Graphic design students Madeline Hughes and Christopher Brandl Lopez have turned their creative passions into achieving award-winning designs.

Winners at the Medela Mother’s Milk in Art Competition, Madeline and Chris’s inspirational visions of motherhood stand tall for all to see. We caught up with them to delve into what makes a great design.

First prize: Madeline's design
First prize: Madeline's design 


Second prize: Christopher's design
Second prize: Christopher's design


What was the inspiration behind your design in the Medela ‘Mother’s Milk in Art’ competition?


Madeline: My design, ‘Every Journey is Beautiful’, has togetherness as the central theme. Every mother has her own and shared journey with breastfeeding. This artwork brings together mothers of diverse backgrounds to show that breastfeeding is completely normal in every culture.

I wanted to create a soft, calming and unified artwork. The pastel colour palette of baby blues, feminine soft pinks and creamy yellows, with the light blush, beige and browns of the many different skin tones, all work harmoniously to create a peaceful aesthetic.

Now more than ever, mothers need to know they are not alone in their journey with breastfeeding. At times, breastfeeding can seem isolating and can feel laborious, but I wanted mothers to know they are never alone.


Christopher: My artwork was inspired by an emotion of a mother’s embrace through texture and colour, and how protective and nourishing maternal milk is for a child and their development.

The natural act of breastfeeding is enhanced by natural elements and brought forward to the viewer by the symbolism of the tree itself. The tree of life represents the nature of natural progress and a child’s journey through life and how they grow roots, flourish, and will soon be strong enough to survive on their own.


How have the skills you’ve learnt in the classroom helped with your designs?


Madeline: I have learnt so much about key design programs, like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. These programs are the go-to in our industry and having a strong fundamental understanding of them helps to strengthen any designs.

A key skill I have learnt for any project is it’s important to stay open-minded, even if you don’t think the project is the coolest. Some of the projects that I didn’t think I’d enjoy turned out to be some of the most fun and strongest portfolio pieces.

The most important skill I learnt is communication is at the centre of everything.


Christopher: The skills I have learnt in the classroom have helped me bring my creative thought pattern to the forefront. Being able to communicate your idea from concept to finalisation is a powerful feeling, and when you are able to exceed your own expectations in the process, all while you evolve and gradually progress, is amazing to experience and also see in others.


What have been some of the biggest insights you have gained during your Graphic Design course?


Madeline: The biggest insight I can give is to look at current trends and to create works aligning with them and to keep up with new design techniques, industry themes and topical trends.

For my Medela poster design, I looked at a past student’s design and every design featured either a mother and her baby, a breast, milk, or a baby. I recognised a huge gap where no one had done a design that showed multiculturalism and multiple women/children. I tried to embrace these two topics in my design to strengthen the chances of the poster standing out.

I looked at contemporary styles and techniques and saw fine line drawings and minimalist flat designs as a current trend. I choose to incorporate this as the overall look for the poster design.


Christopher: I have learnt some valuable lessons and thoughts to take into consideration during my course. One of the biggest insights has been how to find balance throughout your own design progress, from start to finish.

Firstly, failure is not final and progress is continuous. By completing your design work, you build confidence successively. Your artwork will evolve and improve, and you’re continuously taking stepping stones in a direction you creatively want to be and achieve. Learn to let loose, invite your creative powers and proceed with a steady pace, but never rush it. It’s a fine balance, but when you get it right – it sure feels good!