Student design spreads nationwide

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Whitireia Community Polytechnic was the first stop for the Justice Ministry when it wanted an imaginative community-looking design for a new book. They knew of the Whitireia Design Programme’s innovative and dynamic reputation, and thought the students would come up with a fresh look.

They weren’t disappointed.

In fact they are delighted with all of the entries, particularly the winning design, by second year design student Rhys Williams of Waitangirua.

Rhys Williams 2004

Rhys Williams with the cover designed for the Justice Ministry

Now 4,000 copies of the book Restorative Justice in New Zealand: Best Practice are being distributed throughout the country to court staff, police, restorative justice groups, and judges.

Manager of the Ministry’s Crime and Justice Policy Team Caroline Holden says they wanted an optimistic and forward-looking design, and also thought the multi-cultural environment of  Whitireia would come through in the design too.

Rhys Williams, who is Māori and Cook Island, says it took a week for him to cement the concept for the design. He describes it as a jigsaw puzzle with a Pacific feel.

“The pattern fused together represents the cultures of the Pacific. Restorative is putting back pieces of your life, like the jigsaw puzzle in the design. I also blurred the design as another way of showing it’s an incomplete form with the missing pieces.”

Rhys’s success underscores his newfound passion for design. After he completed Porirua College he went into carpentry. But when he realised that carpentry wasn’t for him, he remembered a Porirua College art teacher who had encouraged him to pursue his artistic abilities.

He signed up for the Whitireia Design course -- and hasn’t looked back.

Design tutor Ken Gilliam set the book’s requirements as a class project. All second year design students had three weeks to come up with an original design, mock-up, and professional client presentation.

He says it was a great learning project, and it threw up some excellent results from all the student.