Donald Preston

Donald Preston

Senior lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga - The School of Design

Donald Preston is a designer and educator with research interests in the visual expression of national identity, cultural narrative and signification. His particular focus on New Zealand’s historic and contemporary cartographic representation provides a fresh and unique approach to issues of identity and cultural expression. Preston primarily teaches graphic design, critical and contextual studies and illustration.

  • Expertise

    Graphic design, illustration.

  • Research Highlights

    Preston, D.B. (2014, June 26). On the Pacific edge: New Zealand’s cartographic shorthand for identity. At the 20th Annual Conference of the New Zealand Studies Association titled 'Across the Pacific'. Oslo, Norway.
    This illustrated paper reflects on a large collection of logos which illustrate the versatility and graphic adaptability of New Zealand’s unique cartographic form and global position. These attributes have become well established graphic symbols and are used widely by graphic designers as a form of visual shorthand to represent New Zealand and New Zealanders.

    Preston, D. B. (2011, July 3). Greetings from the edge: cartographic cultural expression. In ICC 25th International Cartographic Conference. Palais des Congres, Paris, France.
    This conference paper examines the evolution of the cartographic representation of New Zealand and explores how variations in modes of representation reflect contemporary economic, social and cultural contexts, and the extent to which they embody the nation’s storytelling objectives.

    Preston, D. B. (2009). Mapping identity: Learning to love our place in the world. In E. Salmi, J. Maciak, A. Pretty, & D. D. Hawkins (Eds.), Cumulus working papers: Auckland (pp. 41-43). Auckland, New Zealand: Aalto University School of Art and Design.
    This paper examines the role New Zealand’s cartographic reality, as a series of islands ‘at the bottom of the world', has played in the development of a national psyche and sense of self. It explores how New Zealand’s cartographic outline and global position is immediately identifiable and has therefore lent itself to a wide range of applications and visual expression.

    Preston, D. B. (2009). The importance of interdisciplinary links in design education. In L. Justice, Y. Y. Lam, & S. Y. Yung (Eds.), DesignEd Asia Conference 2009: Forget the future: What are today's design education issues? (pp. 1-12). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Design Centre.
    This paper presents an approach developed for teaching multidisciplinary groups, focused on exploring social change and contemporary social issues. It draws directly from the author’s research into national identity and the cultural significance of visual signs and symbols.

  • Qualifications

    DipTeaching (Wellington Teachers College)
    DipVCD (Wellington Polytechnic School of Design)
    MFA (Massey University)

  • Professional Affiliations

    New Zealand Cartography Society (associate member of Art & Cartography Commission of the International Cartographic Association)
    WHAM Research Network (War, History, Heritage, Art and Memory)
    Whitireia Polytechnic Design and Multimedia Advisory Committee
    Member of the organising team for ‘The Myriad Faces of war: 1917 and its legacy’ International Symposium
    Member of the New Zealand Studies Association