Both recognised by the Graduate of the Year Awards, Swinburne design graduates Laura Tune and Nicole Giannenas’ success after university proves that a future in design looks different for everybody.
Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) (Honours) graduate Laura initially wasn’t sure about a future in design, but a brief work experience stint put her on a path that would see her end up working at digital cinema hardware manufacturer, Blackmagic Design.
“Looking back, I actually knew very little about what industrial design was and I was very lucky that I ended up loving it,” she says.
A highlight of Laura’s time at Swinburne was an industry placement with Outerspace Design Group during her third year of university.
“I worked on some amazing projects, and one of my designs - a phone case - was selected by a client in the US and is currently on the market,” she says.
“I went from having no real skills in design to discovering that I had a talent for it,” says Laura of her time at studying at Swinburne.
“Working at Outerspace made me really consider my skill set and what kind of work I wanted to be doing - creative front-end work, or work more on the engineering end of the spectrum.”
Nicole knew during high school that she had a passion for design, devoting all her time to her Visual Communication unit during Year 12.
“I loved working on the projects and found myself staying back through lunch and after school, purely out of passion,” she says.
“It just made sense to continue pursuing my ever growing desire into university, and I’m glad that I trusted my instinct and found something I loved right off the bat,” she says.
At Swinburne and studying a Bachelor of Design (Communication Design ) (Honours), Nicole made the most of opportunities presented to her, even managing to score an internship with Museums Victoria. It was the first time the organisation accepted an intern in about a decade.
“Thinking back, it was the moment when reality really sunk in and where egos and self-esteem dropped. Suddenly, the experience was no longer in a school-based environment where we only thought about getting a decent grade and grabbing a beer afterwards. Instead our work, time and choice of a career was being critiqued by people we respected in the real world that could set up our futures,” says Nicole.
Since graduating, Nicole has secured herself a role as a designer at Studio Payne, a brand agency based in Melbourne.
Hawthorn to Hong Kong
Nicole and Laura’s paths crossed during Business of Design Week 2018 in Hong Kong, where both were funded to attend the prestigious week.
One of Laura’s industrial design projects - a modular furniture concept for Hong Kong nano-apartments - was selected to be exhibited by a Chinese manufacturer.
Nicole was invited to the week to participate in networking and design opportunities.
The Graduate of the Year Awards
Laura and Nicole were both recognised at the 2019 Design Institute of Australia’s Graduate of the Year Awards (GOTYA) in August.
GOTYA supports and celebrates emerging designers across Australia. This year’s awards were the biggest yet, with the Design Institute of Australia receiving more than 200 nominations from 24 Australian tertiary institutions.
Laura received the Graduate of the Year Award for Victoria and for Industrial/ Product Design. Nicole was recognised in the Victorian Visual Communication Design category.
This article was written in collaboration with Sarah Drummond, Bachelor of Design.