Written by Annie McCulloch, Portfolio Recruitment
Now and Then is a series where we catch up with designers who’ve been recently placed, via Portfolio Recruitment. We get their thoughts and feedback about their new roles and their work. Our latest Now and Then is with Adam van Kampen, a Designer at Strategy Creative.
Adam, as a US ex pat, how has your experience of the NZ design industry been compared to your state side experience?
I quickly learned that in New Zealand, 20 people is a “large” studio. My old agency back in Chicago was around 200 people, and we were “medium” sized. I’ve really enjoyed the scale–since studios are much smaller, this gives opportunity to be more hands-on and involved in projects. There’s much more of a sense of community—everyone knows everyone and people seem genuinely interested in helping each other out and supporting good design. It’s quite common for me to run into people I know at events, and I’ve only been here a year! I’d also say that aesthetically speaking, New Zealand really punches above its’ weight.
You’re coming up to a year on the team in the Auckland office of Strategy Creative. How has the role developed for you so far?
Time flies! I’m still thoroughly enjoying my time at Strategy and it’s been fun to see our studio develop. We’ve grown quite a bit and even moved into a new office a few weeks ago, so it’s been exciting to witness that change. Role-wise, I’ve been able to work on quite a bit of branding work which I really enjoy.
What do you love about living in New Zealand? Why did you decide to move here?
The natural beauty! If you throw a stick, it’s bound to hit something pretty—I’m also a photographer so that’s really handy. People are chill and friendly, and I really like the weather. I don’t miss the Chicago winters where it snows 50cm overnight and is simultaneously -25 degrees. Living in smaller city also appealed to me. Finally and most importantly, Whittakers chocolate. Oh, and coffee. I thought I might miss Starbucks (lol).
Who are your design heroes?
Dieter Rams—his “10 principles of good design” have really impacted my thinking and are critical for any designer in any profession. And of course the legendary Paul Rand. His work is the best of the best, even 50 years later.
If not design, what other career path would you have perhaps taken?
Perhaps psychology? The human brain has always fascinated me. I actually started as an architecture student in uni. I still really enjoy studying it and I plan on designing my own home some day.