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Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks


Louise Olsen is a true icon of the Australian design industry. She is co-founder of Dinosaur Designs, – a company she founded more than thirty (!) years ago with two art school friends. She’s also the daughter of legendary artist John Olsen, and a formidable artist in her own right. 

In this conversation with host Lucy Feagins, Louise talks about her creative upbringing with two painter parents, the humble beginnings of Dinosaur Designs, and the ways she’s seen the industry shift in the last few decades. It’s a conversation filled with anecdotes, wisdom and insight – and you can listen now!

17th September, 2021

Drawing at the Dinosaur Design HQ in Redfern. Photo  – Nikki To for The Design Files.

As creative director, Louise spends four days a week here overseeing new collections. Photo  – Nikki To for The Design Files.

Some of the iconic resin pieces! Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Art Direction – Annie Portelli.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 17th September 2021

Believe it or not, Louise Olsen and Stephan Ormandy started Dinosaur Designs as a means to supplement their fledgling artist practices. Newly out of art school, they needed some form of income so they could keep painting!

Selling pieces at Sydney’s Paddington Markets in the 80s turned quickly into commissions for INXS and Kylie Minogue – aka other young Australian artists making it big on the international creative stage. Fast forward a few years, and Louise and Stephen were right there among them (albeit in a different industry)! 

These days, Dinosaur Designs has grown to a global brand with stores in New York and London, alongside their Australian outlets. Louise is now its creative director, and these days splits her time between Dinosaur Designs, and her own art practice. 

Don’t miss this conversation with a true legend of the Australian design scene!

See here to learn more about Louise Olsen’s artistic work + browse the current Dinosaur Designs collections here

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.