2023 Hot New Things: Jonathon Morriss, Media Design School
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 Jonathon Morriss who recently graduated from Media Design School‘s Bachelor of Media Design with a major in Motion Design. 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’ve just finished up my Bachelor of Media Design course at MDS with a major in Motion Design. I’ve always had an interest in storytelling and finding unique ways to get immersed in a narrative, and because of this Motion Design has always stood out to me as an incredible tool. On top of that I often find myself experimenting with code, automating things, and exploring how integrating different mediums could allow people to feel more involved in a story. I love finding new ways to engage people in a story
What did your graduating project focus on?
My capstone ‘People In The Screen’ is an abstract sequence offering a stepping stone for introverts interested in joining online communities by sharing my experiences with these spaces. The writing process was an exercise in reflection, taking my own journey and comparing it against those of others to make an honest depiction that represents more than just my own experiences. Abstracted from social media interfaces, the various characteristics of marbles are used to express a range of emotions and personalities, bringing the story to life.
Why did you choose to study at Media Design School?
When I was looking for a design degree, MDS just felt like the obvious choice. They had an incredible reputation and the student work on display didn’t leave much doubt as to why. I was looking for a hands-on environment that would leave me fully prepared to enter the industry, and MDS was able to deliver on that.
What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?
My favourite part of the course was the amount of opportunities to explore areas outside of my major and build up a multidisciplinary skillset. Whether it be through group or individual projects, the opportunity to explore how the different areas of design could be brought together to form interesting activations, campaigns and outcomes was really exciting.
Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?
The entire course was full of discoveries, every project gave me the opportunity to experiment and explore different areas to learn something new and interesting. The most interesting discovery for me though came when working on a group project earlier in the year, where I got to explore creating my own generative art system and animate it entirely using code, something I never would’ve imagined myself being capable of doing prior to coming here. I really appreciate that MDS provided the opportunity and motivation to explore things like that which I would have never usually considered.
What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I found myself facing throughout the course was figuring out how to approach the writing process for my final project, with it being quite personal I found it could be complicated at times to separate myself from the work when trying to refine and improve upon it. In the end, I worked through this by looking through project breakdowns from a wide range of other personal storytelling projects that had inspired me, to see what methods had been used by other designers who found themselves in a similar situation.
Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick motion design as a career path?
I’ve always been fascinated by videos and animation, but it wasn’t until I saw the work of Chris Schoenman that I started seriously considering it as a career path. I have a strong interest in music and found it really cool seeing him build these visuals and stories on top of some of my favourite songs, bringing them to life in new and exciting ways. I became dedicated to creative storytelling pretty much from the moment I first engaged with his work.
Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
The project I’m proudest of is Tūrama, a group project from the first semester of this year. This was by far both the most challenging and rewarding project I’ve ever been a part of, with our team exploring wide ranges of ideas and technologies to push past our limits and create something unique. Our final outcome was a multidisciplinary experience combining interactive elements and motion in interesting ways to help people engage with the values of Matariki.
What’s next for you?
MDS was just the start of my design journey, there’s still so much out there for me to learn and I can’t wait to get started. Going forward, I’m looking for the opportunity to join a team of creative people that will continue to challenge me and allow me to develop my skills further.
How can people get in touch or see more of your work?