Les Mason: Solo at the NGV Design Gallery, Melbourne

The Les Mason Solo Exhibition opened on Thursday evening, November 5, 2015 at the NGV Design Gallery at Federation Square in Melbourne. It was opened Tony Ellwood, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria and  by AGI member Garry Emery. Also in attendance were AGI members, David Pidgeon, Andrew Ashton and David Lancashire together with a large representative of the design and architectural industry. The exhibition features over 200 graphic design works of Les Mason spanning 30 years of practice in Melbourne and in Perth. It is the first exhibition in the inaugural gallery designated for the practice of design and will run until February 21, 2016.

Les Mason is considered the father of graphic design in Melbourne and was instrumental in establishing graphic design as an integral practice in its own right.



To mark the opening the new NGV Design Studio at NGV Australia, this retrospective exhibition on the design process and projects of seminal graphic designer Les Mason celebrates the formative contribution of Mason as both a practitioner and provocateur who indelibly influenced the emergence of Melbourne’s graphic design culture.

Born in California, Mason studied painting and interior design at the Chouinard Art Institute in California before moving to Melbourne in 1961. At the time there was no such thing as graphic design in Melbourne. Printing companies and advertising agencies made all of the decisions about how packaging, advertising and branding looked. Mason pioneered a new approach where design sat at the heart of the process.


After opening his own studio in South Melbourne, Mason began to produce finely detailed, commercially adept, and hugely creative designs that proved instrumental is defining the role of graphic design as a profession that could offer design thinking that generated more successful products and better brands.

Mason was instrumental in establishing the discipline of graphic design and critical in catalysing studio based design practice. He was a prolific designer and critical thinker, with a lasting legacy.

A member of Alliance Graphique Internationale, (AGI) Mason had a reputation for graphic design excellence with a prolific career spanning over 30 years.

Mason won multiple national and international awards and was widely acclaimed for his work as art director of 77 issues of Epicurean over a 13 years period, where he established the title as the most prestigious food and wine magazine in Australia.

Drawing on a rich archive, much of Mason’s work has been reproduced for this exhibition spanning a diverse array of projects across packaging, corporate identity, advertising, architectural graphics, and magazine.


NGV Australia
Ground Level, NGV Design Studio
6 Nov 15 – 21 Feb 16


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