During categories 3 and 4 of New Zealand’s COVID response we launched Take 10 with… to do a pulse check on how our community was feeling, working, what you are missing, and learn about your hopes for the future. We think the format has merit as we transition into practice in the post-COVID landscape, and we had feedback that you really enjoyed the series so we tweaked the questions and invited more of our friends and peers to participate in these candid profiles of Aotearoa designers today.
Phyo Thu, Owner and Creative Director of Fox&Co Design, a Motion Design Studio in Wellington, New Zealand
How did you get into design?
I went to Natcoll Design Technology (now called Yoobee) to study Multimedia Design. I got my first job as an in-house Motion Designer at an Advertising Agency in Auckland.
What do you love about design?
I love that design, is a combination of creativity and problem-solving involving both artistic and technical approaches.
How are you feeling right now?
Grateful and humble. I’m super grateful that we are still able to continue working on projects for our clients remotely, leveraging on modern-day technology. More so now, than ever before, we’re appreciative and humbled that we work in a digital space and are able to provide animated solutions to our clients. It has been an eye-opening experience working through the pandemic alongside video productions who are doing a fantastic job finding new ways to continue operating despite social distancing rules.
What lockdown experiences would you keep going forward?
Strangely enough, the whole team enjoys working from home during the lockdown although we have a pretty nice office. Our productivity and creativity levels have improved during the lockdown. Less distractions, meant we were really able to focus.
With that, we are planning to keep working from home, at least for a couple days a week going forward. We’ve also agreed that we’d take advantage of working from home during the winter months.
How does your workload compare to before the COVID-19 Lockdown?
At the beginning of the lockdown, we lost some projects that we’d secured for April and May. We were also impacted financially on a project due to not being paid for work as the agency closed down as a result of the pandemic. But, despite the uncertainty, by late April and into May things started to look up. We’ve been so busy that our team has tripled in size in the past month.
Tell us about your current workspace. Are you still working from home? Or if you are back in your studio how has your workspace adapted?
As the team is mid-project, we are all currently still working from home so the office is looking pretty empty at the moment. We’ll look back to move back into the office early July. Our plan is to duplicate the same set up for the team, both at home and in the office so we can seamlessly transition between working in both environments. This will give us the flexibility to work where we feel comfortable, something we’ve really enjoyed during lockdown.
What are you enjoying about the ‘re-opening’ of levels 1 & 2, which local businesses (or services) did you miss and enjoying reconnecting with?
We really enjoy socialising as a team. We met for a team lunch on the first Friday of Lockdown Level 2. It was a surreal experience. We’ve learnt to appreciate little things like being able to meet for creative brainstorming sessions on projects or have lunch together in the same place rather than communicating through a screen. I missed being able to meet with friends, business associates and clients at a cafe or restaurant most during level 3 and 4.
What’s your one tip right now?
Be adaptable and be kind. The world is changing faster than ever before with so much uncertainty in the air. It’s important for business owners and creatives to be adaptable to survive and thrive, in this very fast-paced industry. If you can’t adapt or innovate you will get left behind. We’re all navigating the same waters. It’s a weird time to be alive and we’re all facing our own challenges, both business and personal, so it’s important to be kind.
What do you hope for the Aotearoa design community going forward?
We hope to inspire local creatives to be the best versions of themselves. We’re a small Motion Design Studio in Wellington, working with big international brands because we are passionate about what we do. Our clients love this about us! We appreciate the opportunities which have come our way because of hard work and commitment to perfection in all we do. We hope to instil this same passion for creativity and work ethic within the next generation of creatives.