I fell in love with design in high school like many people do. I remember procrastinating on all of my other homework to finish my design projects. For me, I got lucky in Year 13 (I’m from New Zealand) when a magazine cover I designed was selected for my high school’s annual magazine. Chris, the printer, got in contact with me and mentored me throughout Year 13. I was completely spoilt that year with all of my work being printed on the loveliest stocks and great print quality. Not quite offset, but I got the HP Indigo.
I think internships are fantastic! Earlier this year I was very lucky to land one with Paoli Smith, a Richmond based studio and I have had the best experience. I get to work in a beautiful studio on creative projects and I’m surrounded by talented and knowledgeable people who are very indulgent of me and my never-ending questions. Even better, I get paid. As a second year student, people often wonder how I ended up with an internship. Andrew Paoli, Art Director, told me that he gave me the job simply because I asked for one.
Bit of a personal one. I have been compiling a book for my dad who died of pancreatic cancer in January 2015. He was the biggest supporter of my pursuit of design. It’s been hard but in doing a project like this I have discovered many new aspects of his life that I wasn’t a part of. It has given me a bigger and clearer picture of who he was and letting that manifest in my design has been rewarding. I’m also going to be translating it into Chinese to retain my Dad’s heritage. Designing in a different language provides a new and challenging task in itself.
As a student I am still learning but here are some things that I have found helpful so far:
1. Don’t let the thought of not being ‘good enough’ stop you from pursuing what you want. Apply for that internship that you don’t think you’ll get. It’s about getting yourself out there.
2. Engage with your lecturers and tutors. They have incredible insight on the industry and sometimes they’ll be the ones to help you get your foot through the door.
3. Ask questions! Cliched, I know. But I have pestered the senior designers at Paoli Smith and learnt invaluable things.
4. Don’t stress about grades. Uni is one of the best times to push your design and attempt new things as there are no client restrictions. A failed experiment still has value.
I have been very privileged to be given the Art Director role for Monash Uni’s Esperanto magazine. The prospect of doing something like this with only the experience of two years of uni is really quite daunting. But at the same time it’s incredibly exciting and I cannot wait to tackle a project like this. I am also entering my third and final year of uni so there’s that. In my personal life I would love to do more travelling. I went away to Italy this year on a study abroad program and the travel bug has gotten me.
The role TDK plays is bridging the gap between the design industry and students. It is a rare and wonderful resource for students as it allows us to connect directly with industry leaders. TDK is also a great platform for students to showcase their work and gain more exposure. It really allows us to put ourselves out there to an appropriate audience. TDK has personally helped me by giving me the best shoutout. It’s been an honour to be on the list of top 16 designers to watch in 2016.