Freelance Graphic Designer
Bachelor of Design in Communication Design
Design was something he always wanted to do, says Tola Thach who completed his Bachelor of Design in Communication Design in 2021 and now works as a freelance graphic designer.
“I often have moments when I look at existing designs and think, ‘I can do it better’. After enjoying design class in high school, studying design at a tertiary level felt like a natural progression.
“I wanted to find a study option that encourages critical thinking, industry standard procedures and design problem-solving. I also wanted to be in an environment where I had support from professional designers and my lecturers.”
When AUT staff came to his school to discuss study options with students, Tola realised that AUT’s communication design degree was the perfect fit for him. However, he first decided to attend AUT’s UniPrep programme to better prepare himself for university.
“During my summer break, I attended 2018’s UniPrep, AUT's free university preparation programme. There, I made a lot of friends, developed a better understanding of university life and a sense of belonging.”
Challenging students’ approach to design
He would highly recommend the Bachelor of Design to others, says Tola who received a Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholarship to support his studies.
“I like that it challenged my design thinking. The programme puts you through a cycle of feedback and reiterations until a well-considered solution is made. I also appreciated that AUT has employability services and workshops that can help you become more employable when you’re ready to start your career. For example, I found my job now thanks to the AUT talenthub.”
A remark from his photography lecturer proved to be eye-opening for Tola.
“I remember my photography lecturer telling me that as creatives, we are culture makers. This opened my view of what a creative could also be. As creatives, we don’t just make things that look cool; our work could be a part of someone’s culture and identity. There’s a story and ideology that we communicate in our work that people consume and becomes a part of who they are. As a designer, I should design according to my target audience’s needs rather than my own.”
Advice for other students
Tola has some great advice for other students.
“My advice for students is to be open to trying new things and expanding your ideation process beyond the surface levels. You should also take advantage of the facilities at AUT – facilities like the bookbinding and photographic studios helped me turn my ideas into tangible outcomes.”
It’s important not to take things personally, he adds.
“Don’t look at your critiques as personal attacks. Instead, look at them as a learning opportunity and an area of improvement.”
*The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design.