Initiative lands Wintec design student life-changing internship in Sydney

Wintec School of Media Arts design and postgraduate student Mata McKay.
Mata looking through her collection of Formist designs and publications, gifted to her from Mark Gowing on the completion of her internship.
At an annual class trip to Semi Permanent, Wintec School of Media Arts design student Mata McKay spoke up, took initiative and landed an exclusive internship in Sydney.


At an annual class trip to Semi Permanent, Auckland’s festival of creativity, Wintec School of Media Arts design student Mata McKay spoke up, took initiative and landed an exclusive overseas internship at Sydney-based design studio, Formist.

Mark Gowing, the founding member of Formist, who are also publishers and type designers, had sparked Mata’s attention when he presented at Semi Permanent last year.

Not one to shy away from an opportunity, Mata spoke up during the speakers’ question and answer time and she messaged Mark on Instagram after the conference to thank him for coming to speak.

After expressing her admiration for Mark’s work on the social platform, Mata commented that if he ever needed an intern she would gladly put her hand up. A few months later her bold, quick-thinking request was rewarded. 

Mata travelled to the Sydney-based design studio to complete an eight-week paid internship from February to April 2018, while she stayed with friends and enjoyed all that Sydney had to offer.

It was a nine to five gig but Mata says the creatives often wouldn't leave the studio until around 7pm. 

“They were all so passionate about their work and often they would work past 5pm, the collaboration and critiques were so involved, I just never wanted to go home,” says Mata.

Mata embraced this learning opportunity to get real industry experience, gain a valuable mentor and to hone her design skills.

“I learnt a lot of shortcuts, they helped me make sense of design tools, grids and baselines and how to create rhythm in my work from photography to design.”

Among the insights and words of wisdom, some advice from her time with Mark Gowing stuck, “build a thick skin and don't be afraid of critique, use it to become better. Let your life choices reflect who you are as a designer as every little thing counts.”

“I felt I didn't come back the same person, it was life-changing,” reflects Mata on returning home from her internship in Sydney.

Wintec’s School of Media Arts’ internship programme has students immersed in an industry placement relevant to their study, engaging in structured work experience for students to receive course credit for.

Interested in a career in design? Find out how to get there with Wintec’s School of Media Arts.

Contact details: 
For more information, contact Wintec Communications Manager Louise Belay 027 210 4574 or