Take 10 with… Louise Kellerman

1 year ago by

The DA team want to support our community through these unprecedented times – something we kept coming back to is a focus on connection and community. So we want to do what we think DA does best, sharing ideas, inspiration and information and profiling our community.

With that in mind, we launched a new series Take 10 with… to do a pulse check on how you’re feeling, how you’re working, what you are missing, and what your hopes are for the future. We invited some of our friends, peers and the DA team to participate and we hope you enjoy these honest and candid profiles of Aotearoa designers today.


Introduce yourself: Hi, I’m Lou, DA Founder and Director. I work for myself and for you – the Aotearoa NZ design community.

How did you get into design? My journey into design began with a love of art. I studied both art and graphic design at high school and I think I was attracted to going to design school over art school with the idea of having briefs to work to. Welby Ings, an AUT professor was a tutor of mine when I studied for a bachelor of graphic design at AUT and remains a mentor and a friend to this day. Welby challenged my thinking from day one and blew my mind wide open.

What do you love about design? Design plays an ever-increasingly important role in our society and is always moving and bending to serve the needs of our communities. I love how it continues to evolve and surprise me. I do also love the aesthetic side of design, colours, typography and form – I’m a design nut.

What or who inspires you? Michael Hill – he didn’t have a liner path to success and challenges you to have a 30-year plan. Nick Cave – for his music and hard work ethic.

How are you feeling right now? Last week as we all went down in lock-down in New Zealand, I can honestly say I had a week of major ups and downs. Our family went into lock-down from Monday morning with our daughters school being closed. Navigating the new normal for my family (myself, my husband Daniel and our two daughters, Isabel, 10 years and Paige nearly 8 years) has meant figuring out how Daniel and I share the load of our day jobs and looking after the girls. It’s bringing a whole new meaning to a word that is very important to me in our relationship – partnership.

I can say we are settling into week two now! Being a planner and liking to be in charge (really?! 😉 ) I drew up a chart for the next month – we have split our days in half, one person works from 8.30am – 12.30pm then we have lunch as a family and the other person then works from 1pm – 5pm. We are lucky to have a garden studio/office that is completely separate from our house and I LOVE it.

So right now I’m feeling good. I was reminded of another time in the last few years when I had to navigate a time of major upheaval in my life and how I got through that. Not rocket science, but its something I am always trying to do more of generally – Live for today. Now. It’s taking one day at a time and putting one foot in front of the other. That’s how I’m doing it today.

Are you working right now, if so what does your work from home day look like? Yes, I’m working on DA and keeping the Aotearoa NZ design community connected through our usual program with articles on the website and social media channels and while we can’t meet up or learn together in person, also on some new online ways we can support each other and keep connected during this time.

What’s your one tip right now? 

  • Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time and be here in today. Now. (It’s ok if you want to sleep in the afternoon or watch movies all day sometimes)
  • Make a list of five things you want to do each week for yourself. Goals help you to feel that you’ve achieved something for yourself. They can be really simple, like go for a walk each day.
  • Look at your overheads and figure out what you do and don’t need. Streamline.
  • Look at your systems and processes. Create systems and processes.
  • Update your portfolio, your website or your online presence.
  • Start a side passion project
  • Read more books

Tell us about your current workspace. I’m working from our garden studio/office. It is an awesome little building that is half a studio/office and art room and half a woodworking room. Its completely separate from our house and I can get some sense of focus to do my work. 

Which local business are you going to miss most during our isolation period? Usually, the DA HQ is run from my co-working space in Mt Albert that I share with three others and its right beside Taco Loco – my every day go-to for the first coffee of the day and many a lunch meeting. https://www.facebook.com/tacoloconz/

We also have a lovely local store next door to the office that sells NZ clothing and is great when you need a card – Good Thing. https://www.goodthing.co.nz
I’ll also miss the donuts from the cafe at the end of my road – Hare and Turtle Cafe. https://www.facebook.com/hareandtheturtle/

What do you hope for the Aotearoa design community going forward?

We can say that our designers and studios are highly adaptable and can work easily in remote working situations using online tools – so it doesn’t matter if your clients are at the other end of NZ or on the other side of the world – NZ design can provide high-quality work to anyone, anywhere.

I’m hoping that the NZ design community will be generous to each other and share how they are getting through the day-to-day right now and that attitude will keep going to make our profession stronger, together.

I do dream of a design community that is not afraid to ask the big questions of its clients and will cheerlead for business and services that put the planet and people first from here on. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the trajectory of the earth and humankind and reverse climate change. Designers always talk about having a seat at the top table, let’s put our money where our mouths are.




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