2024 Hot New Things: Charlotte Warrington, Wintec
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 Charlotte Warrington, who recently graduated from the Visual Communication programme at 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?
Well, I moved over to the Waikato from the UK back in 2012. I studied beauty therapy and started up my own business back in 2018 which I’ve maintained the running of whilst studying (@frecklecobeauty on Instagram if you fancied having a nosy!)
During the first lockdown I really felt like I needed to mix things up a bit, as well as finding a career which could be a bit more ‘secure,’ should something like Covid happen again, given that I really couldn’t offer services during that time. I’ve always been creative, I loved art back in high school and I had a friend who was studying design at Wintec and couldn’t rave about it enough, so I decided to take the plunge the following year!
What did your graduating project focus on?
I’m a lover of typography and I have quite a defining style, in that I feel like you can generally look at a piece of work I’ve created and say “Charlotte did that.” So my aim was to really push the boat out and try some new things, as well as show some versatility within my abilities. I found this beautiful old poetry book at Browsers Book Store down The Riverbank Lane in Hamilton (such a hidden gem with little reading nooks and a café next door). The book was a 6th Edition from author Rudyard Kipling, arguably best known for writing The Jungle Book. However in the back of said book, was handwritten cursive poetry from the original owner, with the initials C. V. Swabey in the front cover. It took a while, but we managed to decipher a few of these poems and I decided to utilise these as my content. I developed a Blackletter inspired typeface through Glyphs, then going on to use this to screen print, cross-stitch and laser cut verses of these poems. I un-stitched the book, added my content and then re-bound it back together. The idea was really to focus on getting away from solely using the computer and to try out some new, more tactile methods of design. My work is usually extremely refined and tidy- I can be somewhat of a perfectionist- so I wanted to get my hands dirty and show that I can create something which has more of an ‘edge’ to it.
Why did you choose to study at Wintec?
I’d heard great things from a few people I’d known that attended Wintec over the years and when contemplating a career change, I went and met with a couple of the tutors who were all extremely welcoming and happy to take me on the following year. I didn’t have a portfolio from High School days with having already been working for quite some years, so I feel they really took a chance by accepting me!
What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?
I’ve enjoyed my time SO much, I really couldn’t have wished for a better experience overall. I think that my biggest takeaway would be to have fun with your assignments, especially your more self-directed ones, because once you’re out there and working, you aren’t going to get that same freedom to do whatever you want. Try some wild, crazy things, push the boat out and get outside of your comfort zone!
It’s difficult to say what one thing I’ve enjoyed the most, it’s been fun finding what my style is and where I might fit into the industry. I did love learning to design type, it’s something I’m really passionate about and I could spend hours trawling different websites trying to find the *perfect* typeface for any given project.
Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?
I love using colour! I know that sounds SO silly, but I’m generally quite a neutral person. I always tend to reach for the same few colours when choosing clothing and homewares etc. so I’ve surprised myself over the past few years – my palette has really expanded.
What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?
TIME MANAGEMENT. I think it’s something I’ll always have to work on in all honesty. In hindsight I’m not sure that running a business in my free time was a great idea, haha. I’m inclined to spread myself a bit thin and it definitely led to a few early morning starts to get last minute bits done! I really decreased my client load over the past year and I think that was beneficial, especially going into my final year with the workload ramping up. I also found that writing lists and being able to tick things off as I went really helped with just getting stuff done.
Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick graphic design as a career path?
Honestly I think that I hadn’t even really considered design as a career path before chatting with a few friends during lockdown. I hadn’t taken design in my high school days, so I don’t think I even really quite understood what it entailed until I looked into it further.
Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
That’s a really hard question because I have quite a few pieces in there that I love! I think that the branding projects I’ve worked on this year in particular are some of my strongest pieces. They really allowed me to find my style and I’ve worked with a lot more colour than I have done in previous years. The re-brand that I did for Rent with C allowed me to explore some studio photography which had a grungy yet editorial feel about it, whilst the branding itself felt elegant, but still fun.
What’s next for you?
Well I’ve been offered an exciting opportunity as a Junior Designer with a great company up in Auckland, which will definitely be a change for me in re-locating again, except this time it’s only an hour and a half’s drive away instead of a 24+ hour plane journey, haha. I’m excited to see what the future has to bring and the ways in which I can continue to learn and push myself creatively!
How can people get in touch or see more of your work
My Instagram is studio_fern or you can contact me via e-mail on email@example.com