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.

Manraj Singh

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Using a live event as a mean to raise awareness in the youth of New Zealand about the “Environmental Catastrophe”

My journey this year has been full of theoretical context that remained constant towards my practice. Environmental concerns surrounding global oil spills and usage have been at the crux of my practice this year. This editorial position has been driven by two formative issues, the first being the 2010 BP Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, and the Rena disaster on Astrolabe reef in 2011. These have galvanized my practice as a graphic designer. In this semester I have sought to communicate the irresponsible nature of human activity in terms of the environment.

This issue was something I felt strongly about and it surprised me as to how few people knew about the oil spills and the impact of the oil spill including pollution and the deterioration of our environment. When I started this project, I knew I couldn’t stop the oil spills but I wanted to use my designs to inspire a deeper understanding of the way everyday consumers see oil.

In my poster I have used varieties of different elements such as texture, colors, typography and semiotics – each of these elements have a theoretical and positive influence on my design this year. In order to express each of these elements I am going to break this context down into sub categories: –

  • Texture/patterns
  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Semiotics

Firstly I am going to start of with Textures, through out my design process texture has been a big part of my designs. In my design textures are used to express emotions.

Even though when I started my first designs their were no texture, what it did had at that time was patterns of oil barrels in the background to represent the amount of barrels. What didn’t work about these patterns were the size because they where so small in the back ground every time I printed them it came out looking like pixelated boxes.

At this point of time I started experimenting with texture. I started looking for textures we see in an everyday life e.g. oil barrel made of metal, oil on water and oil paint.

Out of all these textures only two textures were used metal and oil paint. When it came to adding texture to my animation it was totally different. Since it was not a 2D poster, my animation had constant camera movements and a lot of floating elements I had to be consistence and smart about how I am going to use the texture and how the viewer going to react towards it. While I was researching I came across an animation on green peace web page ( designed by “smart bubble society” called “What’s wrong with deep sea oil?” All of the information that the designer is trying to address to his audience is communicated in just less than 2 minutes through the use of texture, typography, illustrations, color and voice-overs.

The texture used by green peace animation was a concert wall texture that made the animation look like it’s being painted on a wall that I really liked. This video was a big inspiration I have used similar elements in my project such as use of texture, type, semiotics and use of colors.


Colors play a significant role in expressing emotions in my design process. I started of with using two colors that will signify sea and oil so I used blue and black. After constant research in to colors and their representation and applying them on my poster to record viewers reaction was quite important for me to progress further. I used primary color associations such as blue to represent water, green to represent the environment, yellow to represent hope, sunshine, illness and black to represent power, fear, death sadness and in my designs I have used to represent oil spill. One of the scenarios that occurred while I was experimenting with bright colors which often-express excitement where I used yellow and orange, I wanted to use that to attract viewers attention. So, I displayed it to my audience to seek their reaction towards that particular poster.

Intriguingly they all had one thing in common they all said the colors were too bright for the information that I’m trying to address became vague. What I was experimenting in that poster was the use of positive colors to communicate negative affects which didn’t work. So went back to using the basic color format that I had for my poster and stuck to using black and white, where is for my motion graphic colors were used to set up viewer’s emotion/reaction. In my motion graphic, I have constant changes in color that has used to signify each scene. The color format that I have used for my motion graphic is similar to my poster I have used same environmental colors in motion graphics to sustain balance with type and semiotics used in the animation and also with my posters. The Idea of using flat colors on texture came from the Green peace animation “What wrong deep sea oil?” through out the animation the designer has used flat universal environmental colors that a viewer sees in his/her every day’s life that makes the viewer apart of his animation.


Typography is used as the main source of communication in my designs. I have experimented a lot with type from working with the space between the text and its placement. Working with the type size to make certain words, letter or number to highlight.

In my first Typography poster design I used typography to construct an explanation symbol that a viewer can see clearly from distance to give the design a sense of statement. As the viewer gets closer to the symbol the text becomes more visible and readable.

I also experimented with angles of Typography inspired by “Russian Constructivism” where designers use geometric construction to design a page. Alexander Rodchenko designs have eye-catching images with bright colors, geometric shapes, and bold lettering. The lettering of most of these designs was intended to create a reaction, and function on emotional and substantive levels. In my poster design and motion graphic I have used similar strategy with bold lettering and bright colors.

Typography in Simon Robson animation “What Barry Says” is plain and simple with the use of bold lettering and constant changes in camera angel’s makes it more effective. I tried using the similar technique with type in my animation but mostly inspired by Russian constructivism.


Semiotic is the study of signs, symbols and signification. I have used Iconic signs in my design to communicate the bigger picture involving the oil spill and its affects.

