Our Auckland event, Thursday March 23rd, takes the form of a panel discussion about relevant issues in graphic design today, and features a selection of design professionals with Grant Alexander as adjudicator.
The panel are: Tana Mitchell and Emma Kaniuk from Akin, Jef Wong and Noel Blackwell from Designworks and Johnson Witehira from AUT University.
Questions the panel and the community will be discussing include:
Refreshments thanks to Sunshine Brewery.
I have spent the last forty years wrestling clients and pushing type and pictures around while the design profession goes from high fashion, into the wilderness, and then back into fashion again.
Grant asks: Why do we do this thing when so many successful businesses employ poor design?
Tana Mitchell is one half of strategic design studio AKIN. Her 20-or-so years experience across the cultural, commercial and corporate sectors is the foundation for a diverse design practice that focuses on the generation of strategic ideas expressed with intelligent, well-crafted solutions.
Regardless of size (& often budget) Tana has that unwavering commitment for the big idea right through to a hawk-like focus on the minutiae of applied design.
Tana has created, developed and campaigned for many well-known New Zealand brands, products and events including: Britomart, Monteith’s, Semi-Permanent, Air New Zealand, Comvita and Methven. Tana has also worked in London, Berlin and New York, where she has developed work for Hersheys, Citibank and Quirky. Her work has received many DINZ Best Awards including the Stringer Prize (Purple Pin) and has also been recognised internationally by the D&AD, Designweek, Wallpaper Magazine.
Emma Kaniuk is the other half of strategic design studio AKIN. Emma’s interdisciplinary approach is based around the simple principle of “great ideas, crafted well”. Previously at Special Group and Designworks, the last 10 years has seen her working across industries as diverse as arts, aviation, education, finance, FMCG, governmental initiatives, hospitality and luxury brands.
Emma has broad experience across all areas of design and has created and developed many loved New Zealand brands including: Karma Cola, Ecostore,OOB, Auckland Live, The Oyster Inn and Garden to Table. Emma briefly worked in Sydney but loves Auckland. Emma’s work has been awarded locally and globally across all disciplines, including being awarded Best Award’s highest honour—a Purple Pin of distinction for graphic design in 2013.
Emma and Tana ask:
— How are you approaching branding in the digital age?
— Achieving the holy grail of work/life balance! How to do this in a deadline driven business? What works?!
— How do we talk and present ourselves as a unified industry to a bigger audience than ourselves (that avoids trolling and throw-away-criticism)?
Dr. Johnson Witehira is a designer and artist of Ngāpuhi (Ngai-tū-te-auru), Tamahaki (Ngāti Hinekura), and Pākehā descent. He currently leads the graphic design pathway within AUT’s Communication Design department. As an artist he has worked on a range of creative projects, from solo and group exhibitions, to public art including murals, light-box works and projected light installations. His specific areas of design expertise are contemporary Maori design and decolonizing design practices.
Johnson asks: Is culture important to graphic design?
Since joining in 2006 he has led significant projects across a wide range of sectors, from FMCG to primary industries, tourism to technology and is one of the key team members at the heart of designworks approach to brand identity strategy.
Previously, Noel held a variety of sales and marketing roles in the tourism, telecommunications and media industries across New Zealand, Australia and the U.K.
As Group Creative Director for Designworks, Jef is responsible for the overall creative vision and output for the business, based on a strong belief in culture and creativity coming together in a environment that encourages open conversations, new ideas and maintaining high standards.
Jef has led multiple teams and projects across a range of sectors and disciplines from brand and identity, packaging, corporate communications to motion and environmental design. Projects include large scale branding programmes for Air New Zealand, Fonterra, Silver Fern Farms and Telecom (now Spark). Projects include packaging programmes for Monteith’s, Anchor, Coca Cola, L&P, Manuka Health and multidisciplinary environmental projects for Air New Zealand’s Hangar 9 as well as Fonterra’s new head office way finding and visitor experience centre.
Jef has led teams that have won numerous local and international awards including New Zealand Best Awards, including a Purple Pin for Best Effect, AGDA, London International Awards (LIA), Art Directors Club and Designweek.
Jef and Noel ask: More clients are reorganising themselves to be more like agencies, where is our role and value now?