HomeNewsUCOL Art Lecturer up for Best Design Award

UCOL Art Lecturer up for Best Design Award

By UCOL on Thursday, 29 September 2016

Image of a lady smoking

UCOL Art & Design Lecturer Cecelia Kumeroa has been chosen as a finalist for the Best Design Awards for her work on a quit smoking campaign. 

Presented by the Designers Institute, the Best Design Awards celebrate excellence in graphic, spatial, product, and interactive design. 

Cecelia is a finalist in the Ngā Aho category which recognises Aotearoaness and collaboration between designers and clients. 

She designed the art for Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority’s Aukati Kaipaipa (Stop Smoking) campaign aimed at young pregnant Māori women. Then Chief Executive Nancy Tuaine approached Cecelia with the idea of an illustrated campaign with a bilingual message.

Cecelia, a graduate of the Whanganui School of Design, digitally illustrated three images of pregnant women with their unborn babies visible in the womb. The images show a happy mother to be, a healthy family, and a woman smoking a cigarette.  


She used photos of her sister and niece as the basis for her illustrations.

The images were accompanied by messages in English and Māori using the Whanganui dialect.

Cecelia says the smoking woman was the most enjoyable to draw. It shows the inhaled smoke travelling to the unborn baby, while Piwaiwaka (fantails), a symbol of death in Māori culture, circle the woman.

“I used life symbolism, the shining light combined with mangopare cocooning the unborn baby in the positive illustrations. In the smoking illustration, I replaced the cocoon with toxic plumes of smoke. I also changed the colour of the baby and used colours associated with sickness and toxic waste,” she says. 

Cecelia says she wanted to reference the works of Czech painter Alphonse Mucha with her composition. 

“A lot of his early posters had this composition where they had a circular element in the background. I used the circular element because I thought it looked quite beautiful and it brings the eye to the centre of the composition quite nicely.”  

Whanganui School of Design graduate Adrian Campbell added the text and formatted the images for posters, billboards and social media. They used a typeface designed by Kris Sowersby, another Whanganui School of Design graduate. 

“It’s really good to work with another designer because they can bring a bit of perspective to the project.  Adrian did a wonderful job,” says Cecelia. 

The images has been displayed on posters and billboards at Whanganui hospital, Māori health providers, doctors’ surgeries, and gyms.

Cecelia said she was “chuffed” to make the Best Design Awards finals, especially since this is the first time she entered. 

The Best Design Awards winners will be announced on 14 October.