Welcome to Hot New Things 2018 – an opportunity to profile a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. First, we speak with Hope McConnell from AUT.
Bachelor of Design (Communication Design major)
You completed your full time studies at the end of 2017. Can you tell us what your final year’s project was about and what you focussed on?
For my final project I decided to find a solution to the problem of miseducation at a high school level around all areas of design. After researching and talking to design professors at my university I found that almost all high school students coming into tertiary design study have no idea about the core principles of design, the diversity of design and the creative industry and how much design influences and affects everyday life.
My concept of how to address this issue was to create a social media app for design students at secondary and tertiary levels where they could post their work and others could tag it with what sector of design fit the work best. My intention with the app is to connect design communities and create open encouraging dialogues between students of all ages and backgrounds.
How has what you’ve recently been working on influenced your design process, and what momentum does it bring to your practice?
Exploring several different areas and approaches to design in my final year has been incredibly enjoyable and has motivated me to continue stepping out of my comfort zone by explore different mediums. Combining my love for illustration and graphic design with my interest in user experience and branding has led me to create material with more depth and substance. Drawing together different skills and design elements is definitely something I will continue to work with in my personal design practice.
What were some of your most exciting discoveries?
Being able to create something with several different facets was thoroughly enjoyable, and a great personal challenge. Experimenting with a new paper cut illustration style was also very exciting for me, as it forced me to think of illustration in 3D instead of 2D. Experimenting with how I could use light and layering to create energy with my work was really fun and I think I will keep experimenting with this style. I also discovered that brand development is something I really enjoy, which I haven’t experimented with previous to this year.
And also some of the challenges along the way?
Between curating the final graphic design exhibition, working as AUT magazine’s resident illustrator and finishing off my final year project I have had to be extremely conscious of my time management and project planning. Constantly evaluating how I can create successful work within my time constraints has caused me to develop my design style and has been a struggle at times. I have had to learn that sometimes to get the work done you have to sacrifice creative freedom, there are only so many hours in a day!
What did you love doing most?
I love the whole process of solving a design problem, from conceptualisation to creating the final work. Being able to come up with an innovative solution, delivering that solution to a high standard is really rewarding, this being what I love so much about design. I also love to illustrate, the ability to create moods and emotions with a blank piece of paper is something I will never get sick of.
Where do you go to find inspiration (websites, resources, designers, etc)?
I find a lot of inspiration from looking at others work, whether it be through classmates, behance or various publications and magazines. I also gain a lot of inspiration from my environment and people I interact with, I am constantly looking for interesting shapes, colour combinations and possible reference material.
Why did you choose to study at your design school, and what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed your course?
I decided to study design because I love everything visual and I love people. I believe that design is the perfect combination of those two things, as you are creating beautiful things that will (hopefully) help inform, influence or excite someone else.
Where to next for you? What does 2018 hold?
I have applied for a couple internships in New York, which I have my fingers very crossed for! Otherwise, I am planning on doing my honours and masters at AUT and strengthening my design knowledge further, but I may potentially take a 6 month break first.