Ben Yellowlees

Ben Yellowlees

Freelance Graphic Designer, Benji Design
Bachelor of Design in Communication Design

He has always had a penchant for creating various forms of art, says communication design alumnus Ben Yellowlees who now has his own freelance graphic design business; Benji Design.

“Creating things is an important part of my life. When I was younger I loved drawing, writing and even making videos for my favourite sports teams or TV shows, and putting them on YouTube. As I became an adolescent and eventually an adult, this interest transformed to graphic design, motion graphics, digital animation and filmmaking. I chose to study design, because it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy doing.

“As a freelance designer, I love the freedom to work from home, with my own hours and at my own pace. It also allows me to be creative and put a piece of myself into the world with each bit of work I do. I'm most proud of managing to establish a business relationship with a few clients that I receive regular work from and who have gained a larger audience, in part thanks to my contributions to their business.”

Choosing AUT
Being able to study design at the AUT South Campus was a key reason he chose AUT, says Ben who has spinal muscular atrophy.

“My reason for deciding to go with AUT as my place to study was mainly due to the AUT South Campus in Manukau, which made travelling to study more feasible and accessible, particularly for someone disabled like myself living in South Auckland. AUT's has an excellent reputation, and I knew I'd be getting one of the best design educations available and give myself the greatest chance to succeed.”

There were many highlights throughout his three years at AUT.

“I would absolutely recommend the design degree to anyone wanting to further their design skills. I was blessed with a class filled with great people that I not only enjoyed spending time with and still keep in contact with, but who were also great supporters of mine.

“The lecturers are fantastic, with knowledge to burn, a willingness to help you succeed but also a personable and friendly nature to relate to you, empathise with you and any struggles you may have. The AUT South Campus was also a place that I enjoyed being around. The natural and green environment, the great facilities and the ease of access made studying there relaxing.”

Advice for other students
Ben, who graduated in 2017, has some great advice for other students.

“My advice would be to just have faith in your abilities and know that you're there for a reason. While studying may get challenging at times, those challenges will often get the best out of you and will result in work that you can take immense pride in.”

His greatest challenge while studying at AUT was overcoming his anxiety and being willing to put himself out there, Ben says.

“Before AUT, I was never really comfortable when it came to presenting, talking in front of groups of people, working in groups and facing a lot of critique. These were all activities we took part in constantly during my degree, and it was something I really had to mentally adjust to and get used to.

“AUT helped me overcome this by cultivating a real sense of community and belonging within our degree. There was a real focus on making everybody feel welcome and part of what essentially felt like a family. I think another way AUT helped me overcome my anxiety was by doing everything in its power to make things easier and available to me under my unique circumstances.”