02 March 2023

Design speaking to the heart of the community

Last week, arguably Australia’s most famous landmark was lit up to celebrate WorldPride 2023. UniSA Alumna Marie Schultz was part of the team responsible for creating a magnificent rainbow of colour beamed around the globe.

UniSA Video

The sails of the Sydney Opera House adorned with the rainbow stripes of the Progress Pride flag. Videographer: Vincent Rommelaere.

Marie Schultz

Founder Great + Small
Bachelor of Visual Communications (Graphic Design)

Since its inception in 1978, the now iconic Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras this year joins forces with WorldPride 2023, to become an even bigger and more glamorous program of more than 300 events. One of the highlights is the illumination of the sails of the Sydney Opera House with all the colours of the rainbow.

Marie Schulz counts herself lucky to have been engaged in several design projects with Sydney WorldPride 2023. “The concept of lighting the iconic Sydney Opera House had been a hope for the festival team for some time,” she says. “When we got the green light to do it, we felt it was important it was designed by a LGBTQIA+ person, so I jumped at the opportunity to create something that would speak to the heart of the community.”

Marie Schultz
After more than a decade in London, Marie has
returned to Australia to establish her own business in Sydney.

So how do you approach a project that is to be delivered on such a grand scale?

“I always try to set out why I'm doing something before I do it, which is a good discipline to have – you need to have the right question before designing an answer.

“For me, the Sydney Opera House projection was about creating a beacon for the LGBTQIA+ community; my hope was to create a symbol of love. I wanted to create a design that brought together two icons: the rainbow stripes of the Progress Pride flag and the sails of the Sydney Opera House.”

And how does it feel to have one of your designs displayed on such an iconic landmark as the Sydney Opera House?

“As a gay woman, it was an honour to create this for the community. By seeing the rainbow proudly striped across the most famous landmark in the country, I wanted all people in the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond to feel seen and loved.”

Marie's design career began when she completed a Bachelor of Visual Communications (Graphic Design) at the University of South Australia in 2007 and left for the United Kingdom, where Marie was Design Director and Art Director at big fish in London for nearly 10 years.

Returning to Sydney in 2021, Marie pursued a long-held dream of studying photography and in 2023 set up Great + Small Studio, an independent brand, design and photographic studio. Her specialty is working with food, drink and cultural brands, bringing them to life with vibrant design and images.

“I felt lucky to study at UniSA when I did,” says Marie. “I had some wonderful tutors who were inspirational and taught us with a Bauhaus school of thinking. Design constantly changes, but I feel anchored by that training; of learning to see, learning to make, and learning to understand people.”


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