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 Adam Bradley from Unitec.
Hi Adam, can you tell us what your final year’s project was about and what you focussed on.
My final year project named Local was shaped and formed through an in-depth analysis of the graphic design practice of branding. Local is an exploration into home-grown New Zealand businesses to which creativity and hand-made is core to who they are and what they do. The intention is to promote ‘kiwi’ made and dealing locally within New Zealand, whilst also sharing and presenting the brand stories of each business. My final deliverables were a series of mini documentaries that explored these businesses, whilst reflecting the core themes of the project, and a website to act as a platform for sharing these stories. In the end I produced three documentaries on the businesses Three Beans Coffee Roasters, Puha & Pakeha Food Truck and WRW & Co Furniture Design. Check the videos out at localstories.co.nz
How has what you’ve recently been working on influenced your design process, and what momentum does it bring to your practice?
This project and the research I carried out into branding, has had a huge part in shaping my design process. Final year of University puts a really large emphasis into developing research techniques and strategies that you can implement into your design process. I’m excited about the practice of branding and the process that goes into effectively communicating identity. Discovering the importance of research techniques and strategies really gives my practice tonnes of momentum. Effectively implementing these techniques throughout my process makes my design outcomes a whole lot stronger and more informed.
What were some of your most exciting discoveries?
To see how strong the creative small business ‘scene’ is in New Zealand and how dealing locally with other businesses was a pivotal part of their brand. For example, there are over 200 boutique coffee roaster across New Zealand so yes, a lot of competition but Johnny from Three Beans talks about it being more like a community. A collective of roasters who learn and grow off each other. It really underlined the core themes of my project being about local ‘kiwi’ made, which was exciting.
And also some of the challenges along the way?
Aside from endless audio struggles, probably my biggest challenges along the way were associated around dealing with business owners and trying to sell them the idea of Local to get them on board. I had a long list that I gradually made my way through to the three I interviewed and featured in the series. Along with balancing multiple other projects like assignments, the branding for Grad Fest, and making my portfolio website, it was a busy time but also something that I thrived on.
What did you love doing most?
I loved being on set with the camera filming, thinking on my toes about how to shoot each shot in a way that would illustrate the core of the project and the themes arising. Going into the shooting part of my project, I knew the look and feel I wanted the videos to take and how that fitted within the context of the project, but it was still a bit of the unknown how the interviewees would react. I also loved coming up with the identity for Local in trying to reflect the hand-made and artisan nature of the project.
Where do you go to find inspiration (websites, resources, designers, etc)?
A website I currently frequent is freundevonfreunden.com. They showcase not just designers but a really wide range of creatives from across the world. Definitely recommend it not just for the cool stories but the really clean layout and design style. Other than that I love following design studios like Saxon Campbell, Candy Black and Universal Favourite to see the work that they’re up to. Also, music is a big part of my design process in terms of finding inspiration.
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 chose to study at Unitec because of the vast opportunities that the course offers and the close knit environment and relationships that you develop with your peers and tutors. A great part of our final year was having three or four tutors in one studio class that you could get to critique your work and bounce ideas off. I think it’s a great set up for a junior designer heading into the industry, having to report to several senior designers and a creative director, making sure your work is on the right track. It’s good to have a grasp on this and definitely something I have taken away with me.
Where to next for you? What does 2017 hold?
Currently I’m continuing with my in-house design role that I’ve had throughout my studies four days a week, and filling in the rest of my time freelancing and hunting for permanent work. Hopefully a little travel also!
And to find out more about the courses on offer at Unitec visit: www.unitec.ac.nz