5 minutes with… Charlotte McCrae

1 year ago by

DA loved the impactful series of posters Charlotte McCrae produced for Mate Act Now. Charlotte is a Graphic Designer and Creative based in Auckland. She graduated from Massey University School of Design in 2012 and has previously worked in Melbourne, Auckland and London. She believes that design should look nice but mean something. She is the Creative Director of Stone Soup Magazine. We caught up with her to learn more about her creative journey and work.

Who were your early creative influencers? Did you like art or artists when you were younger – was there someone from an early stage that might have inspired you to pick design as a career path?

I am very dyslexic, so I never gelled with the education system. I struggled to find my place until I had a string of excellent drama, music, and art teachers who opened my mind to creativity.  Being semi-illiterate meant visual communication gave me access to a world of storytelling I had never been able to access before. Whether that be through performing, painting, or designing, it became an obsession.

 Can you tell us about your career milestones and creative journey so far?

My creative career has been somewhat unconventional, like so many creatives.

I’ve worked in Melbourne, London and Auckland.

Some milestones for me?

  • Receiving a gold pin at the best awards for my student exhibition.
  • Getting to work with Ruth Ansel on a book for Tim Walkers exhibition ‘A Garden of Earthly Delights’.
  • Falling down a set design rabbit hole in London for a year and working for Shona Heath. This lead to working on the sets for the Pirelli calendar, Another Man, Vogue etc.
  • Starting Stone Soup magazine with Photographer Aaron McLean 5 years ago. We are now onto our 10th edition and have a book in our sights.


The DA team loved your visual responses to the Mate Act Now Brief! What urged you to participate in this project?

Chris Flack made me… haha.

No, but seriously, I think that for anyone who believes in science, it is clear that time is running out.

On October 8th 2018 the International Panel on Climate Change reported that to avoid climate breakdown by limiting warming to 1.5°C, we would require a “rapid and far-reaching” reordering of society within the next twelve years, which Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III said is possible “within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes”.

We have 10 years left.

You submitted six posters – did you have a favourite, and if so why?

 The 6 posters are 3 sets. A photo taken from the School strike for climate match 2019, paired with my design interpretation that people could print out and use again as a protest poster.

 I thought it was important that the message came from the people, the street, the youth who will inherit this broken planet.



Can design change the world?

 Probably not, but it can process important information and stories into digestible nuggets for people to understand.

 What are you most passionate about?

 I am most passionate about creating a circular lifestyle and growing my own food.

In these times of disruption, you realise the current system isn’t very resilient after all.

You can read more about that in Stone Soup Magazine.


What are your hopes for the future of Design in NZ?

 For clients and designers to take more risks.



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