Under The Hood with… Elliot Stansfield

1 year ago by

DA and Adobe have partnered up our live online event series Under the Hood, the first of which is fast approaching on Thursday the 2nd of July.

We spoke to the presenters to learn more about their design career, process, the project they will be sharing and their hopes for the future of Aotearoa design.

Today we hear from Elliot Stansfield, Senior Designer at South

With thanks to our event partners Adobe.


Can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and how you first got started in the industry?

I studied at Massey’s College of Creative Arts in Wellington and spent my early years in the industry working in the UK. I was welcomed by an awesome group of designers in England who gave me a real opportunity to learn the ins and outs of design and business. Today I live and work here in Auckland, as Senior Designer at Studio South.

What does your typical working day involve?

Most days usually start with project check-ins with designers before moving into design and collaborative work. Clients are in and out of the studio regularly so I’ll spend time presenting and discussing concepts with them throughout the day.

What insight can you give us to your design process?

South tries to approach each brief differently to keep things fresh but we do have a few processes that help lay the foundation for good design. We’ve found the best way to start is to look at creating a clear vision and narrative for the project before diving into design – it’s invaluable work in the long run and helps everyone get on the same page.

What project will you be presenting in Under the Hood?

I’ll be presenting a new identity and communications project for a London-based startup. They’re set to shake things up with a new sustainable transport initiative. The brand hasn’t been released yet (sorry, I can’t show any images!) so we’re looking forward to seeing them launch in the next week or so – just in time for the ‘Under the Hood’ webinar!

What was the most challenging part of the project and what lessons did you draw from it?

I think the challenge was trying to imagine how the brand was going to grow – it’s such an ambitious project that could expand beyond London so a lot of the design decisions looked to ensure the brand remains relevant and engaging as it grows over the next few years.

Was there an ‘Aha!’ moment in the project when things clicked and fell into place?

Actually there was – it was a really satisfying moment that led to the initial brand concept. The team had gathered around some early sketches which started a conversation on how to visualise the brand name. There was this moment where we knew we’d figured out how to achieve the vision we were after.

Do you have a favourite feature or shortcut in Adobe Creative cloud programs?

Does CMD+S count?

What have you been working on recently? 

We’ve got a few new digital projects on at the moment and we’re using it as an opportunity to push what’s possible with each site, from both a design and development perspective.

2020 has thrown us some curveballs, how has Studio South adapted? 

It’s been a difficult start to the year for sure, but we’ve got a really motivated team who were open to trying out new ways of working while we couldn’t be in the studio. We’ve certainly shifted the kinds of solutions we prescribe to clients to suit the current market.

What do you hope for the future of design in New Zealand?

I’ve felt a really strong sense of positivity, community spirit and support from the NZ design industry throughout this year – it feels like we’ve managed to become more tight knit. I hope we can keep this going and continue to use our collective voice to create change for good.

And finally, what areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?

I spend a lot of time weaving motion and animation into our work – it’s interesting to see just how far we can push these techniques and how it impacts the way we interact with design.



Instagram: @studiosouthnz

Website: studiosouth.co.nz

Thursday 2 July
12.30pm – 1.30pm
Online Zoom Webinar

Each designer will share the brief, how they approached it, talk us through that internal feedback loop – This is too hard! It’s not working! Why did I decide to be a designer?! – and out to the other side to client love and project success. All of these insights in a quick conversational ten-minute talk with screen sharing.

Lisa Loosemore, Senior Designer,  Culture and Theory
Dan Newman, Creative Director, Springload
Elliot Stansfield, Senior Designer, South



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