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Unitec Graphic Arts Students—Concept Designs—31 October and 13 November 2013

November 13, 2013

On 19 September, Nick Spratt brought a group of Graphic Arts Students out to CUE Haven to learn about the project as a basis for coming up with ideas about how visual communication using text and images could improve visitor experience at CUE Haven.

The students, who are second year students working toward a degree in Design and Visual Arts had all chosen CUE Haven as the project they would work on as part of their coursework.  During the visit the students took photos, made drawings and brainstormed about ways to use signage throughout the property to assist, inform and educate future visitors.

The group included Nick plus students Camille, Chris, Julian, Louise, Paige, Sam and Yan.


After their visit, the students went off to develop their ideas.  They took the project very seriously and several students either contacted us for further information or made follow up visits to CUE Haven to get more feel for the property.

We had a preliminary meeting on 31 October where the students described the designs they were thinking about.  They showed us their research and their concept plans and we asked questions and provided feedback on what they had come up with.


On 13 November we returned to the Unitec Graphic Arts department to view the students’ final designs.  Several of the students had produced actual signs or artwork based on the previous meeting’s discussion.

Nick hosted the session and Sarah Sheehan, Auckland Council’s Senior Education for Sustainability Advisor was also present.  Sarah has considerable experience in environmental education and she had met with the students on their visit to CUE Haven in September to give them some additional insights about environmental education issues.



At both presentations, we were deeply impressed by the students and the designs they came up with.  It was clear that they had listened and understood the vision for CUE and they had embraced the philosophy and come up with fantastic ideas and designs.  The presentations and the materials were extremely professional and each student gave us new ideas and insights.

Here, in no particular order, are the designs the students came up with.

Chris’s concept was to produce signs that are both participatory as well as inspiring and to ask rather than to tell.  His hope is that the signs will engage the visitor and make them look for details that might not be immediately obvious.  Because he wants the signs and quotes to be inspiring but portrayed in an interesting way, he experimented with several different uses of colour, symbols and text.








Louise chose to focus on combining art, wildlife, and inspiration.  She also had the exciting idea of preserving the history behind CUE Haven as a farm and bridging to the future with signs and photographs.




Her ultimate design is beautiful signs which will educate future visitors about the trees and animals around them and guide them to look for what is not immediately obvious.  Her signs and photos include inspirational quotes and also tell the story of the history of the property, for example, by retaining the old troughs used to water the cattle when the property was a farm.






Paige came up with a variety of exciting ideas all centred around the concept of CUE Haven being place for learning and cultivating understanding and enlightenment.

18 - Paige

Her designs make use of inspirational quotes which she is proposing to place on beautiful signs which will have lovely artwork and will require to visitors to study and contemplate the quotes and the symbolism of the design.

One of the most unique aspects of Paige’s design is the concept of a little “CUE Birdie” who will guide visitors as they explore the property.  The letters “C,” “U,” “E” form the eye, wing and tail of the bird and it will appear on signs throughout the property to “guide visitors as a messenger communicating philosophical ideas.”




Paige made some sample signs as well:



Additionally, she offered some ideas for unique places for other types of inspirational signs.




Yan’s design focuses on bird life and she has created beautiful hand painted images of native birds found at CUE Haven on recycled boards.  The signs will be placed where visitors are most likely to see the birds and include interesting information about them.









Camille worked on signs to educate visitors about bird life and she also designed directional signs which are intended to capture the provenance of CUE Haven as a farm by placing the signs on old tools and implements.




Her design included laser cutouts of birds which had interesting bits of information etched on to the ply.  The cutouts would be a fantastic addition to the CUE Haven landscape as they are educational, attractive and unique.


Camille also painted feathers and heads of various birds on hand made paper with the details identifying the image noted on the back. These signs could be yet another way visitors could identify the birds they encountered at CUE Haven.





Julian took a novel approach to his design.  He considered that in the future, as Auckland continues to grow and spread, a green space like CUE Haven may well be a curiosity.  His design is based around the idea of circus posters which advertised unusual attractions.  The result is both whimsical and thought provoking signs.

039a - Julian








Sam’s design consists of three separate areas.  First, artistic signs for way finding and signs to encourage visitors to slow down, explore and learn.



Second, he has created a beautiful and thought provoking painting which could be displayed on the property.


Finally, he crafted a booklet for visitors to help them identify and learn about bird life on the property.  It is a beautiful resource with both technical information, folklore and humour.



Working with the students has been an inspirational and educational experience for us and all of the designs are something that would enhance the CUE Haven property and add value to the visitor experience.

Sarah, many thanks for rearranging your schedule to meet with us again, and for providing very useful guidance and feedback.

And our thanks to Auckland Council for their continued support  of our efforts to make CUE Haven a place for enjoyment and learning.

Auckland Council logo

Nick, thank you for your support and for giving your students the opportunity to work on the CUE Haven project.

And a very big Thank You to Camille, Chris, Julian, Louise, Paige, Sam and Yan – Thank You for your creativity, hard work and for engaging so fully with the CUE Haven project.  We have been very impressed by your commitment and your talent, which is evident in the wonderful work you have produced.  We very much look forward to working with you next year as we take the project to the next level.

46- Unitec logo54 - Unitec logo (2)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

    Wonderful, thoughtful people to have on this project. they leave one breathless


  1. Installation of First Inspirational Sign —21 September 2014 | CUE Haven

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