Under the hood with …Christine Luiten, Senior Creative at Studio C and Katherine Rayn from Catalyst IT
Ahead of our upcoming online event, Under the Hood – Women in Design, we sat down for a quick q&a with two of our featured speakers, Christine Luiten, Senior Creative at Studio C, and Katherine Rayn from Catalyst IT
All folks are welcome to virtually attend this event by registering here ( free for DA Friends, pay-what-you-can for the public)
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Can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and how you first got started in the industry?
C: After finishing college, I studied at The Learning Connexion, School of Creativity and Art, which cemented my knowledge that I wanted to work in the creative industries. I went on to study visual communication design at Massey University, specialising in illustration and digital media.
At the beginning of my freelancing career, I had a lot of freedom to try out different ways to express my creativity. Not only was I illustrating for education and children’s books, but I helped to run theatre venues, co-produced cabaret shows, dipped my toes into marketing, teaching and much more. I also had the honour of co-illustrating a series of Kickstarter funded LGBTQ+ children’s books, that gained global media attention.
After 5 years of freelancing I shifted gears and immersed myself in education; taking up various roles which included a stint as a diploma tutor for Digital Design, teaching drawing and visual communication to Bachelor of Animation students, and working as a Learning and Support Leader – assisting students through their creative and academic studies.
In 2021 I stepped back into full time creative work with my current role at StudioC Design as Senior Creative which includes illustration, graphic design, building eLearning modules, video production and project management.
K: I started my career as a primary school teacher. I am very passionate about education but struggled to find a place where I felt fulfilled and excited about my job. Through a series of career changes I landed in the right place at the right time to play a part in the origins of Tōtara Open Source Learning Management System. This journey led me to the joy of helping organisations design learning platforms and content for their staff.
What project will you be presenting in Under the Hood?
C & K: Creative HQ School of Innovation eLearning Micro Assets for early stage founders.
What was the most challenging part of the project and what lessons did you draw from it?
C: I love to have a clear idea of what something looks like and to have all the facts to start with. This project was pretty open, and Creative HQ gave us a lot of freedom to play and push the boundaries, which can be a struggle with so many people involved. Whenever this happens I have to learn to let go, to let the process happen. Ironically it takes a surprising amount of willpower to go with the flow! Additionally the discovery phase happened towards the end of the year, going into Christmas, and it’s always tricky to keep a project flowing through that time of year and out the other end – with timelines and ideas unscathed.
K: This has been a special project to work on. Creative HQ is very keen to explore new ideas and push the boundaries in eLearning and Learning Management design. This has allowed for a lot of freedom. A big challenge has been keeping my feet on the ground and managing clear boundaries around the scope of work.
Was there an ‘Aha!’ moment in the project when things clicked and fell into place?
K: Working with other visual people has been great. This has really helped me understand that not everyone can see a picture of the completed project in their head and how to help communicate a vision to everyone.
As we were starting to see mockups and ideas on paper come to life, especially with the LMS, that’s when it started to all click together. As the LMS and Micro-asset came together, a lot of anxiety across the team went away – it was great to see Creative HQ’s ‘Aha’ moment!
C: I surprised myself with the joy I got from problem solving in rapid development as a Storyline developer. Especially working through the frustrations of not knowing how to bring a design to life, and then figuring it out! For a happy Christine I need a good mix of technical detailed problem solving work as well as more free intuitive artistic work.
Now that the project has finished, what are you working on?
C&K: This project is ongoing. We have completed Micro-asset 1 and the first stage of the learning management system, and are currently working on Micro-asset 2 and 3, with 4 and 5 in the pipeline. Then it is on to Phase two!
What insights to your methodological approach or philosophy can you give us?
C&K: Done is better than perfect, and most things seem easier in the morning.
Set good boundaries at the beginning of projects so you don’t get excited and run away over budget. It’s still a business! It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the joy of creativity!
Outside of work hours what creative projects and/or hobbies are you involved with?
C: I have an interest in permaculture, which originates in indigenous ways of land management. It is a ‘whole system’ way of thinking, featuring design principles that inform your practice. Be it gardening, community interactions or transportation. A bit like any form of design really.
I recently bought an eBike which I am having great delight in, zooming through the hills of Wellington. I love storytelling, be it on the receiving end or telling end, from illustrating children’s books to playing Dungeons and Dragons. I love the sea – in it (swims!) and on it (boats!).
K: I love playing with colour and texture and exploring new ideas. I have tried my hand at many creative projects including upcycling furniture and playing with knitting patterns to create unique hot water bottle covers. Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden, creating a colourful and inviting place for me and the wildlife in the area.
And finally, where to next for you? What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
K: This year I am working on leading a team of creative people at Catalyst IT. This is helping me develop a whole new set of skills.
C: I want to focus on celebrating success, both at work and outside of work. I’m constantly working on how to create a better work/life balance with self awareness and better self care and rest practices.