Jason Richards is a Year Four Graphic Design student who taught himself how to use Photoshop when he was just 12 years old. He says, “I used to mock up fake movie posters and create banners. I remember thinking, a designer doesn’t have to do everything on the computer?” This is when he really became interested in graphic design as a career option.
He grew up in Lynfield, where he attended Lynfield College. Jason attended a Whitecliffe Fashion Show and comments “ I was immediately intrigued by the alternative nature of the students’ designs. There was such a diverse range of collections and a cool vibe in the air. I knew then that I wanted to be part of Whitecliffe.” When Jason applied for the BFA programme and arrived at Whitecliffe, it was apparent that it was an intimate and proactive learning environment. Commenting on what he enjoyed most about studying at Whitecliffe “it was great how fast I became acquainted with everyone. Your lecturers know you by name and your classmates become your family. It really enriches the whole school experience. When talking about his creativity and individual practice fostered at Whitecliffe, Jason states “with how much creative freedom you are given at Whitecliffe, it’s so easy to immerse yourself completely to the point where your work becomes your life and your life becomes your work.”
Outside of school, Jason often can be found designing at home and is inspired by artists Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s Toiletpaper Magazine, fashion designer Raf Simons and multimedia artist Parker Ito. Jason’s advice for prospective graphic design students is to “look outside your industry for inspiration - don’t get stuck in the world of design!” The more research a student seeks in art, music, film, literature and global issues for example gains inspiration, which will only enrich the student experience. Jason comments that his personal strategy for new ideas is “if an idea pops into my head, I have to do something with it otherwise I’m not going to know if there is any potential in it. And so often, my work consists of a series of failed experiments and I really like that.” He hopes to win at the annual Best Design Awards in the near future, an initiative of The Designers Institute of New Zealand that has awarded Whitecliffe students in the recent past.