Avalon Martin

Avalon Martin

3rd-year student, Bachelor of Design Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa in Industrial Design with a minor in Digital Fabrication

What she loves most about her studies is the autonomy and the chance to engage in real design projects, says industrial design student Avalon Martin.

“The hands-on experience has enabled me to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, deepening my understanding of industrial design concepts and techniques. For example, our second-year design project was our first taste of independently designing a product and the start of establishing ourselves as real designers.

“I designed and fabricated RETREAT – a dignifying solution to toileting with stoma for ostomy patients – and my project went on to win silver for student industrial design at the Best Awards. It’s probably my proudest achievement because my grandfather struggles living with an ostomy. With this project and award, I was able to showcase my work and establish myself in the professional design world. I’m hoping that one day I can bring the product to life, but I’m stoked that I had the opportunity at AUT to explore an avenue I never thought I’d enjoy – healthcare.”

Expecting to graduate later this year, Avalon says she has a passion for many areas related to industrial design.

“I initially envisioned myself designing coffee machines and my ultimate dream is to design for La Marzocco in Italy. I also admire prop and set construction, and have taken part in the 48Hour Film Competition in the last six years. I love the process of fast-paced prop creation that’s then displayed in a short film, and I’d love to work with Weta Workshops one day to combine my love for working in cinema and designing beautiful artifacts to be captured on screen.

“In addition to my studies, I’m also working part-time as a product developer for BLUNT, a small and busy team that focuses their design ethics and principles around sustainable and beautifully functioning products. I’ve had one of their umbrellas since I was 13 years old, and I could have never dreamt that I’d be working for such a compassionate company. I owe it to AUT for allowing me to build this pathway for myself. Though it’s a daunting task to work here alongside my studies, the two coincide in building skills that define who I am in the design world.”

Choosing AUT
For Avalon, deciding to come to AUT for her studies was easy.

“I opted for AUT due to its strong reputation in industrial design and the endorsement of a respected teacher at my secondary school who had completed her studies there. Additionally, AUT's location in Auckland offered opportunities for networking and exposure to the design industry. I’ve also been fortunate to receive the AUT Find Your Greatness Scholarship and the Student Summer Research Scholarship, which have provided me with financial security, enabling me to focus on my studies and extracurricular activities without the burden of financial stress.”

She says she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend AUT to other students.

“I wholeheartedly endorse studying at AUT due to the outstanding facilities, supportive atmosphere and the industry connections. The university's dedication to innovation and excellence in design education equips students with the skills and knowledge to excel in the competitive design industry.

“I’ve found the student life at AUT enriching due to the charismatic and nurturing cohort that I‘ve been fortunate enough to be a part of, as well as the state-of-the-art facilities. The facilities provided by AUT are cutting-edge, enabling students to explore their creativity and bring their design concepts to fruition. The knowledgeable art and design technicians offer invaluable guidance and assistance, fostering a conducive learning environment.”

Advice for other students
Avalon has some great advice for other students thinking about studying art and design.

“Use the technicians in the art and design facilities as much as you can because no question is a dumb question if it’s hindering your progress. And if you find yourself wondering if what you’re doing is enough, it means you’re passionate about your concept. This may be the drive that you draw upon after you conclude your studies.

“A quote that has stuck with me since my second year was ‘Scale your solution to the scale of the problem’ – design with scale in mind and really understand the scope of your problem before you begin ideation. It’ll save you a lot of time and energy.”

She also has some sound advice around applying for scholarships.

“Ensure you articulate any individual responsibilities you’ve been involved with during secondary school, and emphasise how the financial support will enable you to fully engage in your academic and extracurricular pursuits, ultimately contributing to your personal and professional growth.”