2024 Hot New Things: Olivia Reihana and Michelle Jung, Otago Polytechnic

4 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 Olivia Reihana and Michelle Jung, who both recently graduated from the  Communication Design programme at Otago Polytechnic. You can find out more about Aotearoa NZ creative study options by visiting our design schools page.


Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Michelle: Kia Ora, I am Michelle, and I’m originally from South Korea. I live in Dunedin. I moved to New Zealand in 2008, where I raised my own family for a long time. My spouse and I have been residing in Dunedin for the past 15 years, together with our two adorable kids. Having family support was crucial to continuing the design study. I enjoy expressing myself creatively and taking on new challenges. I became more aware of who I am, what I love, and where my limitations are so that I can get past them while studying design.

Olivia: Kia Ora, I am Olivia Reihana, and I proudly call the charming township of Tapanui in West Otago my home. Throughout my formative years, my heart has always been split between a deep love for both art and sports. However, as my school days drew to a close, I decided to embark on a new chapter and relocated to Dunedin to pursue a Bachelor of Design.

What did your graduating projects focus on?

This year for our Design Studio major project, we worked in a team of two; Olivia and Michelle, to complete the Debrief exhibition. Debrief is a graduate exhibition for third-year students completing their degree in Product Fashion and Communication Design. The main goal is to recognise and honour the student’s hard work over three years. We collaborated throughout this project to finish all of the required deliverables, including Web, Spatial, Publication, and Marketing.

Our main focus was on challenging different branding compared to previous years. That was bringing manual technique that we have learned from design school or outside of school. Challenging sustainability was a big part of it too.  

Why did you choose to study at Otago Polytechnic?

Michelle: I selected Otago Polytechnic for a number of reasons. The key factors are the convenient time period for parent students and the location. If the time and location are too difficult for me, I may not be able to study full-time. Other reasons for choosing Otago Polytechnic included the pleasant environment, excellent facilities, and high rates of employment. 

Olivia : I opted to enrol at Otago Polytechnic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, its proximity to my hometown was a significant factor, making it a practical choice. Yet, beyond the convenience, the course itself turned out to be everything I was looking for. Otago Polytechnic offered a welcoming environment coupled with a structured approach to learning.

What truly resonated with me was the program’s commitment to delving deep into bicultural values. This emphasis not only aligns with my values but also enhances the overall educational experience by fostering a rich and inclusive learning environment.

Choosing Otago Polytechnic has proven to be a rewarding decision, providing me with not just academic knowledge but also a broader cultural perspective.

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

Michelle: Everything about the course was enjoyable, including the new knowledge, creativity, difficulties, people, and numerous projects like photography, book design, UI and UX design, branding, client projects, and so on. I appreciated the last project Design studio major the most since it gave me the opportunity to put my skills as an independent designer to the test.

Olivia: The diverse range of briefs we encountered during my time at Otago Polytechnic was particularly enjoyable, especially the real client projects that allowed us to extend our network into the community. Each assignment presented a unique learning opportunity, enabling me to appreciate various processes.

One significant lesson I’ve embraced is the importance of not fixating too much on the outcome. Instead, I’ve learned to savour the moment and trust in my abilities. This shift in perspective has not only enhanced my creative approach but has also contributed to a more enriching learning experience overall.

The real-world application of our skills through client projects has been invaluable, fostering both personal and professional growth.

Together you both helped design the branding, spatial, website and yearbook for Debrief this year. Did one of you come up with the concept and the other execute the design or was it more of a collaborative process the entire way through?

Our Debrief project kicked off as a 6-week endeavour with a collaborative team of four. Together, we delved into the creative process, brainstorming ideas, and ultimately crafting a concept that served as the foundation for the project. As a team, we not only conceptualised the vision but also took on the task of developing the branding and applications associated with it.

Our journey continued with the Studio Major, a phase that saw our team reduced to a dynamic duo, each tasked with a myriad of deliverables. As a team of two, we embarked on a comprehensive exploration of the interplay between materials and aesthetics, breathing life into our branding across various applications.

In this phase, My focus (Olivia) honed in on the website, channelling my expertise into creating a digital representation of our brand. Simultaneously, I (Michelle) took charge of the yearbook to expand the branding furthermore throughout the space, and together, we seamlessly integrated our skills to complete spatial and marketing assets.

