Each summer DA profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions.
We welcome these talented emerging professionals to our industry, learn about their passions, final projects and dreams for the future.
Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick design as a career path?
To be honest, it was my High School Art Design teacher. Whether she knows it or not, she drove me to where I am now, and not in the way one would think. I remember at the end of my level 2 Art and Design class, she pulled me aside and told me not to go forward with her level 3 course. And it wasn’t to say that she thought my work wasn’t up to standard, I just had trouble sticking to a timeline back then. She said that the workload would almost double, and that taking her class could be troublesome for a student like me. So after passing level 2 I decided that I would in fact carry on with her level 3 class and prove to her that I could indeed handle the load. And since that day, I decided that I wanted nothing more than to prove to her that I would go on to be one of New Zealand’s prominent Māori Graphic Designers.
You completed your full time studies at the end of 2019. Can you tell us what your final year’s project focussed on?
Although I tend to focus and base myself in the realm of more Graphic Design, I found myself immersed in the world of Publication Design. And there is where I decided on a field guide of sorts, a pocket guide to some of Aotearoa’s native medicinal flora, thus Rauora was born.
Rauora was designed to be a 1st pocket edition guide to guide those travelers and explorers who wanted to take their knowledge off the beaten path down where a smartphone gets you only a flashlight or a compass. Also allowing those who are interested in learning about these plants to start small and not be intimidated by large glossaries that wouldn’t be suitable for the outdoors.
What were some of your most exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your project?
Many of my discoveries this project were all program based. My lecturer taught me so many things about the creative suite that I was lucky to still have my brain intact.
What did you love doing most?
About this end of year/ degree project? Definitely delivering the hand off of the final press files to The Print Guys, the choosing of stock for the body pages, for the end pages and of course using a beautiful cover stock to hold it all together. And of course the anticipation of waiting for a phone call for you to pick up the completed product gives me chills every time I think about it.
What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?
One of my flaws through this degree was that I often didn’t record processes from my projects and it left lecturers at a loss sometimes if my line of thought wasn’t clearly outlined in process documents. I’ve found that through past projects I have tried to solve the given problem immediately, rather than building a case to study over the course of the given time frame.
How has your ability and confidence progressed since the beginning of your studies?
I have honestly learnt so much through the course of this degree, and I have to give special thanks to some of my lecturers for their unwavering support in my work. They’ve given me many a talking to, have lent an arm, a leg, and many an ear for anything I needed assisted with. And they all taught me that it’s always ok to ask for help, or even to clear up some queries and defog the path ahead. So many, many thanks to Emma Smith, William Bardebes, and Paul Shadbolt.
How do you see your work and practice developing, and what are your main aspirations?
In future, I can safely say that I have a lot more confidence in a lot of Print based mediums and I can see myself incorporating that into my practice as the years progress. And there is also the path of Typography and Type Development that I am hoping to explore through the coming years. I’d love to end up in a Design Studio creating and cooperating with other creative minds similar to mine. But I definitely have an even bigger goal in mind, my greatest aspiration is to be a prominent renowned Graphic Designer of Māori descent making strides in Typography and Branding.
Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
This may be selfish, but my self branding is my favourite, it stands out for me because it was built during my time at Unitec, in an elective taught by Paul Shadbolt. The elective was Advanced Graphic Design, where we were tasked to design and create a personal brand, a visual identity that represented us, presented in the form of both a Digital Presentation, which was held in front of the entire class, our lecturer, and Gideon Keith, Co-Partner of Strategy Creative. This presentation was one of the best I have ever performed. After giving my presentation, Paul had walked Gideon to his car, and when Paul returned, he presented me with the Business card of Gideon Keith, instructing me to contact him because he really enjoyed the presentation I gave. I’ve kept that business card ever since it was given to me. And that class was where I got my very first A+ grade.
What does your dream job look like?
My dream job would have to be the Creative Director to either my own Studio, or of course the Creative Director to a MultiNational Design Studio. Boring in writing, but very clearly an incredible dream to work towards.
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 chose to study at Unitec because of what I experienced at their 2016 Open Day. I attended the open day on a whim as I was passing through the area with mum. It was held in Building 1, and where I met Dr. Cris deGroot who opened my eyes to the possibilities that was on offer by the world of Design, the many practices to follow through, the different avenues that those practices can take you. And since completing the BCE I’ve found that there is so much more than just Graphic Design, and I’m happy to report that I’ve definitely branched out further than I ever imagined.
Where to next for you? What does 2020 hold?
Hopefully 2020 holds unforgettable experiences with a myriad of people and places. But for the time being it holds an opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies with Unitec in a Master of Design, as well as maintaining my current occupation as a retail ambassador at Allbirds in Britomart.
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