What do United Nations, Sami Yusuf and Etihad Airways all have in common? They all turned to Peter Gould for his artistic and branding genius.
Operating in his native Australia, award-winning Designer and Digital Artist Peter Gould has reached a global audience of tens of millions with his creative work. From food to fashion to faith, Gould and his talented studio team have worked with an impressive and diverse spectrum of clients.
Everyone from small Muslim businesses like Noor Vitamins, to household brand names like Colgate Palmolive, to the Saudi Arabian Royal family and the Australian Government has wanted a piece of Gould.
But, despite the diversity of clients, there’s a common theme that runs through nearly all his fresh, eye-catching designs: they’ve got some Muslim flair.
“I became Muslim about 12 years ago,” Gould shares, “and that’s while I was doing graphic design. After becoming Muslim and exploring parts of the Middle East and starting to study Islam and Arabic, I began fusing my creative work and artistic work with spiritual influence. A lot of the work that I do today has some kind of influence from the Islamic faith.”
His inspirational travels to classical cities such as Mecca, Istanbul, Fes, Damascus and more years ago involved deep retrospection and gave birth to his signature style that blends modern Western and traditional Islamic elements.
Exploring Muslim countries across the globe “was just for my own spiritual and artistic journey” Gould says. “Traveling to places like Syria, Turkey or Morocco, I was just kind of absorbing the atmosphere…and really appreciating the artistic and cultural heritage of these places. It was just incredible.”
The stunning, unique artistry of the various Muslim countries Gould explored caught his attention. “I love the diversity between them all,” he continues. “The Islamic creative tradition in Morocco was different from that of Malaysia, Indonesia was different from that of Turkey. They all had a distinct cultural, artistic expression but all draw from the same Islamic source.”
This sense of unity made Gould reflect over his place in the historic, grand and marvelous world of Islamic art. “I started thinking about, well what does that mean to me as a westerner, graphic designer, convert? What does that mean to my identity and my creative tradition and cultural forms of expression?”
Gould believed his professional work as a modern designer and creative entrepreneur had a place. His unique artistry could be harmoniously combined with traditional Islamic artistry to celebrate his multifarious roots.
The world agreed.
In addition to reaching tens of millions, Gould currently has a growing 222K outreach on his social media pages for his phenomenal and distinctive designing work. He has been recognized as an Islamic Art Finalist at the Global Islamic Economy Awards in Dubai in 2013 and 2014.
He has also been the winner of the Australian National Multicultural Marketing Award presented by the NSW Government Community Relations Commission in 2012 and 2013. Not to mention, BBC has hailed him as “the ‘go-to’ designer for many leading Islamic companies.”
Despite significant success, Gould states that his extensive travels and networking experiences have taught him humbleness as a person and professional.
“Being able to explore classical and traditional Islamic cities was incredibly overwhelming spiritually and artistically. It heavily influenced my artistic appreciation. I realized that even though I’ve been a graphic designer and have been running my own studio, I was just absolutely nothing and that even continues today. The more I get exposed to artistic and creative leaders, the more I realize I am nothing in comparison.”
Included in Peter’s branding, marketing and creative portfolio are prominent organizations and people. These include Hadith of the Day, an Islamic educational resource with over 10 million followers; Zaytuna College, America’s first Muslim liberal arts college; Yasmin Mogahed, world-renowned inspirational author and motivational speaker, and much, much more.
He also recently co-founded Creative Ummah, described on his site as “a hub for Muslims around the world to connect and share knowledge and ideas, showcase their work and participate in global challenges together.” This digital media startup was successfully crowdfunded on LaunchGood at $26,841 last year, notably exceeding the $20,000 goal.
“I definitely can’t sit still in terms of always having ideas and really trying hard to make the best one happen,” Gould says. “I’m fortunate that I have a good team around me [in my studio] for over the last decade or so, they’re great. That’s really what enables me to want to do great projects.”
With a sea of projects always on deck, Gould says the most difficult part is “trying to stay focused…balancing family and many demands is the greatest challenge rather than the work itself, which I love a little too much probably.”
How does he cope? Keenly managing his time, including switching off after around 6 pm on weekdays and taking off on weekends, regularly reviewing his goals and intentions, and being in a state of thankfulness.
“I’m usually up before sunset. After Fajr [dawn prayer] I have certain dhikr [remembrance of God] and spiritual practices that I do…and I write a daily gratitude journal as well, a quick 5-minute journal about things I’m grateful for,” he shares citing that it sparks motivation for the day.
The most rewarding part about being an artist Gould says is “the privilege of being able to have ideas and bring them to wide audiences. Alhamduililah [all praise belongs to God], I’ve had many people write and explain that a certain piece or idea of mine inspired them or influenced them to start their own design studio and I love that. I love knowing that my work is having some beneficial effect out there.”
What can viewers expect to see next? “As a strategic branding firm, I want to continue working with more visionary organizations that are looking to partner up and do really powerful, meaningful work and use branding,” Gould affirms. “I also want to do more branding workshops and work with young Muslim entrepreneurs that have ideas but don’t know how to turn it into a global brand.”