Favourite Things: Sunday Best Design Studio's Georgia Yates & Logan Smith

By Sarah Downs
Georgia, Logan and baby Henry. Photo / Babiche Martens

If you've ever feasted your eyes on a menu at Amano you'll be familiar with the work of Georgia Yates and Logan Smith, the combined creative powers of design studio Sunday Best.

Previously based in Wellington, the couple are each responsible for some of the capital's top branding and design work and are now fast establishing themselves in Auckland's local scene.

Logan may be known to some as "Smiddy" from his previous design business Smiddy Studio. His signature hand-drawn designs made him a favourite for Wellington retail store Good as Gold, restaurants Five Boroughs and Five & Dime, Seconds Magazine, and more.

You can also spot his talents on Wellington streetwear label Shark Week, the popular skate-inspired brand started with close friend Tom Wright. Their funky, cartoonish designs even count Grammy-nominated artist Anderson .Paak as a fan after he wore one of their T-shirts to perform to a sold out crowd in New York. Logan had drawn that one in Omokoroa, out of Tauranga. "That was a cool life moment," he says. "The highlight has definitely been seeing my graphics all around town and even overseas."

Logan is also a co-founder of hemp-based clothing label Buddy, created to offer a more sustainable T-shirt alternative than most cotton options "but without the over-the-top weed leaf affiliated positioning that hemp brands often have", he says.

Georgia and Logan moved to Auckland to start their own company in 2017, and first worked out of advertising agency Motion Sickness Studio on Cross St, Newton. New to the city, they were instantly drawn to the creative character of the Karangahape Rd area. "We set up in the backroom connected to the Motion Sickness photo studio," Georgia says. "They're always working on interesting projects, so it's been an inspiring space to be in."

The name, Sunday Best, is a nod to a bottle of hot sauce labelled with "Sunday is best" that Georgia saw in a Tokyo restaurant. The pair describe their design style as personal and a lot more illustration based.

"Our individual styles are actually quite different, but we meet somewhere in the middle to create the style of our work," says Georgia. "We try to understand the right solutions for each project rather than just applying a certain style to it."

A recent highlight took the couple back to Wellington for a project with Italian restaurant 1154 on Cuba St and saw them named as a Best Design Awards finalist their third nomination in two years. "It was already such a beautiful, character-filled space," says Georgia, of the restaurant. "We designed a few tile and mosaic pieces, something we'd never done, but have always wanted to do."

As well as working in the hospitality scene, they have also dabbled in design for fashion including for Auckland vintage store Waves, where the branding was based on 70s record labels, and Holiday Records, the owners of which are both friends.

Indeed, one of Georgia and Logan's favourite parts of the job is helping bring friends' brands to life. "They're all on the same page as us and doing really cool things," says Georgia. "It's been exciting to see their brands evolve, especially when we see everybody out and about wearing or using what we designed for them."

The couple now work from home since welcoming their first child, Henry, in June last year.


Coffee table. Photo / Babiche Martens
Coffee table. Photo / Babiche Martens

1. Coffee Table
After going to the Mt Albert food markets we ended up in the vintage store next door where we found this table. It's been customised by the previous owner who took off the wooden top and put checkered tiles on it. My friend told me people used to do this for fondue, making it easy to wipe cheese and chocolate off. We don't use ours for fondue, but we love it.

Wooden truck. Photo / Babiche Martens
Wooden truck. Photo / Babiche Martens

2. Wooden Truck
On the drive through Tairua there's this man in his 70s selling these wooden trucks. They're all handmade and his wife sits next to him in charge of the Eftpos machine. You can tell a lot of love and care has been put into each truck. We finally bought one for Henry's room, I think he'll like it one day too.

(From left to right) Ed Bat's painting; Wooden statues. Photos / Babiche Martens
(From left to right) Ed Bat's painting; Wooden statues. Photos / Babiche Martens

3. Ed Bats Painting
We're lucky to have a few paintings from our friend and artist Ed Bats. We got one of them from a Parlour Projects exhibition. It hangs in our lounge, it's a big beautiful blue painting. We have other smaller, A3 ones that hang in Henry's room. We love them.

4. Wooden Statues
We found these at an exhibition at design store Precinct 35 in Wellington, Made by Melbourne-based Kiwi artist Mark Alsweiler, they are whimsical statue characters that always make you feel good when you look at them. Prak [Sritharan] who owns Precinct is a good friend of ours and often hosts exhibitions in the back of his shop, which we always try to attend.

Set of drawers. Photo / Babiche Martens
Set of drawers. Photo / Babiche Martens

5. Set of drawers
I found these wooden drawers on Trade Me from this guy out in Panmure. In his 80s, he does up furniture in his garage and was still sanding and glossing it when I arrived. It was a lucky find.

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