Meet Chantel Johnston, New Zealand’s latest graphic designer

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Age: 21

Hometown:  Williamston, Mich.

College graduation year: 2016

The internship: A visual arts major, Chantel recently traveled to Wellington, New Zealand for her first internship with Audience Graphic Design (http://audiencedesign.co.nz/pop-in-for-cuppa).


What did you expect going into your internship?

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Not only was this my first job experience in my anticipated field, but it was also my first time leaving the U.S.”

Can you describe what you did daily in New Zealand?

“Monday through Friday I would wake up at 8 and get ready for work. I had to be at work at 9 a.m., but my flat was conveniently located right around the corner from Audience Design. There was a café called Preservatorium in between my flat and work, and I had breakfast there most days because groceries were about the same cost as eating out, and the food in Wellington was amazing. Then I would walk to work and my boss would buy us coffee every morning. So I would go with Ollie, the supervisor who would assign me projects, to Supreme Coffee, a local coffee supplier, and we would pick up coffee from Richard who ran the shop and knew everyone’s orders by heart. Then we would walk back to work and Ollie would assign me a project to work on or I would continue with a previous project.

“I would finish around 5 p.m. and head back to the flat and chill with my flat mates, who luckily were all super cool. Audience was pretty small; there was the owner, Dave, and then Squid and Pat who did video work, and Ollie who did the graphic design. One day we cut out early and went to watch the All Blacks (New Zealand’s Rugby team) play at one of the bars the company does design work for. Then after the game, the manager came and we had a mini meeting about some future work they were going to do for the restaurant. On the weekends I would explore Wellington or take day trips to explore surrounding areas. I took a long weekend and explored the North Island with my flat mate and new friend, Heidi.”

Who is your inspiration in the professional world and why? 

“Constance Conklin, my Graphic Design professor here at OC. She has been pretty freaking awesome, and we really bonded because I transferred in the same semester she started teaching and we both commute from Lansing. I was really unsure about going after a graphic design degree because I wasn’t even sure about college, and I had no idea what degree would help me get a job that I really liked. I knew I wanted to be creative and do something that makes me happy. When I started out in my graphics classes, Constance really inspired me and I knew this was going to be a good degree. Gary Wertheimer (professor of art) and Thia Eller (assistant professor of art) have also been a huge influence on me here at Olivet, and by learning from these three great artists I feel I really made the right choice in sticking with my passion of art and creativity.

As far as professional inspiration in terms of what I actually want to do, I am really inspired by craft breweries. I would love to work in the beer industry designing labels and posters for a craft brewery. I also have a passion for wine so a winery would be cool, too. I’m also really inspired by companies that care about the planet and the good health of people, animals and the environment. So with that I am also inspired to work for some kind of cool company trying to make a difference in the world.”





How did you land this internship?

“I was the very lucky co-recipient of the Justus W. Cohoe/Evelyn Gray Anderson Memorial Travel and Workshop Scholarship through The University of Olivet. Without this generous gift I would have never been able to afford an experience like this, or even afford to take six weeks off work. I will be forever grateful to the gracious donors who provided this scholarship, and to Gary and Thia for choosing me to receive this awesome opportunity. Once they told me I had received it and got to choose any type of traveling experience that would further my art education, I was beyond thrilled.



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