Internship Provides Opportunity to Create

Internship Provides Opportunity to Create

Emerging graphic designer and soon-to-be graduate Kirstin McLachlan sought out an internship at just the right place. A tenacious student designer, Kirstin invested time looking for a suitable placement that would combine her love of art, with her ambition to gain real-world graphic design skills. After a lengthy search, all roads led to Creative Waikato – it was a perfect fit. Read on to hear about Kirstin’s internship experience, creative briefs, and her satisfaction when seeing her designs ‘driving around the Waikato’.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Kirstin McLachlan, lover of art and animals, I am currently in my third year of studying BMA Graphic Design at Wintec.

Can you tell us about the internship paper you are doing at Media Arts?
For the internship paper, I was required to go out and find a suitable placement for me to gain relevant experience. I found myself emailing various different design studios and advertising agencies with either no reply or a friendly ‘no’, but I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. I emailed Creative Waikato asking if they might know of any graphic design internship opportunities in Hamilton and they ended up taking me on for themselves. So my internship experience as their in-house graphic designer.

Tell me about the goals of your internship at Creative Waikato?
Some of my goals were: To improve my time management, learn about working in a professional environment, apply my graphic design skills to real-life projects and gain experience working to a client brief.

During your internship you completed some design work for Creative Waikato, what was the most rewarding design challenge?
Creative Waikato gave me a few design projects, but the most personally rewarding project was the car branding.  They challenged me to create a design that would be cohesive with their existing branding, communicate who they are and to ‘not look corporate’ for their vehicle.

How did you resolve that challenge?
I tried out a few different design styles, I went to them with 3 draft ideas and luckily they chose my favourite idea, the doodles. They liked the idea of a not so typical ‘Kiwiana’ look you see a lot these days, and they liked how the expressive cute doodles portrayed the arts. I looked around their office for ideas and I was really inspired by Paul’s Creative Waikato map illustration that’s on their wall, I also googled a lot for reference material. If you look closely you can see a Moa, mountains,  kowhai trees, a tui, a hot air balloon, the list goes on. I even snuck in a cow udder and a cheeky gumboot.

It’s a thrill for Kirstin McLachlan to see her design on Creative Waikato’s vehicle.

What results did this piece achieve?
While creating this design I gained knowledge of working to a brief, but I also learnt how to express my creative style within the constraints. I learnt how to work closely with a signwriter which is something I had not done before. The idea of my designs driving around the Waikato was a little bit daunting at first but now that I can see it applied, it’s pretty cool.

Thanks to Kirstin McLachlan for sharing her learning experience with us and thanks to Creative Waikato for providing a challenging and productive creative internship for one of our students.

You can find out more about the course credit you gain when you undertake an internship at Wintec on our website.

Internship Opportunity for Etana Zaguri

Internship Opportunity for Etana Zaguri
After finishing her secondary school studies at Morrisville College, Etana Zaguri raced off to learn the craft of graphic design in the studios of Media Arts, Wintec. 
In her third year of study, Etana successfully applied for an intern position at AREA Design. During her internship, she’s been an integral part of this year’s Spark Festival design process. This diverse and inspiring learning experience has made a lasting impression on Etana’s creative practice and professional outlook toward the graphic design industry.

Where are you from originally? Did you study design in secondary school?
I’m from Morrinsville. I took all arts in High School and wanted to do art but then by the third year I didn’t do an art portfolio because I was just over it. It wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Graphics wasn’t available in my school; it was more architecturally focused.

How did you find out about Media Arts?
One of my friends was doing painting and sculpture at Media Arts, and I would always ask her about it and how it was going. She said that I would love it.

What has been the most significant part of your time here at Media Arts?

I think that teachers make a big impact!

Can you describe a typical graphic design lesson?
We will often sit down at the front of the classroom, and our teacher will give us a tutorial. We would then go back to our computers in pairs or by ourselves and to work through the task, or skills we had learnt from the tutorial.

Alan Deare and Etana Zaguri working at AREA Design HQ.

How did you get this internship with AREA design?
In the January holidays, my tutor Luke emailed me about an internship opportunity that had come up. If we wanted to do it, we were to let Luke know to then come in to do an interview. Yeah, I came in to do an interview, and then after meeting with Alan, he decided to give me a chance.

What did you first do in your internship role?
I did research.

Was it different from studying?
It was similar; I looked at visual, then type and layouts.

