sense studios – retrospective

Sense Studios animation Sequence 2 from Anthony Rawlins on Vimeo.


The home office.
Humble beginnings.

I still have mixed feelings about sense studios.

I developed the concept and logo whilst at Griffith University (Queensland College of Art) in 1995. I pursued it continuously as a career aim. It took until 2008 for circumstances to present themselves for my goal of being self-employed to come to fruition.

Bazaar Street Premises
My first office on Bazaar Street.

It was never particularly financially successful but I rapidly developed a loyal customer base and achieved a modicum of success. In 2009 gained a client on a continuous retainer and moved to bigger premises. The week I moved in, that client shut down their 50 year long business and left me locked in a lease. Undaunted I continued to develop the business and landed a rebranding job for a large company along with several smaller clients with repeat business.

My 2nd offices.
My office before the burglary.

It was in late 2010 when my building was infiltrated by a group and all businesses on my level were broken into, including mine. They took computers, hard drives and damaged storage units. When the police showed me the damage I thought I’d escaped lightly. It wasn’t until I noticed they’d taken the businesses only server and its backup that I realised the full weight of my loss. The computer itself was relatively inconsequential but the data on it, and its associated backup, represented every piece of work I had done since Uni.

I was devastated.

I had lost my entire portfolio*, clients work, personal work, photos, source code, concepts, and scans of drawings, business data, tax records and databases. This spelled the end of sense studios.

This incident and several unpleasant prior associations left me disillusioned with the design industry and wanting a change.

It led me to re-evaluate my career aspirations. I even considered changing industries entirely and taking on an electrical apprenticeship. However, I settled on pursuing an aspect I had always enjoyed and decided to develop my skills in computer programming. I’d been scripting with javascript and PHP for years but had never learned a compiled language beyond some rudimentary Java.

I enrolled in university again through Open Universities Australia (OUA) to retrain as a computer programmer and get my degree in Information Technology (Computing Studies). The short term sacrifice of full time study with reduced income should see me able to pursue a more lucrative and fulfilling role when I complete the course.

I’m loving the course and have completed all the units for my major and three quarters of my minor. I’ve now got just the electives to go.

* Thanks to some generous clients and some creative data recovery I’v managed to cobble together some pieces I thought I’d lost. The recovered files are available on Pinterest.