Our 2017 Hot New Things series continues today – an opportunity to profile a selection of some of the top design grads coming out of our tertiary institutions. This week we speak with Anna Markovina from Unitec.
Bachelor of Graphic Design and Animation
Hi Anna, can you tell us what your final year’s project was about and what you focused on.
Hi, sure I can! I used my final project as a chance to launch my own business ‘Wildfleur,’ a collection of textile designs inspired by New Zealand native botanicals. The project included a complete brand and identity for Wildfleur, and a live e-commerce website.
The idea started from my interest in specimen illustration and a love of the intricate scientific botanical artworks of early European explorers. I developed my illustration skills by completing a drawing a day for one month. This allowed me to explore different mark making techniques, and develop a detailed, contemporary illustration style.
The textile designs are based on my own live specimen collections and botanical recordings of New Zealand natives. Each flower was been carefully studied, illustrated and coloured, then digitally printed on a series of silk scarves. Wildfleur’s silk scarf collection is intended to be an expression of my appreciation for nature as well as being wearable pieces of art. It was always important that the designs were timeless and unique rather than following a trend as I wanted the project to celebrate slow and ethical fashion.
How has what you’ve recently been working on influenced your design process, and what momentum does it bring to your practice?
I am really interested in textile design and hope to work in this sector in the near future, so working on Wildfleur is really my dream job! This project pushed me to develop my illustration skills, and completing a drawing a day was a huge and often demanding commitment. Creating Wildfleur from product to brand/identity and website was a huge task that involved a lot of learning along the way, which was a great lesson in perseverance. I am now confident in my ability as a designer and am excited to create future collections for Wildfleur.
What were some of your most exciting discoveries?
It was really exciting seeing my designs come alive when they were digitally printed on the silk. I had originally chosen the output of a silk scarf because of the element of freedom it gave me. It provided an interesting surface where I could place my designs in a number of different ways, as opposed to a seamless pattern. Scarves are also an incredibly versatile accessory which can be worn in so many different ways creating different looks, I love that the folds in the silk hide or reveal different parts of the pattern each time they are worn.
And also some of the challenges along the way?
There were many challenges throughout this project, printing on silk was costly so budget was a factor. The biggest challenge was getting the textile designs ready in time for printing, which could take up to four weeks at the Sydney fabric printing company I had decided on. The decision to use a local printer and 100% silk was a no-brainer if I wanted the brand to reflect the ethos of slow and sustainable design. Unfortunately, New Zealand did not offer the same quality or options in silk printing, so Australia was the next best option. Fitting a four week printing time frame within the project deadline and having enough time for the photoshoot, editing the photos and populating the website with the imagery was ambitious, but somehow it all came together in the end! Another big challenge was working with Muse to create the website and the daunting task of making it responsive across all devices. This was very time consuming, so sticking to a strict timeline and working after hours was a must.
What did you love doing most?
My favourite part of this project was the photoshoot. I had organised a great team of friends, from makeup/hair, photographer and model to make sure that the imagery was professional and created the right look and feel for the brand. It was an incredible day, which was long, but everyone worked tirelessly to get all the shots before we ran out of sun light.
Where do you go to find inspiration (websites, resources, designers, etc)?
I love checking out The Design Files and I find Behance a great resource for inspiration. I also follow some amazing designers on Instagram which really keeps me in the loop with what others are up to in their practice. I find it a really great resource, as it can be hard to stay motivated and inspired when you are working on your own. It is also really important for me to step away from the digital world and get out and about, either by visiting some galleries, chatting to like-minded creatives, or just going for a walk. It helps me to reset and then when I come back I can look at things from a new perspective.
One thing I have learned over my time studying is how important it is to keep creating and making work. Spending too much time trawling Pinterest or other sites for inspiration can often have the opposite effect on me.
Why did you choose to study at Unitec, and what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed your course?
I am based out in West Auckland so Unitec was the most convenient for travel. It also offered great learning facilities and an introductory course that allowed me to trial different design disciplines before deciding that Graphic Design was for me. Going back to study as a mature student was a bit daunting at first, but I met such a variety of interesting people and gained a great deal of practical experience. I now feel very well equipped for the professional world of design.
Where to next for you? What does 2017 hold?
At the moment I am on the hunt for full time work in either textile design or a graphic design studio. But, in the meantime, I am working on some exciting new designs for Wildfleur’s second collection, as well as doing some freelance illustration and design work on the side.
Thanks for your time, Anna.
To find out more about the courses on offer at Unitec visit: www.unitec.ac.nz