Jason Barnes

Graduate Diploma of Creative Technologies

Jason Barnes is an architectural designer who decided to follow his long time dream and journey into the world of motion design. His capstone project 'Memories of Water' was selected as finalist at the Designers Institute of New Zealand's Best Awards for the 2022 Student Moving Image category.


I recently completed the Graduate Diploma of Creative Technologies (GDCT) course at Media Design School majoring in Motion Design. I’ve always been fascinated by complex storytelling and the power of video to communicate ideas in emotive ways. After a Masters in Architecture from University of Auckland, and 4+ years of work experience as an Architectural Designer, I have taken the opportunity to transfer my interests into this new area of design. Interdisciplinary and explorative design is what interests me most.

As this was my second round of tertiary education and I was making a quick jump between industries, I wanted to make sure I used my time wisely. I heard a lot of great things first-hand from MDS alumni, and I found everything to be true – the faculty are super passionate and will go out of their way to support you, the course is structured to get you ready for the industry and the project briefs are exciting and prepare you with fundamental skills and experiences to get you started. Of course the brand new, purpose built campus in Wynyard quarter was a big bonus too!

Watch 'Memories of Water'

Jason Barnes' capstone project 'Memories of Water' was a tribute to his late father, and earned a finalist spot at the Designers Institute of NZ Best Awards in 2022.

Growing up, my Dad believed in me more than I believed in myself. He turned his passion for sailing into a career and always encouraged me to do the same- to make a career out of what I enjoy most. When he passed away at the end of 2020, it was a strong reminder that life is too short to wonder ‘what if’. What I really wanted to do was share stories and ideas through Motion Design and my capstone project is a tribute to his continual support and encouragement.  I’m a big believer in finding a way to pursue a career surrounding your unique interests.

My capstone project, ‘Memories of Water’, was a tribute to my late father’s story, using water and its changing states as a metaphor for his journey. The narrative of the final motion piece is guided by the voices of my family and the final aesthetic is that of a ‘living journal’. Watercolour illustrations and reflective writing emerge from the page and flow through a sequence of crystallised memories. It was primarily a project of reflection and experimentation and while it is a very personal story, it addresses widely relatable themes of interconnected contrast- health and illness, past and present, impermanence and everlastingness.

Jason Barnes', alumni of Media Design School, capstone project titled 'Memories of Water' was a tribute to his late father

Nature has always been my biggest source of inspiration and I’m sure that is quite clear from my portfolio. As a result, the primary themes that recur throughout my portfolio are probably ‘interconnectedness’ and ‘cycles’. I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years as I like to learn from different cultures, traditions and environments. The work I produce is deeply inspired by my own life experience as I believe the most impactful design outcomes emerge when you draw upon your own authentic story.

What I love most about design is the exploration of possibilities. I enjoyed having the chance to experiment with different methods, techniques and it’s interesting how in life no experience is ever wasted- I found my architectural background influenced a lot of my design decisions and final outcomes.

Jason Barnes', alumni of Media Design School, capstone project titled 'Memories of Water' was a tribute to his late father

My design process is generally fluid but seems to follow a distinct pattern. I like to start with big picture ideas, themes and possibilities before moving into a range of in-depth expressive experiments. After that, I will usually take a moment to reflect, connect the dots, and identify the patterns that could form the design framework. From there it becomes more about crafting and refining. However, I always allow room for experimentation because that’s where the greatest discoveries come from!

I’m an eternal student. I love to learn, so I’m looking for opportunities to improve my skills and abilities in Motion Design and as a storyteller. Going forward, I hope to collaborate on design projects that can inspire, uplift and connect.

I’ve gained valuable experience during my time at Media Design School and have made good friends along the way. I’ve come to see that one of the essential ingredients in design is the love of what you are doing. When you find a way to weave your own passions into the project briefs, you can end up with a unique outcome that is authentic and also fun to work on.

Jason Barnes', alumni of Media Design School, capstone project titled 'Memories of Water' was a tribute to his late father