Hans Suhartanto & Cindy Limardiono completed the RMIT Master of Communication Design in June 2017. This short Q&A gives some insights into their experiences of the program, and of studying at RMIT’s Melbourne city campus.
What motivated you to undertake postgraduate study?
— Hans: Before we started at RMIT, Cindy and I had a little design studio called Studio Tomapo. It was an exciting and thrilling journey, but we still had some unanswered questions in our heads that we wanted to research through postgraduate study in order to create more meaningful designs for our clients and their audiences.
— Cindy: I felt that we needed to step back from work for a while and take the opportunity to expand our expertise without any of the restrictions and boundaries associated with full-time work. We both strive to be better and aim higher, so we never want to stop learning.
Why did you choose RMIT for your studies?
— Hans: We see Melbourne as a centre of culture, art and design. Good design is in every corner of the city — its architecture, retail identity, publications and even the city signage. RMIT is a central part of the city and we believe that design is strongly influenced by its surroundings, so when it comes to studying design in Melbourne, RMIT came to mind pretty naturally.
— Cindy: We also knew that RMIT is one of the biggest facilitators of design practice in Melbourne, and RMIT and the design industry are closely tied together.
What skills have you gained from the Master of Communication Design?
— Hans: For me, the two most valuable things I’ve learnt in the program are how to think strategically about design and how to have a critical eye, which help me create more meaningful work.
— Cindy: I learnt how to see things in close detail while always keeping an eye on the bigger picture. The program has enhanced my knowledge, exposed me to different perspectives and pushed me out of my comfort zone, enabling me to do work that is creative but still has application in the real world.
What were some of the the highlights of your degree?
— Hans: Through RMIT’s connections to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) we both did volunteer work at the Ai Wei Wei / Andy Warhol exhibition, helping to create Ai’s 'Letgo Room'. It was such a fun, unique and valuable experience. We got to see behind the scenes of making the artwork and learning how big exhibitions work.
— Cindy: We also did a full-day workshop with Surya Vanka, who is Director of User Experience at Microsoft, about using design swarm techniques to help solve problems with homelessness in Melbourne. RMIT’s strong international connection with industry leaders allowed us to participate in a global conversation while broadening our own design perspective.
Where do you believe this degree will take your career in the future?
— Hans: I have learnt so much from the masters program, and it has complemented the experience and knowledge I already had. I’m really eager to implement what I’ve learnt into future work projects.
— Cindy: When we go back to our studio and work in the branding and design industry, the knowledge, insights and experience we’ve gained will be invaluable. I already had the foundational skills for a design career, but RMIT has helped me nurture it.