About Foundation Design

Foundation Design is a small, but perfectly formed graphic design agency based in Auckland, New Zealand’s city of sails. Foundation Design director Paul Shadbolt saw the need for a more intimate design agency experience while still offering a broad range of quality design solutions.

I love working one-to-one with people and have a desire to help individuals and business reach their full potential through good design and systems.

Foundation Design offers all the graphic design services that you would expect from a design studio and a few that might surprise you. Not only can Foundation Design design an invoice template for you, but Foundation Design can also suggest what accounting software to use and show you how to produce your own perfectly branded financial stationery. Foundation Design can create a great logo for you, and then roll that logo out into an email signature and show you how to add it to the bottom of every email that you ever send.

Foundation Design offers advice on a wide variety of communication mediums that will create a solid foundation for individuals and business to promote their services and products. Foundation Design is excited by emerging technologies and systems, and believe that used accordingly, these technologies will help individuals and business to perform at their very best.

Conversely, I also believe in old school values and know that ‘sometimes’ a handshake is better than a txt message, and a letter is better than an email. We say ‘sometimes’ because Communication Strategy can be a bit like that old rock, paper, scissors’ game. The various available options all have their pro’s and cons. The trick is choosing the right one, at the right time, for the right purpose.

Although what I really like getting my teeth into is identity design, publication design, typography and web design or even better, a combination of all of them.

About Paul Shadbolt

I’ve always been curious by nature, I like to figure things out and understand what makes them tick. It’s this curiosity to learn new things and experiment with new experiences that fuels my need to explore problems and find solutions. The launch of Foundation Design is a forging of this ‘creative curiosity’ with many years of experience in different careers and areas of life.

I believe that a well-designed identity supported by good systems is the foundation of how the world sees a business and to a certain extent, how that business sees itself. I believe so much in the importance of this concept the I named my own business after it.

I have been a graphic designer for many years now, but prior to this, I spent 17 years as a professional women’s hairdresser. Although I loved every second of that dynamic industry, in particular, the personal one-to-one working relationship that I had with clients, after a while, I found that I had reached a point where I itched for a new challenge. With encouragement from friends and family, I went back to school and commenced a four-year design degree at Auckland Unitec. This time rich environment was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Design school encouraged me to develop a creative process and thinking through experimentation of ideas and techniques. During the 1st semester of this design course, I also attended the Axis Awards Advertising School. At the completion of the AAA course, I received a highly commended award and then completed three months of work experience in advertising before refocusing on my design degree. In the final year of my degree, I secured an internship at Seven Visual Communication. The studio experience that I gained while working with the Seven team informed my work at school and I consequently passed my degree with honours.

I then worked full time for Seven until I left at the end of 2003, after which I pursued work as a freelance designer and worked on a variety of different projects. A sabbatical for a year took me overseas throughout South East Asia and India, where I filled numerous flash drives with images of these beautiful countries, as well as filling my soul with amazing experiences. I returned to freelance design work in New Zealand as well as a brief stint working as a coordinator in the film industry for a couple of years.

For the four years previous to the launch of Foundation Design, I was head of creative and marketing at Redhead Clothing where I was responsible for the look and feel of Redhead’s brand. This role allowed me to oversee everything every aspect of Redhead’s branding from swing tags and neck labels for garments, to the design of seasonal look-books and order forms. Like many businesses in New Zealand, Redhead staff had to be generalists as well as specialists and on top of my role as a graphic designer, I was also Redhead’s in-house photographer, systems analysts, hardware, and software procurement manager and the I.T. guy when a computer was misbehaving.

It is these extra roles that have given me a greater depth of business-related knowledge and therefore makes for a better designer.

Paul Shadbolt – Lecturer & Educator


Reciprocity is the word that springs to mind when I think about my role as a lecturer and educator. I’m very excited and grateful to be a graphic design lecturer.

As a freelance designer, I have always been interested in ways that I can achieve a greater involvement with the local design community, and so to teach is a fantastic opportunity to be involved, and to give back to the design community.

I love working with students. They challenge me and I endeavour to give them advice and skills that are industry-relevant, and that will help to secure lasting employment in the design industry.

Working with such a large and varied group of aspiring creatives comes with its own reward of energising my own work.