2022 Hot New Things: Reuben Gilchrist, Wintec

7 months ago by

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, developing creative confidence and ambitions for the future.

In this article, we talk with Reuben Gilchrist from Wintec. You can find out more about Aotearoa NZ creative study options by visiting our design schools page.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a mature student who has spent a large portion of my life working as a cabinet maker. I had always admired people who work with in a creative industry, so 3 years ago I decided to take a gamble and give it ago.

What did your graduating project focus on?

3D design is vastly becoming a staple skill set in graphic design, unfortunately Wintec do not offer this as part of their program currently, so I thought this was a great opportunity to learn the basics and use the output as content for a brand identity project. Using some of my prior knowledge I crafted a brand identity for a fictitious contemporary furniture store, using the 3D rendered imagery to showcase the products through both printed and digital media.

Why did you choose to study at Wintec?


I had previously studied the Bachelor of Music degree at Wintec and through this I had a brief introduction to graphic design through various electives. It made sense to continue my journey there as I was already in the system and facilities and staff are great too.

What did you enjoy most about the course, what are some takeaways?


To not only encourage conversations about design but build confidence when talking about design, we had a weekly segment called “Design News”. Each week students would share their thoughts on a recent re-brand project from around the world. I found these interactions extremely useful as it helped me build a vocabulary and understanding of design principles while becoming more confident with speaking to groups of people.

Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?

Going into the course I was dreading the client projects and favouring the fictitious projects, as I expected the creative freedom to be a lot easier to deal with. I ended up really enjoying the client projects, as the brief and client’s input can help create a narrative or guide for which you can design to. I had both positive and negative experiences working with clients throughout the course, each experience giving me a different perspective on how to deal with clients while gaining general soft skills.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned during your studies?


During the course I found it beneficial for my own learning if I helped or showed someone how to do something after learning it myself, whether it be using a piece of software or fixing an issue with a printer. This helped cement the learning in my own mind, while promoting good relationships with my classmates. That’s one of the best things about the graphic design community in New Zealand, there is a healthy culture that promotes sharing knowledge and helping one another succeed, the design assembly webinars being one example of this school of thought at its best.

What does your creative process look like?

As I have been learning the various bits of software, I have leaned towards designing inside the box as much as possible to build confidence with the tools, however I see the importance of sketching ideas on paper, and I plan to implement this more regularly in my process. Mood boarding is an integral part of my process and I find myself spending a lot of time researching typography, typography is an addiction I have obtained over the past 3 years, and I don’t see it going away any time soon.

How (if at all) do your interests outside of design inform the work in your portfolio?

I have always had an interest in interior design, as I have worked in both the kitchen and timber furniture industry, this context is at the forefront of my capstone / graduation project. I also take a lot of inspiration from my passion for music, it may sound cliché, but I have always been a fan of buying CD’s and records, the sleeves themselves offer endless inspiration for design, they were the ultimate source of visual communication growing up and generally if the cover art was good the tunes were too.

What’s next for you?


Well, I was hoping all the new graduates would be going on their OE experiences next year, leaving a hole in the job market for me, but looks like Covid has other plans, jokes. I’m just keen to get some experience, unfortunately due to lockdown restrictions I missed out on a lot of internship opportunities so I will be looking for an opportunity in the new year fingers crossed.

How can people get in touch or see more of your work?


I have a few case studies on my Behance account and will be looking to update these in coming months, with my studies finished I will be looking to build a more up to date portfolio via Instagram and perhaps a website too. For now, the best way to get in touch would be via email – rk_gilchrist@hotmail.com

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