I have experimented a lot with the scale of my sign. I started off using my sign as a logo with “type” but soon realized the strength of the Iconic sign on it’s own.

I decided to research more into similar semiotic Iconic signs/ illustrations by other designer. I made constant developments to my Iconic sign and displayed it to my audience to get feed back for on going improvements to my sign.

Inspired by Shepard Fairy “Peace” mural has been a major turning point in my design work. By having the flower around the dove bird it signifies that we have to make a constant growth to achieve peace in our community, just like a lotus flower that grows in mud and yet comes out flourishing. I have applied the similar strategy for my semiotic design by turning signs into pattern; this pattern was then used to form into a shape of a flower.


Research was the most important for this particular context. Since I am talking about the real event that has occurred not just in New Zealand but also all over the world I had to build a solid base. I started of with researching the use of oil, its disadvantages and advantages. Oil has become a part of our life style today and we cannot live with out it. It provides us electricity, ways to go places by car, plane, ship, we also use it to build roads so on. What we don’t see or notice is the effect on environment. I’m talking about the oil spill and oil blow out which is very common when drilling for oil. It not just affects environment or the people who are living near the spill but also the wild life and the sea mammals. Oil Spill in Nigeria Delta, Gulf of Mexico, Rena are just some of the names where this catastrophe has occurred and affected the not just the environment but the wild life and sea mammals. “Oil that is spilled into bodies of water never truly disappears; it forms deposits near the bottom of the sea, evaporates as gas into the atmosphere, and in smaller particles, gets absorbed into various aquatic lifeBottom line, the oil doesn’t go away says Julia.

To research oil more in depth I followed four major methodologies that helped me gather most of the information about oil and political/environmental design. These methods are Motion Graphics, Visual survey of Documentaries, Info-graphics and Web blogs.

When I was not seeing any success through my designs I used info graphs as a statistical data analysis strategy. I did this by transferring the major extractions received from my research. The idea was to use info graphs to help me come up with new innovative concept designs to achieve my objectives. At the start I faced failures on top of failures it was not because I didn’t have right information but my aim was too broad which made things very complicated.  There were times when I had given up the method I was using. I went back and forward with my research trying to figure out what I was missing, where I was going wrong but the issue was found to be my aim. As soon as I got my aim to the point I wanted to communicate the constant research into info graph lead me to do more experiments and explore different techniques within info graphics. These Info graphs opened new visual ideas for me. It enabled me to pick illustrations and text that expanded my designs further on to meeting my objectives.


Throughout this semester, I created series of posters and motion graphic to attract offline and online audience.

I want to highlight with my posters the dangers of corporate irresponsibility and the fact that Oil is not everything that matters. I want to convey my message of the oil impacting the environment and the life surrounding us! The above is only a reason as to my focus on the contemporary issue related to the environment but the bigger idea is to raise awareness about the past events in order to change the future.


Reading list: –

  • Barthes, Roland. “Rhetoric Of the Image.” The photography Reader. London: Routledge. 2003. 95- 109. Print.
  • Poynor, Rick, and Jan . Toorn. Jan Van Toorn: “Critical Practice”. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2008. Print.
  • Van,Toorn J. “Designs Delight”. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2006. Print.
  • McQuiston, Liz. “Graphic Agitation: Social and Political Graphics Since the Sixties”. London: Phaidon, 2000. Print
  • Lodder, Christina. Russian Constructivism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. Print.
  • Green Peace Campaign UK.”Go Beyond Oil”. YouTube.24 Aug 2010. GreenpeaceUK. 21 May2012.
  • Greenpeace NZ. “Oil on Canvas”. Youtube.11 Dec, 2011. Greenpeacenz. 22 May 2012.
  • Secret Of Seven Sisiters. “Desert Storms And Fortunes”.Youtube. 3 Feb, 2012. CanalDisponivel. 03 Apr 2012.
  • Conspiracy Theory. “Jesse Ventura BP Oil Spill”. Youtube.8 Aug 2011.TheNWOtruth. 15 April 2012.
  • Unkown “Oil spill volumes infographic.” Green Peace NZ. 12 Oct 2011. Web. 18 April. 2012.
  • Abel, Steve “Rena ‘ghost birds’ appear in Auckland.” Green Peace NZ. 12 Dec 2011. Web. 18 April. 2012.
  • Robson, Simon“What Barry Says” Knife Party. Feb 2004.Web. March 28,2012
  • Unknown”Shepard Fairey “Peace Dove” New Mural Defaced In Copenhagen, Denmark.”Streetartnews. August03,2011.Web.June 10,2012

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