Vanessa Gao


Beyond the Visuals

I never knew I'd be a Graphic Designer. I became one because it enabled me to make a living while doing something "artsy" or "creative". I loathed University while studying and hated my three-year course. The workforce was my goal, yet here I am five years later back where I wanted to escape.

Why? Because you never stop learning.

I realised my design skills limited my career options. My future pathway is to become a senior Graphic Designer and maybe a Creative Director? Instead, I want to expand my horizon to branding. Brands these days are all the rage and design is only one of its component.

While working I desired to do more strategy, planning and creative development. Unfortunately, it hit me how do you plan when you don't understand brands? Whether it is the Marketing Manager or Creative Director. There will always be someone the Graphic Designer is at the mercy of.

Every day is an endless churning of mediocre work to pay for bills. Will I ever have the opportunity to understand brands and create good work? To grow, I needed an environment to learn and refocus myself. The Postgraduate Diploma of Brand Communications at AUT was the answer I had been searching for. This was the chance to widen my knowledge.

I never understood older people still at university. My conception of university consisted of only 21-year-olds. But now I know my childish thinking back then. Education is endless like practice, if you never start, you'll never grow.

These are thoughts I've been struggling with since I started studying this year. A bit sentimental and reflective. An accumulation of the last five years of full-time work you could say. There is still so much to learn and this course is only my first step to go beyond focusing on the visuals.