In summary

  • Swinburne alum Michael Smith has received the Design Institute of Australia VIC/TAS and Australian Visual Communication Design Graduate of the Year awards

  • Michael’s work was also featured in Arts Thread's 2022 Global Design Graduate Show and was shortlisted for the related award

  • Michael attributes his success to industry experience and a diverse creative approach

Less than a year after graduating from a Bachelor of Communication Design, Swinburne alum Michael Smith has received recognition for his work on a local, national, and international level. 

Award success

Michael graduated in 2021 and has hit the ground running. 

Michael received the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) VIC/TAS and Australian Visual Communication Design Graduate of the Year awards. 

A representative from Art’s Thread in London reached out to Michael and encouraged him to enter their 2022 Global Design Graduate Show after seeing his winning GOTYA submission.

Michael’s entry was shortlisted for the Visual Communication category. You can watch his submission below.

The Invisible Cities exhibition combines print, film, and space design in an immersive, experimental experience 

Working with industry

One of the things that attracted Michael to the Swinburne Communication Design course was the industry placement component, and he made the most of the experience when his time came. 

Michael worked at Swinburne’s internal design consultancy, the Design Bureau, for 12 months. 

During that time, he worked on a project for the World Health Organisation (WHO), which led to an additional year-long contract working directly with WHO.  

“It’s great having those opportunities to gain as much experience as possible,” Michael said. 

“Having those hands-on industry-based projects is really important.”

Michael’s design for an Eco-Cinema focuses on how sensory elements of nature can elicit positive thoughts and emotions, creating a more content state of mind.

Diversity of skills

Michael’s creative development flourished with the opportunity to experiment with a variety of creative practises both in and out of university. 

“Studying communication design at Swinburne, you get to dabble in lots of different areas and develop different skills,” Michael said. 

“All those experiences that I had at Swinburne paired well with taking time to do design work outside of uni and pursuing other creative hobbies.”

Alongside his design work, Michael practices painting and photography, and enjoys expanding his horizons. 

His recent pursuits include creating a typeface, designing a photobook, and learning more about 3D modelling and environmental graphics. 

Michael’s advice for current students is to take every opportunity they can.

“Every experience that you have in life helps fuel your creativity in the future and the way you think,” he said. 

Studying oil painting as a separate philosophy and skill set to design has allowed Michael to approach briefs from different perspectives.

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