Growing up in an artistic family, Chaunté Stadler always had a keen interest in drawing and graphic design. Now studying the Bachelor of Creative Media, Chaunté is honing her technical skills and getting experience that will set her up for a career.
Born and raised in South Africa, Chaunté 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 experience cemented her belief that a career in digital media was the right choice for her.
Chaunté’s family emigrated from South Africa to Auckland in 2020, before moving to Palmerston North the following year. Chaunté decided that studying the
Bachelor of Creative Media
at UCOL Te Pūkenga was the best path towards a career in graphic design.
Learners of the
Bachelor of Creative Media
are able to choose in which direction they want to specialise, from illustration, photography, video/film, design, and 3D/animation. Chaunté 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 Chaunté
“I always knew I wanted to specialise in design. For me, graphic design is about understanding and shaping a customer’s ideas and bringing them to life, utilising my skills in graphic and visual representation. The reward for me is when the client gets excited about the end product; while it allows me to do what I love — it’s a win-win situation.
Chaunté says the creative media lecturers are always there to give her advice and support whenever her creative juices run low 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 Chaunté’s favourite projects was a projection mapping installation that celebrated Matariki. For this, staff and ākonga worked together to create images that were projected onto UCOL buildings. Chaunté’s contribution was an animated introduction using photos she took of stars.
Another highlight for Chaunté 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 getting a clear understanding of what they want and providing guidance to bring together their thinking and the creative process to ensure the optimal outcome for the creative project.
In July 2023, Chaunté secured a role as a Project Administrator at Rocket Fuel Design, a Palmerston North graphic design and marketing agency. As Project Administrator, Chaunté monitors incoming job requests and adds them to the business workflow, while keeping clients up to date on how their work is progressing. She also gets to put her graphic design skills to use, designing things like signage, brochures, newsletters, magazine layouts and branding, and managing clients’ social media channels.
“At the end of my second year, I made a promise to myself that I would branch out and start to establish myself within the industry near the end of my degree,” says Chaunté.
Chaunté met Rocket Full Design Director Lainey Te Whatu during a panel session for one of her UCOL classes. There, students pitched their work to a panel of industry professionals. This interaction influenced Lainey in her decision to employ Chaunté.
When the advertisement for the role at Rocket Fuel Design came up, Chaunte was intrigued but had some doubts about her ability to shine in the administrative side of the role.
"However, with encouragement from family, friends and my lecturer I decided to go for it and apply. From this, I learned that you should never let fear stand in your way to reach your goals. In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take."
“I’m excited for what my future may bring in the design industry. I would love to grow in this space, especially under the guidance of a manager like Lainey.”