The collaborative effort not only showcased the synergy between our strengths but also underscored the versatility required in navigating different facets of design. This phase was not just about meeting deliverables; it was an immersive experience in the multifaceted world of design applications.

Can you walk us through your design process for the project? Did any challenges come up? If so, how did you both navigate them? 

We first developed a brand concept that represented the students’ growth and transformative journey in the design school, highlighting their potential and flexibility through visually striking manual effects. Our design methodology was inspired by manual processes. Through the use of malleable materials such as paint, water, ink, and light, the images depict the designers’ dynamic development. These resources represent the students’ creative process’ flexibility and adaptability, demonstrating their capacity to form a wide range of concepts. From that point on, our primary responsibility was to apply these resources to each asset to establish consistency among all touchpoints. With arms full of exciting materials to work with, we would enter the photography room and begin our all-day experiments. We would combine the use of overhead projectors with a bowl of water and ink to create an amazing effect on the wall. From there, we would take pictures of what we were looking at, and this would be the final product that we would use for our posters, Instagram, and merchandise.

The process of designing a space turned out to be very challenging and intricate. We would spend our days in meetings with various people, discussing where to put plinths, panels, and lighting systems. Our installations presented many challenges. We struggled to figure out how to join our materials and then hang them from the ceiling. Nevertheless, with some guidance and problem-solving techniques, we tried several approaches and eventually became skilled with a sewing machine.

A true educational experience was our film Deliverable, which we expanded upon. Although none of us had any filmmaking experience, we agreed it would be a good idea to work with students studying product, fashion, and communication design to make a marketing film that would be featured on the website. We had to become proficient with all the new gear for this movie, including Premier Pro, lighting, and audio. Due to content loss, we had to reschedule another film day into our already busy schedules, which posed our largest challenge for the film deliverables. Being able to push the envelope and pull everything together depended on our mutual support throughout.

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

Olivia: For my part, I am most pleased with the work I completed for Debrief 2023. Both inside and outside of the classroom, my confidence grew. It allowed me to network with many people on campus and take advantage of all that Otago Polytechnic has to offer. Using tools like a dark room, laser cutter, screen printing, sewing, and photography—all of which I had the good fortune to learn during this project. It allowed me to delve deeper into the interplay of ideas, materials, and aesthetics, which has significantly enriched my approach to design. This experience has inspired my commitment to nurturing collaboration and innovation in all my future endeavours. 

Michelle: I’m the same feeling; I’m extremely proud of the Debrief 2023 project in my portfolio as it encapsulates everything I’ve learnt, if not more….. I’ll never forget how efficiently we performed together as a team and how nicely we collaborated with the production team. The innovation in the brand concept was enormous, and many obstacles confronted our team on a daily basis; but, I and we took over them, and here we are.

What’s next for you?

Olivia: My next plans are to continue my studies at Otago Polytechnic for a full year and investigate the opportunities available for an Honours in Design. My future endeavours are up in the air, but they will probably involve expanding my horizons and leaving my comfort zone of Dunedin.

Michelle: My next step is to come out of my comfort zone and do other challenges.I am looking for a job to apply my skills to the real industry. I am excited for my next chapter of my life as a designer.

How can people get in touch or see more of your work? 

View the Debrief website – design.ac.nz and on insta @debrief_23

Olivia: If you are interested in seeing more of my work you can view my Portfolio: https://oliviareihana.myportfolio.com/work

Email: Olivia.reihana@icloud.com

Instagram: @Oliviareihanadesigns_

Michelle: email will be the most handy channel for me and follow my instagram.

Email: wisdomjjm@gmail.com

https://michellejung.myportfolio.com/

@artyjjm

2024 Hot New Things: Adam de Jong, Victoria University Wellington – Te Herenga Waka

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, […]

4 weeks ago by

Under the Hood with Stacey Morrissey, Design Director at Spruik

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, […]

4 weeks ago by

2024 Hot New Things: Judy Jin, University of Auckland

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, […]

4 weeks ago by

2024 Hot New Things: Olivia Brandeis-Mclellan, Victoria University Wellington – Te Herenga Waka

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, […]

4 weeks ago by