Siobhon Joe is a designer who aspires to deliver high-quality thoughtful experiences that reach beyond aesthetics across digital and print platforms. We caught up with her to learn more about her creative journey, processes, and project outcomes.
What is your background and how did you get into design?
I was born in West Auckland and grew up in quite an artistic family. My mum studied Māori Arts at Waiariki Institute of Technology, so I grew up surrounded by art and creative thinking. I was never very talented in the traditional sense of art like painting or drawing, so it wasn’t till much later in high school when I discovered that graphic design could be that creative outlet for me.
I went on to study digital design at AUT and graduated in 2017 with a bachelors degree in Communication Design. Last year, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern at Red Antler, a branding agency in New York. Now I currently work at a marketing, advertising studio in Ponsonby called Fly.
What is your official title at work and what does a typical working day at Fly involve?
I work as a digital and motion graphics designer at Fly although it’s become a running joke that I’m the “on-trend Millenial” of the team. I wouldn’t say there is such thing as a typical day at Fly. We have a broad range of clients so as a small team we often wear many hats. There’s guaranteed to be plenty of laughs shared and a full puku by the end of the day.
You have some awesome packaging work in your portfolio. What do you enjoy about working with teams to elevate their consumer experience?
I enjoyed the opportunity to tell a narrative and create a memorable experience. When working with the design team at Red Antler on Prose, we had to consider all the different touchpoints of the consumers unboxing experience and guide them on a journey. Package design wasn’t an area I had much experience in, so there were a lot of challenges and firsts for me. However, being familiar with the core principles of customer experience design helped to inform the design process.
What was the most challenging part of the prose project?
The most challenging part of the Prose project was taking complex information and visualising it in a manner that was easy to understand, making sure it was accessible to the consumer.
What lessons did you learn from Otherland that you have applied to future work?
For me, the biggest takeaway from working on packaging projects such as Otherland and Prose was the reminder to step away from the computer and assess concepts in their physical forms. I found the act of using my hands and physically measuring, cutting and constructing each design was the fastest and most effective way I could find any issues and problem solve. It was also super therapeutic!
You recently completed some animation work for a pump campaign… What has the response been to this campaign so far?
The feedback so far has been very positive. I think the use of motion helped us to push the energy of the campaign to that next level. We wanted to utilise the benefits of social media and appeal to a younger demographic.
Do you have a preference for working on digital or physical experiences?
I wouldn’t say I have a preference between digital or physical experiences. For me, they are equally as important and present a unique set of challenges that I welcome.
What project, personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?
Hmm, that’s a tricky one. I can’t choose a specific project, but I have found that I gain more satisfaction from work that holds a more personal connection to my values and beliefs. I admire work that reaches beyond aesthetics and holds a meaningful purpose.
Can you tell us a little about how the ‘Kiekie Sacred Thread’ project came about?
It was a passion project that arose from a curiosity to understand more about my mum’s past in Māori arts and weaving. I have an affinity towards my whakapapa, so creating the short-documentary was a way I could understand that on a deeper level.
How does New Zealand culture and or landscape inform your work?
I feel that Aotearoa presents a unique cultural foundation different from the rest of the world. My Māori-Chinese heritage, in particular, has helped me be more aware, empathic and considerate as a designer, understanding the intricacies and implications of culture and the importance it has in approaching design.
What do you hope for the future of design in Aotearoa?
I hope we continue to nurture and grow as a design community. I would love to see design become more accessible. I’m very optimistic and excited to see where we go next!
What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
In terms of personal development, I’ve been recently focusing on developing my ideation skills to think more broadly and be less of a perfectionist. Overall, I’d like to explore and be working more extensively within the digital design field to see where I would fit in that area of the industry. It’s still very early stages for me as a creative, so the list of things I wish to develop is continuing to expand and evolve.
And, finally, where can we see more of your own work (links to websites, portfolios, etc)?
My portfolio of work is here: https://siobhonjoe.cargo.site/. Or else I’m on Instagram @itsvonnie.