Graphic Design and Animation Graduates 2012

Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.

Allan Zhang

Energy Saving: Applying graphic design from problems to solutions – Allan Zhang

Downloadable Portfolio

Our environment is a system of interaction between the humanity and the nature, unfortunately, we grew up in a world where Cars and factories release greenhouse gasses into the air, forests are being cut down, and human beings are exhausting the energy resources. This Inconvenient Truth opened my eyes to see how those issues affect our world, and I want to do something about it. My project is about energy saving ideas, by using design as a tool, creating series of works, including web design, poster design, and logo design. It will tell people how important it was to save the energy and the environment. It’s not just about designing a logo or drawing a picture, we have to make people understand environmental problems conceptually, and  that’s the way  we can make them give true importance to environmental problems and make appropriate efforts to solve them.


Why choose this topic

The sharp rise in environmental problems and their catastrophic impact have been of great concern to all. Excessive utilization of oil and goal for generation of electricity leads to the multiple problems of acid rain, and rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. So, it is imperative for us to understand environmental issues, factors causing them and finding ways to improve our environment.

I’ve been working on Led lighting system for some years, my invention relates to LED lighting method and device (I will talk about it later), during the time with Sue and William these years, what I learn was I can use graphic design as a weapon for social change. Graphic design is not just a skill but it’s an art in itself, for example, I can combines text, images with different visual elements, it is very different than what I have done, graphic design is more direct and simpler.

Early works and turning point

Starting a project on environment would be a challenging experience and a hard task since this project needs to cover many researches. I found my aims difficult at first. I started to define the main lines in a very narrow way, the energy efficiency of LED, because my project also talking about energy saving. I’ve drawing a lot of light bulbs, different concepts, during this time, I’ve talked with my tutors and got some ideas and I got very important feedback that I need to is explore how graphic design practice can communicate through web design the benefits of using LED lighting in domestic and industrial use. However, what I find inspiring about this, is that it helps me to create a new mindset and creative thinking. When I look over my works, I think most of my works has too much confined to technicalities and this makes works unattractive. I redesigned some of my lighting systems ideas, not the product concepts, but the way to represent it. And then I get my direction clearly, the final outcome will be a website


During this part, I’m more expanding my graphic practice through deepening my understanding on words, color, space, layout, graph and balance. For the most of my project, I start with words, I’m trying to put few certain words or concepts into the mind of the person view, so they can see a design solution. This could be a mind map, poster, website etc. This is my first idea by using web concepts.

After listing out the primary words based on discussions with the Sue and William, I begin to work on illustrations. I will list out words and then search on new words that I think are interesting. I always start with some sketches on my computer, and go over the brief and write down my thoughts and ideas onto the page. The result of this is a list of lots of words that spark ideas of other words and it helps to solidify my thoughts as a guide to the next step.

Other Designer’s work

Eugene Hon’s blog research

I think the quick way to expand my ideas is to look other designer’s work, Eygene Hon, a ceramic artist, one of his blog was talking about nature and design.  ” nature has been a constant source of inspiration in the design of human environment but one cannot help notice that.” This sentence really helps me with my ideas.

Jo Cheung’s illlustrations

GreenAlex’s illustration

Syd Mead’s illustration

One of my favorite Artist is Syd Mead, best known for his designs for science-fiction films as Blade Runner, Star Trek. His unique blend of futurism and technology to his projects, in his work, we could find many ways to describe the renewable energy, solar powered unicycles, and particle beam etc. His work often portrays a bold new world that’s futuristic yet believable due to his natural incorporation of humans and their pursuits. This is really good example for me to design my own products in the future.


Another important thing of design is colours. We need to be conscious of what meaning we are conveying when we choose to use one colour over another. It’s important to understand who your target audience is and how your audience meaning to colour.  Idea for light bulb, green as cool colour, often associated with calm, trust and can also turn people off by the coolness they radiate. nad it’s colour for nature, it symbolizes growth, hope, freshness, and safe. Combined both positive colours together, i think really give people a idea of hope and safe.

The meanings of colours

Color harmony compendium

“Color harmony compendium” is a nice book to inspire. This is one of the most comprehensive reference books on the usage of color available today, and it gave me ideas that help me combine color if I want to designing for my lighting concept.

My work  process

In this year, my work process included interviews, site visit, finding researches, then through design books, website to find more ideas, making prototype, and finish with it. The most important of these are looking for other designer or current works, study it, learn it, and create own works. During this year project, I looked researches about color, space, web design, anything that can helps my project improve.

Bear illustration, By greenpeace

Globe warming

I used this polar bear concepts as my ideas and created a different version by using other elements that i found. I also did few other poster, i think it will helps people to realise abouht energy and enviromental problems.

Bear concept

2nd turning point

I think another turning point was choosing the blue print style as my main theme. My tutor Sue always encourages me with this idea. The reason why I choose this because as a concept, blue print surely represents the future, from the more general point of view, blue is also the color most often associated with intellect and hope. I also take this opportunity to plug my project – create our own future. I picked propaganda as my cover, it means the past, from now, we are moving to the future.

BluePrint Style

Concepts development

Light Bulb Design

Poster Design

Bear Poster Design

Logo Design

Final Website

Reasons why a website is important, because in nowadays, a web platform to build business for the sale of products, especially for a new business, this is cheap, flexible and cost-effective advertising. The internet has mostly touched every country, and has already changed the way people shop, bank, listen to music, read news and socialise. So if we do the same with it in environmental idea, combine it with Led or energy saving project concept, people may accept it more easily once they have visited it., and this is the original intention of my project.

Old Web Interface

New Web Interface

Web Development

As a designer, using design as a tool to solve though problems, it’s not just about designing a logo or drawing a picture, but innovation and grow the economy. I think this is a chance that my ideas can help some of society’s problems, even create new markets and turn them into business opportunities.  New Zealand has a focus on sustainability Environment. This project will be part of a promotional plan that raises awareness to the general public of environmental energy usage. I think after next year when I graduate, I will take 2 or 3 years to making a clearer and detail plan and through this combination of a proven business model, a strong management team, and this environmental energy business plan to guide the organization, energy saving will be long lasting, profitable business.

Reading List

Deciding the Future: Energy Policy Scenarios to 2050, By World Energy Council, 2007.

Roger Walton, “Big Book of Graphic Design.” October 30, 2007.

Terry Marks, Mine, Origin, Tina Sutton, “Color Harmony Compendium: A Complete Color Reference for Designers of All Types, 25th Anniversary Edition” September 1, 2009.


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