Sabrina David

Sabrina David

Founder, More than Words / Freelance Designer
Bachelor of Design in Communication Design

She loves the impact a designer’s work can make, says communication design alumna Sabrina David who has launched her own business, More than Words, and also works as freelance designer.

“We often underestimate our roles as creatives – we have a lot of power to create the same amount of impact through our work as a doctor or a lawyer. Because of that, I believe we shouldn’t just be producing aesthetically pleasing work, but work that can make a change, however small or big. Visual communication is even more critical now in the space of a global pandemic. The responsibility of designers and the difference creatives can make is huge in a world that sits in anxiety and fear.”

She herself is proud of being able to support people through her designs.

“I’m incredibly proud to have been able to launch my own business, More than Words, which offers designed resources to support social workers, youth workers, children’s workers, counsellors, therapists, teachers and other helping professions, and in turn support the mental wellbeing of our rangatahi.

“More than Words was originally my AUT graduation project, and I’m proud that it’s now commercially available in New Zealand and Australia, and used by various organisations, companies, clinics, schools, churches and workers. I’m genuinely grateful to also have the project recognised by the design community through the Kātoitoi Archive and the Best Awards where I received a Gold pin in the Public Good Awards design category. It had always been an aspiration to receive a pin in the Best Awards, but never had I thought I could receive a Gold pin, especially for a student project! But most of all, seeing the resource used is incredibly rewarding. It pushes me to pursue projects that can make an impact.”

An unforgettable experience
After leaving high school in Year 13 to pursue freelance design work, Sabrina became intrigued by the idea of studying communication design to further develop her skills. This interest soon took her to AUT.

“I saw that the design work coming out of AUT was of such a high calibre and really reflected what I saw out in the professional design industry. I wanted to be part of that! After heaps of praise and recommendation for AUT from my art and design teachers, and a personal meeting with a wonderful AUT representative, it was clear that AUT was the place I wanted to grow my creative aspirations.”

It's a decision she hasn’t regretted, and she still has fond memories of her time at AUT.

“I went into the degree to study communication design, but I came out of it with so much more. I got to study with such a wonderful community of creatives; working alongside them on projects late into the night at the open studio space dedicated to just design students.

“Another highlight for me was developing work with the amazing resources and facilities at hand, like the screen-printing room and the bookbinding studio. I enjoyed being guided by tutors who are extremely passionate about what they teach and who treat you as designers and not just as ‘students’. Being in the centre of town also really added to the overall atmosphere of studying.”

Advice for other students
Sabrina has some great advice for other students thinking about studying design.

“Be open to critique from your tutors and your peers. Inviting the voice of others to help you get the best out of your work is really important. Don’t quickly settle at the beginning of the ideation process, keep pushing and developing. Having a sense of openness is crucial – being a designer demands it.”

You need to recognise the impact you have as a designer, she adds.

“I want to encourage future AUT design students to never underestimate their craft. Just because we might not be considered doctors, lawyers or scientists, we still have a lot of power to make the same amount of impact through our work.”

More about Sabrina and her work

*The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design. The Product Design major is now called Industrial Design.