In 2019 Porsche will release its first electric cars. Porsche Head of Marketing and Deakin Alumnus Steffen Westbye claims that pre-orders for the car are three times the normal yearly selling range for their standard cars. While admittedly Norway does own the largest share of electric vehicles in the world, this sort of excitement from consumers can largely be put down to one thing: Excellent branding.
Steffen has always had a great desire to learn new things. At the age of 14, he established his first clothing line, designing outdoor wear for the snowboard industry using a computer and a bit of help from his father. By the time he was 15 years old his clothing line was out in shops throughout Norway.
This experience was pivotal in forming his passion for visual communication. After studying media communication at high school, Steffen went on to study graphic design at Noroff in Norway. Thanks to Deakin University’s partnership with Noroff, Steffen went on to complete a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) at Deakin’s Melbourne Burwood Campus. While studying at Deakin, Steffen took part in an internship with a design agency in Melbourne − Blick Creative Industry − where he worked one day a week. From the beginning Steffen was a part of the team, and was able to gain experience working on a variety of real projects with clients across Australia.
After finishing his bachelor’s degree at Deakin, he went on to study a Master of Arts at Hyper Island in London, where he juggled part-time studies with work and freelancing back in Norway. In 2016, with his master’s degree in hand, Steffen left London to look for new adventures.
From there, Steffen took on a number of interesting roles. One of his most challenging was a project in collaboration with Redbull, where he was tasked with designing a helmet for a base jumper. He spent many long hours working on the fit and design of the helmet, ‘But the ultimate reward was when the base jumper threw himself off a cliff wearing the custom-made, one-of-a-kind helmet,’ Steffen recalls.
As well as continuously freelancing, Steffen has worked within marketing and branding in various companies and gained knowledge and experience within many different areas. ‘I´ve always had a compass and sense of where I want to go,’ he says. ‘But unexpected things have happened along the way and the breadth of experience has become my forte.’
Regarding his Deakin experience, Steffen says ‘The content and structure of the courses were very good, and the teachers were really professional.
‘The world today is more interdisciplinary than ever before and Deakin’s visual communication degree offered such a good grounding in a range of creative disciplines,’ Steffen continued. ‘It’s a program that can take you in so many different directions.’
Steffen strongly recommends that students spend lots of time building their portfolio. ‘Think thoroughly about what sort of work you want to showcase and try to put the drive for money aside while building your portfolio,’ he advised. ‘The money will come, eventually. Take on assignments and jobs that you think will look great in your portfolio.
‘Put yourself in challenging situations,’ he continued. ‘They are usually the ones that force you to think differently and push you forward.’
Story by Martine Hansen Langdon, Deakin Europe office
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