5 minutes with… Imogen Zino

3 years ago by

In July DA spoke with the multidisciplinary team behind Good Health Design, about their research initiatives and how visual design can support our communities wellbeing. Today (ahead of their upcoming symposium) we spoke with masters student Imogen Zino about her research for this project and the event.


What is your background and how did you get into design?

I am currently completing a Master of Design degree at AUT but my background spans across a range of disciplines from digital design and industrial design to jewellery making and textiles. The hands on nature of design and the constant challenge to adapt the way you think, work and problem solve has always been a drawcard for me. My a love of the making process and working collaboratively on a range of projects meant that design was an obvious choice for me.

How can visual design positively impact people’s health and wellbeing?

It’s our job as designers to remain in a constant state of iterative development to ensure that as society evolves, our built environment keeps up. Good visual design can have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing as it has the potential to allow complex ideas to be communicated in an inclusive and accessible way and ultimately when we all understand more about ourselves and others it benefits everyone.


Tell us about your specific research (& or specific Good Health Design Project?). 

I’m currently working on creating a research tool that is designed to scaffold conversations around what it means to feel a sense of belonging.

What drove you to this research area? 

A big focus of our work is on wellbeing and we are actively seeking ways to better understand how to improve health and wellbeing and all that it encompasses. One key component that has been identified as contributing to better wellbeing is a sense of belonging and that’s where the project started.


How has being in a multi/trans-disciplinary environment impacted your design practice? 

Working collaboratively in a transdisciplinary studio environment can have its challenges but it’s also very rewarding. Bringing together so many backgrounds and skills means our projects are more well-rounded and allows us to approach problems from many directions. I remember early on when I wanted to have my boss look over some work I’d done and I said “Steve, I just want you to check over what I’m doing to make sure we are on the same page” to which he replied “we are definitely not on the same page but that’s why I hired you…”

Based on your research at present are there any discoveries that you can share with us? 

My current research project involves actively listening to and discussing abstract ideas with people in an inclusive way. We can all relate to the feeling of belonging or lack thereof on some level but may not always be able to articulate it or think about the tangible components that it is made up of. The purpose of the toolkit is trying to scaffold a discussion about what feeling a sense of belonging means to different people in the hopes that it could help ourselves and others have more insight and understanding around the topic.


Have there been any breakthrough moments – when it all clicked – or you found something unexpected along the way?

The project I am currently working on was originally supposed to be a product/object of sorts. However, through the process of co-designing and speculating what that belonging might look like, we discovered there was real value in the process of asking people to unpack their ideas using artefacts. Subsequently, this led us to down the path of designing a creative toolkit (rather than an object) to guide people through a process and we’re currently in the iterative testing phases of development.



The Design for Health Symposium 2019 is a gathering of perspectives to explore the emerging field of ‘Design for Health’—what it is, what the challenges are, and what the opportunities might be in the future.

This two-day event in brings together health professionals, researchers, and designers to share ideas and experiences, raise questions, and expand thinking in terms of how design and creative practice might help tackle complex health challenges.

Beginning with a day of ‘hands-on’ workshops on the 19th, followed by a series of exciting talks from national and international keynote speakers, and an afternoon workshop on the 20th.

Join us this September for the Design for Health Symposium 2019 and become part of the global shift towards designing effective, person-centred approaches to long-term health and wellbeing.‍

This is a FREE event, but registration is required for catering purposes. Options are available to attend one or both days of the symposium. Numbers limited.


Up Next...

Auckland – DA Spring Conversations 2019 : Meet the panel

Design Assembly is delighted to present our DA Spring Conversations 2019 series taking place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in September. Planet centric design – What is the role and responsibility of the designer? Have you ever wondered how your job as a designer impacts our planet? Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint and create something…

More from 'Illustration'...

5 minutes with... Natasha Vermeulen

It has been two years since we last spoke to designer/illustrator Natasha Vermeulen. After spotting Natasha’s bold campaign illustrations for Bonds in our instagram feed, we wanted to learn more about these vibrant images that celebrate body diversity, and how her career journey and work has evolved since 2017.          People talk a lot…