What skills have you developed during your internship?
Indesign, I know a lot more about that program. A few new photoshop skills like layers, to extend backgrounds and CMYK quad-tones.

The AREA Design studio where Etana completed her internship.

How have you found juggling the Internship and your study at Media Arts?

It’s been good, at the start I came in a couple of times while I was doing my assignments. But I nearly completed the whole thing in the Semester break.

Would you recommend other students to take up an internship opportunity?
Yeah, definitely! You get the knowledge of what happens in the real world, whereas when you are given a brief at tech, you have a lot more options compared to the reality.

A massive thanks go out to Etana for her contribution to the Spark Festival design. See it for yourself on our Spark Festival website.

Thanks to AREA design for imparting your wisdom onto our students and allowing them to gain significant insight into the graphic design industry. 

We pride ourselves on being connected with the creative industry in the Waikato region, find out more about our internship opportunities here.


Six Typesetting Tips for Aspiring Graphic Designers.

Six Typesetting Tips for Aspiring Graphic Designers.

Our year two Media Arts students have been studying typesetting and publication design with graphic design tutor Jordan Foster. Jordan is a graduate from The school of Media Arts and we are  fortunate to have him return as a tutor with four years industry experience under his belt. The thing he loves most about teaching is seeing the students take pride in their work. Read on to learn more about typesetting from Jordan and see some examples of his students superb work.

The written language is a fundamental method of communicating. We use the written language to share new ideas through essays and papers, to tell stories of fictional characters living in haunted hotels and to convey various philosophies and theologies to a wide audience. In fact the printing press itself played a huge role in the cultural shift of our society from a tool-using culture to one that is being lead by technology.  Nevertheless the written word is about conveying information. Typography being the forms of the latin alphabet is the process of making this information, more visible.

So what is typesetting?

Typesetting is the process of selecting and arranging type for a particular document. In our case that document is a novel. As I write this it sounds incredibly simple, but be aware that type-setting is a laborious process that requires exceptional attention to detail, something all designers should be striving to acquire.

So how do we set type effectively?

Being a technical process there are some key ‘rules’ or tips that we can follow to ensure that our typesetting isn’t sub-par.

1. No Widows or Orphans.
Perhaps the worst terminology used in our industry but nevertheless one of the most important things to avoid. A widow or orphan is a very short line, usually 1 – 3 words at the end of a paragraph or column. (even worse if it’s on a new page). Whether the word is short or long avoid these guys at all costs. They create uneven space and interrupt the reader.

2. No 2-letter hyphens.
Hyphens can be your friend, they allow for better spacing within a block of text, however a hyphen that has been created with 2 or less characters at the start or end create odd shapes and thus distract from the overall reading of the copy.

3. Leading.
Leading is the space between lines and although people suggest minimum amounts I think the best way to assess wether your leading is good is to read the content. I akin leading to rhythm, the looser it is the slower it is to read, the tighter your leading the faster, find a balance and set a good pace for the reader.

4. Line length.
If your lines are too short or long then the information becomes hard to read. A good rule of thumb is anything shorter than 5 and it becomes too hard to read as your eyes need to shift constantly, anything over 15 and it becomes to hard to read because your eyes get lost in the next line. Again find a balance.

Like everything else in Type you need to find a balance.

5. Punctuation formatting.
This is my personal pet peeve. Use curly quotes for quote marks or apostrophes, not prime marks (straight ones used to indicate inches or feet). Use option+colon for ellipses, not 3 periods, Use En-dashes for duration where you can substitute “to” and “through”. Em-dashes are for a credit line or for a break in thought in a sentence. These three marks are not interchangeable and are akin to using the wrong pronouns for people, these things need to make sense. Although a small detail the use of the correct ones is a mark of professionalism.

6. Tracking.
Tracking is the space between characters as a whole within a word. If your tracking is too loose you end up with too much space and the text becomes laborious to read. If your tracking is too tight then the type becomes too hard to read as the characters begin to merge into each other. Like everything else in Type you need to find a balance.


These are just a few of the key guidelines to setting body copy in an attractive way. If you remember one thing it’s that the less obvious your type is, the more successful your typesetting is and the more enjoyable the experience for the reader.

A massive thanks to Jordan for taking us through his tips on getting Type right and thanks to the students who have contributed their work.

Want to produce your own professional quality books like these? Find out more about studying Graphic Design at The school of Media Arts here.


