2023 Hot New Things: Audrea Ridwan, Media Design School

3 weeks 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.

Today we speak with Audrea Ridwan from Media Design School. 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’m a fresh graduate who’s completed the Bachelor’s Degree of Media Design at Media Design School majoring in Graphic Design. Just like any creative nerd, I’m passionate about creating brand identities, conceptual experiences, and everything in between. I had always admired the beauty of innovation that elevates new ideas that are brought to life, and the benefits of being naturally curious about the world around me and just admiring the little things that come with it.

If you were a pantone colour what would you be? 

If I was a pantone colour I would probably be blue as I strived to be the most calm and caring person that I am. I’m always committed to my tasks and take pleasure in helping others. I tend to enjoy life to the fullest, with family and friends, and I always like to try new and unfamiliar things that hit me.

What did your graduating project focus on?

My graduating project, Looking Within, is an interactive multilayer packaging that encompasses the idea of a person being affected by racism through microaggressions that reoccur amongst young people in New Zealand’s society. It embodies how microaggressions can effectively harm an individual’s experiences through hateful and negative racial messaging. It engages in a design-led approach, taking apart the packaging to intimately unpack a person’s life in the things that are kept internalised and the things they’ve experienced. It is a vivid showcase of how the power of words can accumulate in a person’s system, ultimately affecting their perceptions and their emotional status. This project aims to foster the idea of capturing glimpses into what we genuinely feel and simply having a heart willing to share our own culture and learn about the culture of others.

Why did you choose to study at Media Design School?

Coming straight from High School, I knew that MDS had held a great reputation in their practical practices of digital media, and had also provided experiences of connecting with the creative industry, which gave me an insight on how the actual creative field operates with all the students that can experience live briefs with real clients. It is a real testimony of mine that has really prepared me for my own journey as a young designer, with all of the projects that I’ve worked on so far, the people that I had a pleasure to either collaborate or to gain constructive feedback, and that has prepared me with fundamental skills to pursue the next chapter in my life into the creative industry.

What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?

Especially starting off my first year of uni in the year of 2020, despite the pandemic that had occurred, I had gained not only a broader knowledge upon building my own design skill set but I’ve also gained a design family that had made my whole design course experience an unforgettable one! And, without the people that I’ve gotten to work with, I wouldn’t be the designer I am today without them. 

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

So many of them! I’ve definitely discovered a lot of my hidden talents and possibilities that I had within me that I had implied on each project that I’d worked on, let only learning how to communicate and work amongst in a team, taking on certain leadership roles that demonstrates my level of initiative and confidence and having the chance to build upon innovative content, and seek new experiences that will create an emotional impact on every project that I tackle. 

What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?

I think the biggest challenge of all was definitely the factor of comparing myself to others, especially when we are in the most competitive field that involves so much raw talent and determination. And sometimes, when you see something you admire, it’s pretty hard to unsee it. However, progressing as a young designer during my studies, I’ve gained so much more self confidence within my craft and even then I loved to draw from an early age, and decided to pursue design as a career path. Therefore, I gave myself the knowledge that, as long as you’ve put time in working to get better, you could imagine yourself that you will be better today than you were in the past. Realising that, the things that make you different, it’s the foundation for growing confident everyday, it’s truly a reflection on how you can present yourself to others in the best way possible.

Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick Design as a career path?

Growing up, my mum who was also a graphic designer too, her passion and past experiences has inspired me to take on design as a career path at the start. The amount of exciting creative opportunities it had brought her joy and excitement over the years in her time, her stories fueled my perception and determination for my own design journey from what I can build upon through Graphic Design, and how there’s always something new to learn, whether it’s new ways to communicate or exciting projects that can be created for different communities out there.

Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?

There has been no regrets to every project that I’ve done so far during my studies at MDS, however, my graduating project, Looking Within, has to be my most personal and most proudest one of all, since it’s integrates my personal encounters with microaggressions, and let alone the number of people who felt connected to this project as well. The project has so much emotional meaning to express hidden emotions that are often internalised, and it’s given the chance to appreciate a common situation with new eyes, analyse everything, and acknowledge ways to promote more interaction and better understanding of coexisting among people in diversity.  

What’s next for you?

I’m always driven by curiosity, and by creating a foundation of work that has a dedicated eye for quality, thus encouraging the idea of transforming brands, and connecting people within their built environment. I’m always learning and seeking new things that come my way, I’m open to enabling myself to be open-minded about other mediums and will evolve into making better communication with future team collaborations. Overall, I am looking forward to venturing into an ideal working environment for my next part of my design journey in the coming future. 

How can people get in touch or see more of your work? 
I’m always happy to have a banter and can be contacted via email – audz.graphics@gmail.com  You can also find more of my works, visit my portfolio website here www.audzgraphics.com

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