Design Assembly profiles MDS grad Donald Mavunga

Each summer Design Assembly profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of NZ's tertiary institutions. They welcome these talented emerging professionals to their industry, learn about their passions, final projects and dreams for the future. Read on for their interview with our recent Bachelor of Media Design Graduate, Donald Mavunga:

Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick design as a career path?
During high school I was an art kid but design offered more structure and digital opportunities, going to events like semi-permanent and having brief conversation with NZ designer leaders opened my eyes to the fun and practical application of design. With the support of my family, I began my journey into the design world.

You completed your full time studies at the end of 2019. Can you tell us what your final year’s project focused on?
My Capstone project explores the idea of interpretation through sound, poetry and visualization. I chose to explore different software which allowed for the integration of visual imagery and sounds within a digital space.

What were some of your most exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your project?
I took on the challenge of learning a different software to create an interactive audiovisual experience for public viewing. It was unexpected to discover the application of design and interactive media have both limitations and freedom, and it was exciting to see the creative outcome from the two sides of the project.

What did you love doing most?
Spending time to produce the visualizations and interactive experimentation towards design solutions. Since childhood I’ve been captivated by the activity of play and exploration. Carefully reverse-engineering every new toy I was given to learn how it worked and making something different that was special to me.

What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?
Putting my goals and ambitions to action, persistent hard work and self-belief in my creative ability was important in proving to myself that what I love doing was a worthwhile pursuit.

How has your ability and confidence progressed since the beginning of your studies?
Studying at Media Design School allowed me to understand my strengths and weakness, as an individual and in team environments. I have gained a holistic scope into what creates valuable design within multiple design disciples and in the aspect my strength lie, I can make a positive contribution with my skills.

How do you see your work and practice developing, and what are your main aspirations?
My aspirations travel across shores, with interactive design and the digital landscape we live in, I feel it is important to make the future as optimistic and integrated into our well-being. Communities should ultimately benefit from the things we create, so I am confident my practice will continue to user investigate and potentially solve problems, raise awareness to important issues and fulfill my creative spirit.

Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
During my studies I had a paper where I explored my musical influences through speaker design, this was an important catalyst to my creative ideas and output today.

What does your dream job look like?
Building interactive design installations, using digital technology and design principles to make human experiences better.

Why did you choose to study at your design school, and what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed your course?
I found the small environment comforting, giving me an opportunity to build connections with practitioners and fellow students who favour design. The people I’ve meet have been a true treasure of my journey at Media Design School, also keen for that degree.

Where to next for you? What does 2020 hold?
2020 will be a year to step into the industry as a practising designer, continuing my journey of discovery through design and building my momentum for my future career as a designer. Along with a couple passion project, there are always new things to learn and opportunities on the horizon. 2020 shell be a joyful year.


View the orginal article on Design Assembly's website here. 

Donald Mavunga
Kauri Lounge
Group Project - Kauri Lounge

Won Silver in the Student Nga Aho (Design with Maori Focus) category at the 2019 Best Awards.

Kauri Lounge
Group Project - Kauri Lounge

Won Silver in the Student Nga Aho (Design with Maori Focus) category at the 2019 Best Awards.