Wintec talent proves to be the Best

Wintec talent proves to be the Best

Congratulations to Alan Deare, Mark Purdom, Shari Baker, and Luke McConnell for being nominated in 2016’s Best Awards, and for attaining the awards they received. Please click on the images or text links below to read more on the Best Awards website.
From Certainty to Doubt


Purdom and Deare won Gold in the Editorials and Books category for ‘From Certainty to Doubt’






McConnell and Baker won bronze in the Nga Aho – Student category for:

Korero: A gathering of stars, a gathering of stories

We’re very proud of you all.

An interview with Tomairangi Nikora

An interview with Tomairangi Nikora

(Text reprinted from Waikato Careers NZ PDF. Tomairangi Nikora is a 2015 Bachelor of Media Arts graduate who specialised in graphic design.)

Inspiring graphic design graduate Tomairangi Nikora is the creative mind behind the visual identity of this year’s Waikato Careers Festival.

Careers New Zealand spoke to Tomairangi about her pathway to pursuing a career in graphic design, her vision for the Festival logo and what it symbolises.

We learnt from Tomairangi that you can’t underestimate developing strong contacts and networks, that collaboration is an important attribute in developing ideas and concepts and to follow your heart and mind when making career choices.

tnikoraAt what age did you realise you wanted to study graphic design?

Coming straight out of high-school, I’d hoped that my future would be anchored by art, no matter the path that I chose to explore. Those who know me best will understand that I am a very indecisive person. On making the decision to study I knew and had every intention to study the arts – but the specific domain or pathway within the arts was fairly inconclusive right up until my second year of study.

Wintec gifted opportunities to discover and mature, it essentially gifted time to make a potentially life-altering decision. Graphic design stuck, it made sense from that point onwards.

What was your journey to getting involved in graphic design – and who supported you e.g. family, teachers, career advisors?

It all started with curiosity. Curiosity to acquire knowledge of the arts and its accompaniments. I have always been one who tries to append the arts to my journeys in one way or another, always looking for ways to unearth and delve the passages of creativity. So again, my excitement revolves around and thrives from the arts – I was brought up in a family who shared great appreciation for the culture of learning and being educated. I grew up living around, if not breathing, Apple products so the digital-age came easy.

Admittedly, I was the kid in school who focused on drawing pretty borders and accentuating my school work with pictures of irrelevance rather than concentrating on the content at hand. I suppose my upbringing manifests the foundation to my chosen pathway of graphic design.

With such an upbringing as my own comes beautiful parents who’ve supported me right from the get go, and who I acknowledge to being my muse time and time again.

I also have to recognise my tutors and teachers through the years, who’ve collectively contributed to my perception and understanding of the arts. It always comes back to the people you meet along the way that makes it all the more worthwhile.

careersfestivalHow did you get involved in the Waikato Careers Festival?

At the time, I was studying a module called ‘Brand Campaign’ which focuses on the growth of branding practices and application. My tutor of this module often emailed students with events and activities happening in and around the art community. One subject of interest had arisen, which was a call for volunteers for the Waikato Careers Festival team (WCF). WCF searching for a number of volunteers in various fields – one of which was graphic design. I’d expressed my interest and received a phone call soon after from Festival co-ordinator Sarah Nash. Since that point of contact it all propelled from there. Contacts. They are a stunning asset.

What is the story behind the Festival logo – i.e. the symbolism and meaning behind it?

I see it as the interlocking, the interweaving of pathways. It is with understanding that through every turn we are in strength self-directing and autonomously building the foundation to our course. It may alter along the way; it may offer progression or hindrance; it may introduce us to others who contribute one way or another; it may force us to encounter obstacles worth mastering. At the end of the day it may just be that turning point we aspire, we seek, we aim to realise which drives the heart and mind of our chosen career path.

What have you learnt from your experiences working on the Waikato Careers Festival visual identity?

The abundance of ambition and charisma that the Waikato Careers Festival team has, I hope reflects in the way that I have designed its identity. I admire their energy and from that it’s about echoing the core essence of WCF out to its audiences in a clear, outward-bound way.

Although working closely with the team to develop the image and character of the Festival, there was a lot of autonomy in designing. One must consider the values and principles of each contributor but so too find middle-ground. WCF’s visual identity was a collaborative effort, as is the practices of the Festival itself. So the treatment for designing this logo is one of a collective nature, both in ideas and concepts, thoughts and reasons. Collaboration. It’s an attribute that I have a high regard for and has been a learning curve worth accepting.

