Growing up in an artistic family, Chaunte Stadler has always had a keen interest in drawing and graphic design. Now studying the Bachelor of Creative Media, Chaunte is developing her technical skills and getting experience that will set her up for a career.
Born and raised in South Africa, Chaunte majored in art at her high school, Midstream College. While there, she had the opportunity to spend a few days shadowing staff at award-winning animation company Masters & Savant. This reinforced Chuante's belief that a career in digital media was for her.
Chaunte's family relocated to Auckland in 2020, before moving to Palmerston North the next year. Chaunte decided that studying the Bachelor of Creative Media at UCOL Te Pūkenga was the best path towards a career in graphic design.
Learners in the Bachelor of Creative Media choose which areas they want to specialise in from illustration, photography, video/film, design, and 3D/animation. Chaunte enjoyed getting a taste of each discipline, before choosing to focus on design and illustration
"We had workshops at the start where we explored the different disciplines, which gave each student the opportunity to find their niche, or even combine these subjects to produce a greater outcome with their unique style added to it," says Chaunte
"I always knew I would specialise in design. For me, graphic design is about helping people achieve their creative goals, and it allows me to do what I love — it's a win-win situation. Illustration work is a happy place for me and a break from the more serious design assignments."
Chaunte says the creative media lecturers are always there to give her advice whenever she gets stuck or needs direction. She has also formed a tight bond with many of her classmates.
"I have met a lot of good people and made great friends at UCOL, and all of the staff are very supportive. It's like a family away from family."
One of Chaunte's favorite projects was a projection mapping installation that celebrated Matariki. For this, staff and student worked together to create images that were projected onto UCOL buildings. Chaunte's contribution was an animated introduction using photos she took of stars.
Another highlight for Chaunte was when she started working on projects for real clients during the second year of the degree.
"This was a very valuable experience. When you're working with a client, it's about finding the golden highway between their ideas and what your creative intuition tells you. It is important to carefully listen and understand what the customer wants, and then use your expertise to guide the creative process to an optimal outcome."
Now in her third and final year of the degree, Chaunte is excited about working with more clients through the UCOL Te Pūkenga Workhub. The Workhub connects learners with local businesses and organisations in their industry, so they can develop their skills in a real work environment.
"I have a very minimalistic, elegant style, so I'm looking forward to expanding that and pushing it more to suit different needs of clients."
Once she finishes her degree, Chaunte would either like to work for a creative agency or study a teaching qualification so she can guide the next generation of graphic designers.
"My love for the arts showed me the way, and UCOL is equipping me for my future career."