GSM Blog - read more about print on paper.

Rākau Kōrero – Mātaranga Māori

mataranga maori

GSM talks to Dr Johnson Witehira (Tamahaki, Ngāti Hinekura, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tū-te-Auru) about the principles of design from a traditional Mātaranga Māori perspective. Our nation is moving towards a more inclusive future, with an increasing appreciation of the uniqueness and the value of Māoritanga (Māori culture) to our country. Recently, this has extended into the teaching of visual communication. In fact, for students beginning studies in a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) course, there is now a requirement to understand Mātaranga Māori (traditional Māori knowledge) in relation to the Principles of Design. This is a significant step forward. In this article,...

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First Portfolio


If you are a Vis-Com student with your sights set on a career as a graphic designer, at some point, you'll need to create a portfolio to showcase your skills to potential employers. In this article, we take a look at some basics to help get things moving in the right direction. First, let’s get this on the table—creating a portfolio can be challenging. So if you are feeling this way, you are certainly not alone. Aside from the high stakes of ‘getting it right’, this task can be difficult because you are curating your own work. This involves critiquing...

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National Design Awards Class of ’22

award winner

2022 delivered another great crop of entries into the National Design Awards in both Australia and New Zealand. GSM takes a look at a couple of print -based projects that took top-honours. AGDA & Best Awards The Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) Design Awards and the BEST Awards (hosted by the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ)) are two annual events recognising excellence in our industry. For readers unfamiliar with these awards, entries into both are open to studios on either side of the Tasman. Kiwi studios can enter AGDA, Australian designers can enter the BEST awards. Both AGDA and...

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Quick Chat Print – Provincial Print

Operating from two different sites in the upper region of New Zealand's South Island, Matt Costello talks to GSM about the unique printing operation he has built, and the pros and cons of being 'provincial'. Blenheim sits amongst the sunny wine growing region of Marlborough on the upper east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. A town of approximately 30,000–the local economy largely comprises of horticulture, wine making and farming. The nearby Lake Grassmere salt works is the only operation of its kind in NZ. It supplies approximately 50% of the nation’s requirements. An hour and twenty minutes drive north-west...

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For The People

for the people

In this installment of Inspiration - GSM gets up close and personal with contemporary creative influencers 'For The People' - and ask the question...How did you get here? Creative agency For The People (FTP) was founded just eight short years ago in Sydney. The team has since grown—thanks in part to several high-profile projects (including the branding for Ball & Doggett), as well as winning some notable design awards. They now have a presence on both sides of the Tasman, and are one of the studios to watch. But, what has the journey been like reaching this point? GSM asked...

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2022 Student Design Contest + 2023 Calendar

student design contest calendar

For 2022, the Student Design Calendar Contest was opened up to entries from both sides of the Tasman. The result was a fantastic range of dynamic submissions - and two great calendars. Here are the winning entries... For many years the BJ Ball Student Design Content was a mainstay for tertiary students studying visual communication in New Zealand. Not only was it an exercise in offering the students some real-life experience in the world of commercial print but the students also gained recognition as a Calendar Contest winner. After taking a brief hiatus in the 2010s, BJ Ball reintroduced the...

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Print Brokering – more than just print

Print brokering has been part of the print industry for decades. However, in more recent times, it is making something of a comeback. GSM talks to Melbourne-based print broker, Simon Fitzgerald, to understand why> GSM: What is ‘Print Brokering’—and how does it work? Simon: In a nutshell, print brokering in any industry is a value-added service connecting customers with suppliers or products. A good example is insurance or mortgage brokering. The brokers in these sectors do not lend money (mortgages) or provide policies (insurance). Their job is to secure the right product, at the right price, for their clients. Specifically,...

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Indigenous Design – People & Processes

idia indigenous design

GSM talks to Dr Johnson Witehira about Indigenous Design Methodologies - and discovers that; whilst having Māori working on 'Indigenous' work is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, having a fuller understanding of process - will result in a more meaningful output beyond simply achieving the 'right' aesthetic> Design companies throughout New Zealand are scrambling to hire Māori designers. For some, this investment is merely superficial; having a Māori designer means they can win the work they couldn’t get before. Sometimes this is to the detriment of Māori design organisations. For others, though, there seems to be a genuine...

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Uncle Charlie’s Brand, Packaging & Values

uncle charlies

Being 100% aboriginal-owned & operated, Uncle Charlie's is a brand with a difference. For designers working on The Tastes of Country popcorn packaging - this meant respecting, and working with, the cultural values behind the business to create something as unique as the brand itself. Traditional Aboriginal principles of sharing stories, food, and caring for country are the foundation of Uncle Charlie's Tastes of Country. In addition to this, the new Tastes of Country popcorn range only uses ingredients sourced from native foods and botanicals. These are sustainably grown, harvested, and sourced from Wiradjuri Country through long-established trade relationships dating...

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Synthetic Paper – Tear & Moisture Resistant

syntheetic papers

The most commonly used substrates for commercial print methods - both digital & offset- are wood-based papers and boards. But what if you have a print project that needs a more robust  solution? Something that won't tear and is moisture resistant? This is where synthetic papers come in. GSM investigates... Synthetic Papers The term ‘synthetic papers’ (sometimes shortened to ‘synthetics’) is a broad category of printable substrates made from materials other than wood pulp (the base material used to make most papers & boards). Synthetic papers are extruded from polypropylene or Polyester pellets to form smooth white sheets ready for...

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