Justine Macabasco

Justine Macabasco

Digital Content Creator, Sprocket Digital
Bachelor of Design in Communication Design & Bachelor of Business in Marketing, Advertising, Retail and Sales

What she loves most about being a designer is the diverse work she gets to create, says Justine Macabasco who now works as a digital content creator for marketing agency Sprocket Digital.

“I use my graphic design and business knowledge in my role as I design social creatives for a range of our clients. With the huge number of clients we have, my day never looks the same and I’m always kept on my toes trying to find an even better way to communicate through design. Because of the many programs that I get to use, there’s always an opportunity to upskill. There’s never a dull day.”

She says she has always had a creative side to her.

“Design was one of the subjects I enjoyed most in high school because it challenged me, which was frustrating and fulfilling at the same time. My mind was always pushed to further develop ideas and this excited me. When I was ready to start university, I decided to add business into the mix because I knew it would be a great opportunity to see things from a different perspective. Being able to learn marketing theories and understand consumer behaviour helped to evolve how I communicate through design.”

Supported to thrive
The culture and study environment is what attracted her to AUT, says Justine whose studies were supported by an AUT Vice-Chancellor Significant Student Scholarship.

“Without a doubt, my highlight at AUT was getting to spend time with my university classmates in the open studio in the design building. It was a place where all design students could study, relax, or enjoy good food. We knew we were all in the same boat; trying to make sense of assessments to get them done in time. I especially enjoyed the late nights in the open studio, and the late night dinners were something for the books.

“I always needed a push throughout university and that’s exactly what my lecturer George Hajian did. I didn’t realise it at the time but if it wasn’t for George, I wouldn’t have pushed myself much further design-wise. He really challenged me and made me think outside the box. So now, the two main questions I ask myself when I design is ‘Why?’ and ‘What would George say?’.”

She is particularly grateful for George’s guidance on her third-year design project; a project that has seen her receive a coveted Best Design Award.

“I was awarded a Best Design Award Gold pin for my third-year project, Sow Your Kultura. This is definitely one of my proudest moments to date as it’s close to my heart. My publication explores ideas about Filipino culture, identity and heritage through a second-generation migrant's eyes. It delves into family heirlooms that were brought and preserved in New Zealand, including language and food. The journey of the project was not easy, so to see it acknowledged is something I’m super grateful for.”

Advice for other students
Having graduated from AUT in 2020, Justine has some great advice for other students.

“Don’t be discouraged when things get tough. Instead allow it to be a chance for you to push yourself to do things you never thought you could. Success never looks the same for everyone, so find out what you believe is successful and work towards it.”

Take advantage of what is on offer at AUT, she adds.

“Make the most of the resources provided to you and always ask questions – this alone will be the start of your growth in the design world.”

More about Justine and her work

*The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design. The Marketing, Advertising, Retail and Sales major in the Bachelor of Business is now known as the Marketing major.