Unitec Graphic Design Students—19 September 2013
CUE Haven has an ongoing relationship with Unitec, an Auckland based institute of technology with a dual commitment to post graduate and degree level study as well as vocational education and training.
Unitec students working toward a degree in Design and Visual Arts have the opportunity to work on a live project as part of their coursework and Nick Spratt, lecturer in the Graphic Design and Animation department, proposed using CUE Haven for a student project. Graphic Design is about visual communication using text and images–this includes signage and other information and the objective of the project is to identify innovative applications of visual communications in the CUE Haven space.
Today Nick brought out a group of graphic design students to learn about the CUE Haven restoration project and to take a tour of the property to form a basis for brainstorming on concepts for using signage throughout the property to assist, inform and educate future visitors.
The group arrived a little after ten and included Nick plus students Camille, Chris, Julian, Louise, Paige, Sam and Yan.
Also joining the group was Sarah Sheeran, Auckland Council’s Senior Education for Sustainability Advisor. Sarah has considerable experience in environmental education and we requested her to join us for the morning.
Over morning tea we got acquainted and gave an overview of the CUE Haven project. We explained the history of the restoration project and Mahrukh explained our vision for the future and described the types of activities and visitors we expect at CUE Haven. This way the students could begin to think about the sorts of narratives they would want to convey with their signs and posters.
We then took a long walk around the property to give the students a close up view of the restoration in progress and to give them an idea about how things might look in the future.
During the walk, Sarah also pointed out a number of educational features and aspects that the students needed to consider. Sarah was able to give them valuable guidance on how to put themselves in the shoes of future visitors to anticipate needs and expectations and use graphics and signage to maximise visitor experience.
As we walked along, the students asked questions, took notes and photos.
They came up with a number of initial ideas such as walking track signage, specimen tree labelling, safety information and information about native New Zealand plants, animals, fish and the history of the restoration project.
After the walk we had a relaxing lunch and the students discussed their reactions and more of their initial ideas.
Over the next few weeks Sarah will be conducting workshops with the students as they come up with more detailed concepts for signage and posters for CUE Haven. We look forward to continuing discussions on this very important and exciting aspect of the project.
We want to thank Auckland Council for their continued support and a very big thank you to Sarah for rearranging her schedule to join us and for providing valuable guidance and insight.
Also thank you Nick for using CUE Haven as a project site for the graphic design students and for organising the visit today.
And many thanks especially to the students for your time and interest in our project. We look forward to working with you and seeing the interesting ideas you come up with.