What are your future career aspirations?

As I’ve always said, I do hope that my future, whatever path I choose to explore, will be anchored by art. I could not possibly imagine never being connected to a world of imagination and expression where anything is truly possible.

Dust settles from chalk battle

Dust settles from chalk battle
The winning work
The winning work by Brendon Dudley

Graphic Design students faced off for another ‘Graphic Break’ lunchtime event this month. The last battle involved a high-speed Photoshop competition, but this one took students back to a traditional medium – the chalk board.

Catherine Leet & Amber Rogers took on Brendon Dudley in an attempt to create the best chalk display at lightning pace. Both teams did a fantastic job in a short timeframe, but it was Brendon Dudley who came out on top on the day.

Prizes for Graphic Break are kindly provided by Gordon Harris art supplies on Anglesea St, who also give Wintec students a 10% discount with ID.



Design graduate heads to New York

Raewyn Brandon

New York – concrete jungle where dreams are made? Media Arts Graphic Design graduate Raewyn Brandon hopes so. She’s just secured a 6-month internship with Behance Network, a popular online portfolio platform which helps creative professionals share their work, and is excited about the opportunity. “It will be awesome meeting new people and exploring a new city!”

Nyne campaign

Raewyn first applied for the internship via the Behance website, and happened to get chatting to the company founder a few days later. “He offered for me to pop by if I was ever around, and I proposed my extreme interest in the internship position. Four days later, it was confirmed that I was going to New York! “ She leaves on February 17th and will start the internship three days later.

Campaign for Adam & Eve law firm

Raewyn has been a fan of the Behance website for some time and uses it regularly to show her own work. Her profile has gained traffic over the last month, and also opened up lots of other opportunities and connections with people in the industry, she says. “I am constantly getting emails from using Behance. It’s great hearing positive feedback about your work.”

She is particularly looking forward to working on the branding for the ‘99% Conference’, an event run by Behance. “It’s crazy to think that I will be a part of a company and brand that I have always looked up to. It will be awesome to see the roll-out of the conference and experience the whole thing! I also can’t wait to simply be in New York.”

Website assignment for Auckland Arts Festival

The last months of the Bachelor of Media Arts degree were a study highlight for Raewyn. “Although it was hard out and crazy busy, I loved the last little bit of the course – all the late nights with my friends and exciting preparation for the end of year exhibition!” She enjoyed being able to show family and friends the fruit of her labours at that final showcase exhibition.

Those who are creative for the love of it are Raewyn’s main inspiration. “People and companies like Behance who love what they do and have a passion from deep down inspire me. As for my future, this opportunity has widened my perspective and pushed my dreams even further then I thought I could go. I hope to own my own graphic design company one day, maybe even in New York.”

See more of Raewyn’s work at

Martha Goes Green…in a 2012 Calendar

[singlepic id=771 w=320 h=240 float=left]From the creators of the Martha Goes Green cookbook that was sold in countries all over the World, now comes a 2012 Calendar for those who like the greener side of life.

Wintec BMA graduates Rosie Percival and Ruth Friedlander are food authors who love to cook and enjoy the simple approach to making a healthy and scrumptious vegetarian meal.

Rosie tells that the 2012 Seasonal Recipe Calendar is especially for those who love to explore different styles of cooking, embracing the variety of food from all of the seasons.

“Our calendar is a celebration of the seasons and presents the home cook with recipes for spring greens, summer market tomatoes, autumn orchard apples, warming winter root vegetables and countless other seasonal offerings in between”.

The calendar is designed in a similar format to that of the cookbook; as it opens out to a cute 2xA4 size and features important dates and public holidays for the antipodean.

It’s printed in Melbourne, Australia on FSC recycled paper and other eco-friendly goodness.

The calendar is available to send within Australia and New Zealand only, and costs $22 (AU) including postage.

For a limited time you can purchase both the cookbook and the calendar for $10 off of the original purchase price – $42 (AU) for postage within Australia, and $47 (AU) for postage to New Zealand.

If you order one as a present they will happily gift-wrap the calendar in recycled wrapping paper, decorated with a festive stamp as well as yours and the lucky recipients name, and post it off to your friend or loved one on your behalf.

To check out or purchase the calendar and the cookbook visit