Hannah Small

Graphic Designer
Auckland, NZ
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I'm Hannah. I'm a graphic designer from New Zealand. I'm fascinated by language and how a designer can wrap up a word to evoke meaning. I'm intrigued by design theory and over the past year have become more drawn to ideas involving the systems of design. I have an interest in architecture,  ction and a love of typography.

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Work Experience
Jul 2018 – Sep 2018
Nov 2018
Freelance Designer
Jul 2018 – Sep 2018
Auckland University of Technology
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I have an eye for detail, I'm critical of my work and set a high standard for myself. I have strong technical skills, knowledge of Adobe software and I'm learning FontLab VI.Prior to studying design, I studied at Elam School of Fine Arts for two years where I was introduced to critical thinking. The critical thinking I had developed at Elam carried through to my design projects at Auckland University of Technology. I am most interested in the system behind a design - be it a typeface, brand or book. I try to avoid designing for aesthetics only and find that design without a concept is difficult to resolve. As students, we were constantly reminded of the importance of a strong idea, but having the skillset to execute an idea is as important as the idea itself.I think so much of my perspective is shaped by having lived in New Zealand my whole life. I have come to appreciate that unique position New Zealander's have. We're a diverse, caring bunch of people and I've had such a huge privilege to grow up here. I think that growing up in New Zealand has made me value generosity, and I want to make inviting work that people can engage with.I assume I'm a little older than most of the candidates for this internship - I'm 25 years old. Being more mature means I feel confident I'll be able to handle the stress of travel and cope with the challenges of moving around to different agencies. I have interned previously, my most rewarding internship was with Seachange Studio, where I worked closely with Creative directors Amanda Gaskin and Tim Donaldson. The small team meant that I was fortunate enough to gain insight into their work process and creative partnership.

1. Why are you interested in wgi?

I would love to experience working in a design studio outside New Zealand. Although I do believe the design output of New Zealand studios is world class, I still have a hankering to be exposed to ideas and contribute to work for an international audience.

2. What are you looking to gain from an experience such as WGI?

I'm looking to improve my critical thinking skills. I want to gain confidence and think more critically about my designs and how they are effective. I want to learn how to better communicate my ideas.

3. What would be your goals after completing WGI if you were selected?

I want to continue to work in graphic design and develop my skills in a brand design studio. My long term career goal is to produce my own typefaces and start my foundry.

4. How did you hear about wgi?

I first heard of WGI from The Design Kids post on Instagram. Since then I've been tracking Whitney and Maddy's journey and have seen how much they loved the experience.

5. Share an example of a time you were most motivated and a time you were most demotivated.

I was most motivated when I was working to present my final graduate project for the exhibition. It was a self-directed project that was the culmination of months of research. I had thrown myself in so fully into the project that I had rewards of lightbulb moments. This experience really instilled in me that nothing can replace the value of putting time into a project. The time I remember feeling the most demotivated was when I had left Elam School of Art. I discovered I was better suited for a career in design. I wanted to problem solve and communicate ideas and I felt that the realm of conceptual art was limiting. I felt demotivated as I doubted my decision. To apply for my design degree, I had to learn basic design skills through trial and error. I felt inspired by this return to experimentation and the excitement of learning something new reignited my passion.

6. In your opinion, what creates a great culture at a company?

I think a great culture is created by a company that has trust in employees and allows them freedom. I've found for me that the motivation to work hard often comes from wanting to do my best for my colleagues, more so than the client. When I see them putting in the effort I want to do the same and I enjoy the work more.

7. What brands and companies do you admire and why?

I local agency I admire is Curative, they are a New Zealand agency that is focused on social change. I was so impressed by how quickly they pulled together a campaign for Jacinda Ardern under extreme time pressure. I really also admire Wikipedia. I'm reminded when writing how great Wikipedia in the fallout of the North Face scandal. I feel like Wikipedia really epitomises the hope of what the internet could be - people sharing knowledge. Also, the creative commons library was invaluable to me at University.

8. What do you do to stay sharp and improve your craft?

To improve my craft I muck around with bits of type design almost every morning, I get a lot of enjoyment from it and it has become part of my routine. I think that developing your craft is something that has to be exercised like a muscle. To stay sharp I keep an eye out for inspiration and collect books.

9. What’s your favorite quote?

"Ideas come from under a rock at the back of my head. The idea is already there, but I have to uncover it." — Dean Poole, Alt Group

10. If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

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