Meet Sebastian Tan Castillo, one of our well rounded designers
Pushing the boundaries through his innovative work, Sebastian Tan Castillo is one of our hands-on strategic designers. Based in Meanjin (Brisbane), Seb delves into design research and visual communication as he works on human-centred solutions that incorporate both sustainability and practicality.
Predating his career, Seb has always shown interest in creating. Moving from Colombia to Brisbane with his family at three years old, he describes a preoccupation with all things “fun.” Often found drawing, making and playing, Seb was never happier than when active and interested.
After heading to university to study engineering in 2016, Seb recognised that he wanted to pursue a career with more creative freedom. So, after a year, he switched universities and degrees to undertake a Bachelor of Design with a major in Industrial Design at The Queensland University of Technology. A turning point in his tertiary education, Seb loved the freedom of imagination that his assignments allowed, particularly during his last year as he worked on a year-long project in fashion sustainability. Casting a wide research net, Seb dove into an analysis of the problems found within the fashion industry. He applied both fashion and industrial lenses to develop a final design that redefined and rescoped how we talk, use and present what we wear.
He began working on projects for The Growth Drivers during his fourth year of study, balancing university assessment with design work. Starting work back when the company was still known as Asymmetric Innovation, he recounts his first experiences as a professional designer to be incredibly fascinating and full of learning curves. He was particularly grateful for the warm welcome he received from his co-workers as he navigated projects in the workspace. Seb recalls one of his favourite projects at TGD as one of his first; the Africa Conservation Framework for WWF. Conducting background research for the team, he was immersed in big-picture industry findings. Citing a realisation of both the real-world impact his work could have, as well as his growing interest in industry research, Seb was professionally contented to have found space for both his creative and sustainable values.
After seven months of designing with The Growth Drivers, Seb left Australia to follow a university-connected opportunity in Munich. As one of the primary reasons he wanted to study design in the first place, Seb was thrilled to be travelling for work. Throughout his time as an Industrial Designer with the BMW Group, he faced many challenges working in new environments and traveling across the world during the pandemic. However, upon reflection on his work in Germany, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity as it not only taught him about the industry, it also provided excellent life experiences. From understanding corporate structures to learning more about technology and robotics design, as well as navigating Australian and German travel and visa policies mid-pandemic, it was a very hands-on venture. Upon his return to Meanjin half a year later, he resumed work with The Growth Drivers with these industry learnings under his belt.
As a creative who values the fun aspects of design work, Seb loves the diversity of industry focus at The Growth Drivers. A vast range of project possibilities allows him to research, collate and produce solution-based designs while always learning and growing his skillset. Seb expresses his journey in becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable as he is consistently given a wide variety of projects to work on. In particular, he is passionate about centring solutions that are both sustainable and practical, allowing for just, achievable transitions.
Alongside his love for the design work itself, Seb dubs the collaborative team culture at The Growth Drivers as a major contributor to his project successes so far. He loves that he can pick up on the niche skills, work ethics and industry insights from his co-workers every day. Finding professional motivation in the shared sustainable ethos at TGD, Seb loves that he can contribute to a better world through impactful design work.
In his downtime, Seb enjoys undertaking artistic projects, essentially anything that involves creating and getting outdoors and into nature.
With his human-centred, innovative approach to ideas, Seb continues to break new ground within sustainable design spaces. He looks forward to future design projects as he continues to research, uncover and collaborate on forward-thinking solutions with The Growth Drivers.