2023 Hot New Things: Maryam Al-Essa, Creative Digital Design, Yoobee
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 Maryam Al-Essa who studied Creative Digital Design at Yoobee. 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?
Kia ora, I am Maryam, 24 years old, a graphic designer based in Auckland. I am originally from Iraq and have been in New Zealand for over 10 years. Prior coming to Yoobee, I graduated from AUT with a bachelor’s degree in business, majoring in marketing. Then I worked in the marketing field for nearly a year. During my studies and work, I always enjoyed the creative side, so I wanted to explore and learn more about graphic design.
If you were a typeface what would you be?
I recently came across a typeface on Adobe Fonts called Maryam. From that moment, I kept telling people, “did you know that there is a typeface called Maryam?”
The typeface is simple yet elegant, which reflects how I design.
What did your graduating project focus on?
We had to design an event for the final project, and I chose to do a Middle Eastern cultural event. This event aims to create an opportunity for westerners to explore Middle Eastern culture, traditions, music, and food. To give this event the desert vibes, I based it in the sand dunes of Cape Reinga. I used an Arabic name, “Moltaqa” for the event and combined it with a short English description to give non-Arabic speakers an insight into the event. I also used elements that are familiar with the Middle Eastern culture. I really enjoyed branding this event and was excited to show it in my portfolio because it is part of my identity.
Why did you choose to study at Yoobee?
I wanted a school that teaches more practical things similar to the real industry, preparing me more and pushing me to extend my skills and knowledge. So when I was comparing schools, I found Yoobee to be the right fit for this.
What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?
I have learnt so much throughout my time at Yoobee, and I am more confident now to do more things outside my comfort zone and accept more challenges. I enjoyed the company of other students in my class, learning from them, and being inspired by them.
Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?
I did coding for a term and was so nervous at first, finding it difficult. However, once I got to practice it more, I enjoyed it and found it fun to see what one simple code could do. Since I love problem solving, I enjoyed the challenging nature of coding.
What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?
Losing project work before submission day without having another backup! It really shook me, and on that day when it happened, I froze and did not know what to do. But the next day, I started working on it from scratch, and managed to do a 3 weeks project in 3 days that turned out to be even better than before.
Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick graphic design as a career path?
I have always enjoyed watching design videos online, like Photoshop challenges, etc. I used to follow these tutorials and felt good when I accomplished them. My mum noticed that I am into graphic design and being creative, so she pushed me to do it.
Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
The piece I am most proud of is the first branding project I did this year, “UKIYO”. It was fun creating a whole brand from scratch and basing the design on its personality. The final outcome was very elegant and fit the brief. This project also got featured on Yoobee’s Instagram, making me very excited and motivated to create more. It also grew my confidence in my design choices and taught me to trust myself when designing.
What’s next for you?
While at Yoobee, I enjoyed branding and packaging, because there is so much thinking and ideation that go behind it. So, I am hoping to work at a design agency to pursue working in this field and combine my business background with it.
How can people get in touch or see more of your work?