When good things come in threes

Design Assembly’s insistent and consistent desire to support, care for, and connect Aotearoa New Zealand’s design community across the spectrum is tireless and commendable. Louise Kellerman and Nicole Arnett Phillips are the constant — the tag team behind Design Assembly (DA) — and their combined effort to help designers stay connected and positive through this challenging time is proving to be a boost for the creative community. Louise shares three initiatives that have seen people pause, participate and contribute to the conversation.

Design Assembly Covid-19 initiatives for the Aotearoa NZ design community

by Louise Kellerman


The DA team want to support our community through these unprecedented times — and something we kept coming back to is a focus on connection and community. So we do what we think DA does best: sharing ideas, inspiration and information, and profiling our community.

 With that in mind, we have launched three key initiatives in addition to our usual content program.

[above: Abhi Topiwala, motion designer for news & current affairs at TVNZ]

Take 10 with…

Firstly, a new interview series called Take 10 with… a pulse check on how designers are feeling, how they are working, what they are missing, and what their hopes are for the future. We invited some of our friends, peers and the DA team to participate, and we hope you enjoy these honest and candid profiles of Aotearoa designers today.

Zoe Ikin pictured above, is one of the latest in the series, along with Nick Kapica, Monique Robins, Chris Flack, Debbie Kitson, Nick Riley, Casie Smith, Tonya Smith, DA’s Nicole Arnett Phillips and Louise Kellerman, Laura Ciblich, and Johnson McKay, just to name a few.

The DA Pulse Check

Secondly, we have been holding The DA Pulse Check each Thursday, thanks to our principal partners Blutui, Streamtime, Portfolio Recruitment and mychillybin. In each week of the category 4 lockdown, DA held a Pulse Check Conversation with a small group of designers to check in with how the design community at large was doing and in the spirit of the DA philosophy to share information, ideas and inspiration to keep our community connected and stronger together.

We’re now taking pause to reflect, create and continue with the next series of online conversations from mid May. In the fifth and last DA Pulse Check, Louise Kellerman, DA Founder chatted with Ben Reid from Milk, Elena and Gideon Keith from Strategy, and Gray Rathgen from Jade Software. Above is DA Pulse Check #2 : Eddy Royal from Curative, Emma Kaniuk from Studio Akin, Jef Wong from Designworks and Matt Grantham from Onfire Design.

Check out the other checks: DA Pulse Check #1 : Louise Kellerman, DA Founder and DA Editor, Nicole Phillips chat to Annie Dow of Dow Goodfolk, Laura Cibilich from RUN and Sam Southwell from Studio South / DA Pulse Check #3 : Amanda Gaskin and Tim Donaldson from Seachange, Joanna Alpe from We Love Inc, Jonathan Sager from Voice and Stephen from McCarthy / DA Pulse Check #4 : Clem Devine from Jasmax, Denise Faraco from Tricky, Ryan Marx from Marx Design and Sam Ramlu from Method Studios.

How are you doing? In conversation with Aotearoa NZ Design

Lastly, Design Assembly launched a community survey (and invite you to take part if you haven’t already) —

In order for DA to advocate on behalf of Aotearoa NZ Design and offer the community valuable relevant support, DA wanted to better understand the current situation and what is important to everyone. DA created a survey to assist in making a plan of action to support Aotearoa NZ Design businesses, their people, and their families.


Click here to complete the survey (approximately 15 minutes) and please share it with your colleagues, and collaborators. The more responses we get the richer the data and better the support we can offer. Design Assembly will start to report back on the findings of this survey in early May.

These three key initiatives sit alongside Design Assembly’s usual program of content in which Aotearoa NZ designers, studios and design schools are profiled through showcasing design work, sharing ideas, information and inspiration, and hearing practitioners’ stories of living a life well in design.

Help DA to continue the good work —

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Louise Kellerman / Design Assembly Founder and Director

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