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New Graphic Design Lecturer Promotes Eclectic Learning

July 13, 2011

Teaching graphic design students “broad breadth creativity” is a priority for newly-appointed EIT lecturer Jerry Gull. 

Jerry says graphic design can be informed by many other disciplines including print, 3D and different spatial fields.   At various times during their careers, graphic designers are likely to find themselves working on projects that require a diverse range of creative and practical skills.   

“Creative and design flexibility is also important given that the jobs graduates end up doing may not exist yet.  The reality is that in a lot of cases they won’t.”

Jerry’s areas of specialisation are information and typographical design, and he has worked in corporate design and advertising studios.  His background contributes to a team ethos where other lecturers draw on different educational, employment and specialists skills such as illustration, advertising, newspaper and digital design.

“We’re an eclectic group of people and a mix of nationalities and that really works.  I’m enjoying the cross-fertilisation of ideas and the fact that I’m not just another member of staff.”

Moving to New Zealand late last year, the Shropshire-born Englishman had assumed he would end up working in Auckland or Wellington.

“They’re the two big commercial centres, and I have contacts in both cities.”

But shortly after arriving, he spotted an EIT advertisement for a graphic design lecturer’s position.  Happy with what he learned about EIT, he followed it up.

“I liked the programme content and the way the Bachelor of Visual Arts degree programme was structured.   There are no majors, and students are encouraged to explore areas of creativity beyond their immediate artistic interests.  This extends their horizons, and what they learn enriches their own areas of specialisation.”

Taking up the EIT appointment in March, Jerry is happy that his views on teaching graphic design square with those of Arts & Design Head of School, Dr Suzette Major.

“She’s a driven woman who knows what she wants and how to get it done, and that’s very similar to what I want.”

Although London’s West End was the place to learn graphic design, Jerry considered a move to the city to be a huge step from his rural upbringing.  So he started tertiary training at Watford College of Printing, a major centre for design and print just north of England’s capital. 

He did choose “the place to go” for type, however, graduating with a Master in History of Typographic Design and Graphic Communication from the University of Reading.

The university has “an international reputation for type,” he says. 

Working full-time in the graphic design industry until 2000, Jerry then started combining practice work with part-time teaching.

“I think it’s important to keep the practice up.  If you’re teaching, you’ve got to practise what you teach, otherwise it doesn’t work really.” 

Tiring of life in London, Jerry and his wife Sally decided on a move to the country.   They checked out Dorset, Devon and Cornwall but settled on New Zealand after coming here on a belated honeymoon three years ago.

“The way of life here equates with what I grew up with”, he says.   “I enjoy its rural ambience, the family life, that people know one another and that a friend knows a friend who knows a friend.  In London, you lead a very insular life.  You could live at the same address for 10 years and not know your neighbours.”

Having realised the dream, Jerry and Sally feel they will be in Hawke’s Bay for some time.

“I don’t have any hankering to go back other than to visit family and friends, and possibly take in the odd museum or exhibition,” he says.