Design Assembly profiles MDS grad Lily Wigglesworth
Each summer DA profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of NZ tertiary institutions. They welcome these talented emerging professionals to the industry, learn about their passions, final projects, developing creative confidence and ambitions for the future. Read on for their interview with our recent Graduate Diploma of Creative Technologies - Interactive (UX/UI) graduate, Lily Wigglesworth:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick design as a career path?
Prior to studying Interactive Design at Media Design School, I graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Commerce. I’ve tipped my toes in the tourism industry as a sustainability analyst and worked a role helping Kiwi businesses navigate the changing digital landscape. Whatever I pursued, I’ve always gravitated towards using my creative skills which made me realise I was perhaps more destined for a career in design.
What did your graduating project focus on?
In a time where rural New Zealand is under immense political and societal pressure to reduce its environmental impact, I wanted to focus my final project on supporting farmers transition to regenerative agriculture; a symbiotic approach to farming that can sequester carbon and reverse climate change.
My final outcome, Fellow Fields, is an app that connects rural New Zealand to a support base of fellow farmers so they can share knowledge, experience and ideas around regenerative farming systems. The goal was to empower farmers and help them overcome the stigma attached to farming regeneratively.
Why did you choose to study at Media Design School?
I was after a practical learning environment with hands-on industry experience and MDS provided exactly that. The small class sizes and studio-like working spaces created a family-like atmosphere and allow for constant feedback from peers. After working on briefs with real clients and receiving mentoring from creative professionals, I’ve left feeling well equipped to enter the industry.
What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?
A highlight for me was coming away with a multidisciplinary design skillset. In just one year, I had the opportunity to cross boundaries between disciplines and wear multiple design hats, whether that be designing an interactive installation, learning programming basics, leading an agile design team, or developing UX/UI skills.
Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?
Fellow fields brought to light the power of interactive design in connecting distant communities and empowering positive, community-driven change. Realising my niche as a creative in the primary sector was also an exciting discovery. I feel uniquely placed to support agribusinesses through digital design and amplify the stories of farmers on the frontline of the climate crisis.
What does your creative process look like?
My creative process draws on my sustainability background and my passion for shaping a carbon-positive, regenerative future. I adopt an environment-centred approach that goes beyond human-centred design to evaluate the implications of my designs on both humans and the natural world. Weaving this approach into the typical UX process may involve empathy mapping the needs of non-human stakeholders and creating non-human personas in order to minimise the environmental impact of my outcomes.
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned during your studies?
Never underestimate the power of your design peers. Being stuck at home, alone with your ideas can be a creativity killer. This year taught me how to adapt and overcome creative blocks. Recharging my creative batteries involved jumping on a video call with some classmates to bounce ideas off each other, get feedback, and ultimately support each other. This experience has set me up for working from home – something the workforce will definitely see more of going forward.
How do you see your work and practice developing, and what are your main aspirations?
I would like to keep pushing my illustrative and motion skills to add to my UI toolbelt. After gaining some experience in the industry, I would like to hold more responsibility for creative direction.
What’s next for you?
For now, I’m looking to join a dynamic, creative team that I can learn from and keep developing my skillset. I hope to continue creative endeavours on the side that help small Kiwi businesses doing good for people and the planet.
Courtesy of Design Assembly