Auckland Young Professionals (AYP) first launched in 2008 by a group of motivated and bright young professionals who recognised the need for a networking group that connected all industries and levels of experience. It was a chance to educate and develop young professionals in Auckland, but also a place to socialise and have fun!
Since it launched in 2008, AYP has gone through several ups and downs, including becoming dormant in 2010-2011 with only 10 members coming along to infrequent social drinks. It came back to life in 2012 with a new, refreshed committee who were determined to make it successful again. From there it has now grown to more than 200 members at social events.
Our committee of volunteers dedicate their time and effort to ensure that we remain relevant and provide value to members. AYP is now much more than just social drinks and guest speaking events. It is also workshop series, annual headline events such as the cocktail party, sporting teams, industry partnerships and a voice for young professionals in the region. We’ve come a long way in 8 years and we needed a brand to reflect that journey, as well as an image members could connect to. An image that was modern, fresh and different.
Over the last few months, a team of us on the committee have been working with designer, Katharina Herma to bring our new design to life. Katharina is a freelance designer who has been instrumental in guiding us through the process. From the jigsaw design of the logo that represents the diversity of our members to the blues that symbolises the City of Sails – every detail has been thought out.
We sat down with Katharina and asked her a couple of questions about herself and the vision behind the new branding.

Interview with Katharina Herma

Katharina Herma

Katharina, can you please tell us a bit about yourself, what originally made you want to become a graphic designer? Could you please briefly describe the journey so far…

Numbers never talked to me in the same language but I was always quite arty.  It’s a field I never get bored of at any time. I need a lot of new input in my daily life to feel balanced.

In my last year at school I was searching for a possibility to combine the things I´m good at with work you can also earn money with – easy as that.

So I started my study of communication design in Hamburg/Germany at the Institute of Design. It was thrilling to realise in the first weeks that my whole schedule was fun! There was no a single part of teaching that bored me, or that had me sit hours and hours in a library. That was the moment I realised that I’d chosen the right field to study. Kind of funny to realise now, that I was not that confident about the decision as I told my parents…

I was doing my first internship during my 4th semester (part time to finishing my studies). After that I was confident that I could start working in the field and just went for it.

I think the problem with studying is people face the working reality after they graduate. I learned at my part time work in the agency twice as much than at university – and I loved it.

Why did you decide to work with Auckland Young Professionals on this project?

I joined one of the social drinks events earlier this year. I had an interesting evening with a lot of nice conversations. After that I realised, how big the gap was between the actual visual identity and the feeling I had at the social drinks. I started chatting with Adel about this and we started working together. It was also a good opportunity to start my design business in New Zealand and get a cool Kiwi job done for my portfolio.


What was your favourite part of the process and how do you feel now that everything is completed?

The Sunday sessions with coffee! And the glimpse into so many different offices and meeting rooms – this was very interesting! The team was perfect: Sandy challenged the timings and did a great job in research and content, Derek did a fantastic job bringing the website alive in the way I scribbled it (thanks again for your passion Derek), Adel was exceptional in managing everything to be produced on time, and I visualised my design for AYP.

I think the really fun part for me was to start completely from a blank paper and have clients that trusted me and who were not afraid of making a big move.

I`m a bit sad that the teamwork is nearly finished, but I love the outcome. I feel happy about all the people I met during our work and the input I’ve had from them.


What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?

Oh! I just started a beginner class at the archery club. For me – as a person that is totally open for any sort of distraction or new input – it takes a lot of time to focus. Archery is great in teaching me to stay focused – without meditation or whatever. You just do it because you want to hit the f**king target.

The second thing I learned is: If your eyes are focused, your body knows what to do. Stop thinking and especially rethinking!


And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design? Especially for other young professionals like yourself?

Thank you for calling me young professional with 10 years’ experience… No, seriously, design is a creation, and creation only works with passion. Sounds a bit generic but that is what it’s all about. Don’t be afraid to reach a point of low creativity, it does not exist if you stay curious and keep your eyes open to the people and the world. If you get the feeling that your batteries are running low, try something you’ve never tried before, or talk to people from a totally different background than yours. Auckland is an amazing place for that – the multicultural atmosphere helps you to see things with different eyes.

Also it’s quite important to understand design and art is subjective – not objective like law. There is no black or white: everything is mixed up in grey. You will never get everybody to love what you design – but only what works for the people that love what you create. I think the last sentence is adjustable to every kind of business and for all young professionals: Don`t waste your time with people you don`t like.

For more about Katharina visit: