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Professor Receives International Design Award

New Zealand Professor Receives
International Design Award

Russell Kennedy, Icograda President Elect (Australia), presents Hazel Gamec with the inaugural Icograda Education Award. Photo: Stuart Alden


Professor Hazel Gamec, founder and Academic Manager of the Wanganui School of Design, Wanganui, New Zealand, has received an international Educational Award of Excellence for outstanding innovation and achievement in design education. The award was presented in recognition of Professor Gamec’s commitment to design education over the past 36 years of her teaching career by Icograda, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations.

The award was granted in Cuba at the international Icograda General Assembly. Professor Gamec was attending the world congress as the New Zealand voting delegate for the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ). The award was a complete surprise for Gamec. “To be acknowledged by my peers for such an auspicious award is very humbling.”

To quote Russell Kennedy, presenter and president elect of the Icograda board “I’ve been working in education for 15 years and very rarely do you meet people that make an impression on you. Occasionally you meet someone who has a major impact on the lives of her students and staff. Also, very rarely do you meet someone who actually established a graphic design school and twenty years later it has become one of their country’s premiere design institutions.”

Professor Gamec was interested in pattern and colour from a very young age.
A graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), she also studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She ran an award-winning design consultancy in Minneapolis and taught at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Osaka University of Arts prior to coming to New Zealand and establishing the Wanganui School of Design in the late 1980s.

Her passion for design and education has become legendry and rewarded by students and graduates receiving many national and international awards for their work. Professor Gamec’s contributions to design education include the establishment of an Intern and New Media Research Laboratory at the Wanganui School of Design. The concept was based on a philosophy of working on design projects that were clearly identified as non-profit or educational.

She was also instrumental in bringing New Zealand’s first jointly branded degree in association with the University of Waikato to the Wanganui School of Design, the Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design. Since then Design Survival Camp was born in 1991 and is a place where national and internationally recognised keynote speakers provide a creative and innovative global perspective on design. Prior to that there was no design forum in New Zealand where students, educators and professionals could engage in dialogue.

Professor Gamec said the Wanganui School of Design has an international reputation for its experimental work in new media and graphic design. “The School of Design is an alternative voice in design education. Its dynamic studio environment attracts highly motivated students and staff from around the world who are intent on engaging in a process of independent growth and constant experimentation”.

Icograda is the world body for professional graphic design and visual communication. Founded in 1963, it is a voluntary assembly of associations concerned with graphic design, visual communication, design management, design promotion and design education.


Icograda promotes graphic designers' vital role in society and commerce and unifies the voices of graphic designers and visual communicators worldwide. The vision, mission and core values of the council are collectively embodied in the communication statement of 'leading creatively' which is manifested through our members diverse activities to use design as a medium for progressive change.

Icograda has 63 Full Members, 18 Associate Members, 11 Affiliate Members, 71 Education Members and hundreds of Friends of Icograda in 57 countries worldwide, sharing common concerns, commitments and standards.

Icograda is the world's non-governmental and non-political representative and advisory body for professional graphic design and visual communication.


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