Graduate Success

Valerie Dambaeva

Junior Graphic Designer, Fuman Design Studio


“Before coming to ACG Yoobee, I worked successfully as a graphic designer in Moscow, having graduated from Moscow State University of Printing Arts with a Diploma of Graphic Design. I also spent a year studying at Joongbu University in South Korea. After graduating I spent eight years working for Russian TV channels, working my way up to the position of Art Director. I was the head of the design department and managed all the processes and people in it.We were responsible for the design and image of our TV channels, several newspapers and magazines. The hours were long but the work was challenging and interesting.


“Unfortunately though, when you become a head of department you spend less and less time creating. I wanted to keep developing as a designer and as a person, so I left my job to go travelling for a year. I started in Portugal and then came to New Zealand to study English and do a meditation course. I had planned to go to Bali and India after that, but I loved New Zealand so much that I decided to stay here and study instead! I was having a creative crisis, and hoped that furthering my design education at ACG Yoobee might help me find some direction as a designer. It turned out to be just what I needed!


“The tutors were inspiring, patient and positive. Within the year we did a lot of different projects, each of which had to be completed in two to five weeks. This enabled us to learn each subject comprehensively, explore the theme, and create some work. Each project was very creative and completely different. In fact I would describe this course as a ‘creativity marathon’!

“During the course I took part in a Behance Portfolio Review, where you make a portfolio of your best work, and it’s then reviewed by professionals from within the design industry. My work was noticed by Jon Chapman-Smith from Fuman Design Studio and I won a Behance Appreciation Coin. I jumped up and down like a child when my name was announced amongst the winners!


“Some of the work I created during my course also got picked for ACG Yoobee’s latest advertising campaign. Our brief was to create an infographic for new students, choosing any topic we liked. I’m always inspired by space so I created a constellation illustration for each course, with the idea that design offers a universe of opportunities, and when choosing a course we choose a design path - in fact we choose the direction of our lives. It’s been a little weird walking around the city and noticing these familiar images, and then realizing it is actually my own work! It’s pretty uplifting!


“Now that I’ve graduated from ACG Yoobee I’m working as a Junior Graphic Designer at Fuman Design Studio.  After Jon spotted my work at the Behance Portfolio Review he offered me an internship, so for the last few months of my Yoobee course I worked at Fuman two or three times a week. Once I graduated they offered me a permanent role. I'm really happy that I found this job. The work is really interesting and we’re constantly engaged in a wide variety of projects including branding, illustrations, infographics and more. My colleagues are high-level professionals, which I find extremely motivating. Working in a design studio is very different from working in TV, and I’m loving every minute of it!”









Valerie Studied