self doubt is healthy.
  • It’s a small world and there is talent everywhere. Get amongst it and learn.
  • Work hard and be good to your mother.

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