To mātou whainga
Our purpose

Rukuhia te rētōtanga o te moana, piki ake ki te taumata mō ngā kōrero.
Dive into the deepest oceans, climb the highest peaks for wisdom.

We believe design can change the world. We believe in the power of creative problem-solving to impact our clients' world for the better. We are very clear about why we exist, what we are great at, and how we can help our clients achieve their goals.

He aha tā mātou e mahi nei
What we do

Every project has a process.
But no two projects are ever the same. 

We use our design skills to help solve our clients' problems. As a design company we seek to deploy our skills to help our clients where they need our expertise for their brands, social-marketing programmes, exhibitions, educational tools, films, charitable causes, and other information design projects.

Our mission is to help our clients to develop what we call the modern Aotearoa brand - brands that are inclusive, open and built with te tāngata at their heart.

Communication design.

For stakeholders, customers, communities — in a word, people.

Strategic design.

Brand strategy, brand architecture, brand identity — because getting these things right helps organisations move forward.

Culture design.

Purpose, values, engagement — when people believe and belong true value can be realised.

Our experience in client sectors include:

Arts
Education
Energy
Environment
Export
Finance & Insurance
Food & Beverage
Government
Healthcare
Not For profit
Professional Services
Retail
Technology
We are on the New Zealand All-of-Government procurement panels for:-
Design; Consulting; Web Services; and Advertising.

Ko wai mātou
Who we are

People make our place.
And are the reason others come to us.

We are a team of designers, thinkers, activators, doers. Ocean Design is a place we are proud to work at because we are accepted for who we are, valued for what we can offer, and encouraged to become the best possible versions of ourselves. We have a diverse team who complement each other's strengths slash quirks.

Blair Mainwaring

Te Kaihautu / CEO
Owner of Ocean, Blair has over 25 years' experience as a designer. He believes that design in its purest form is a problem-solving process, and that is what our clients need from us. Be it branding or communication design, the principles remain the same. Focus on and understand the people who the design will touch, and then, and only then, may you actually have a chance of succeeding. Speaking of success, Blair is a lifelong Liverpool supporter.

Clare Garner

Te Taurapa / Design Strategist
Clare is a deeply experienced designer who likes to ‘lift the bonnet’ to uncover what makes an organisation tick. She knows that all organisations are different and takes the time to listen and genuinely understand what makes people get out of bed each morning. Clare’s secret power is her empathy and she thrives on collaborating and connecting talented humans. A newcomer to gardening, Clare loves nothing more than getting her hands dirty and dreaming about what she’ll plant next.

Charlotte Mason

Te Kaiāwhina / Executive Assistant
With a background in fashion and design, Charlotte is a stylish addition to the Ocean whānau. Charlotte is passionate about communication, learning, and sustainability. She brings her cool, calm and collected approach to managing the everyday rhythm of the Ocean studio and tīma (team). Charlotte is a big fan of second-hand shopping and is a cheese scone connoisseur — ask her where to find the best scones in Wellington.

Anna Tulloch

Te Tauihu / Account Manager
Anna brings a wealth of experience in client liaison and account services to our Ocean team. She’s honed her talents over a diverse and highly practical background: from marketing farm machinery, to managing a YouTube account for an electrical manufacturer - she’s done it all. Anna’s a highly skilled communicator who works with a calm, attentive and meticulous approach. Originally from Denmark, she boarded the wrong ferry one day and ended up in New Zealand. We’re extremely grateful.

Ria Hodges (Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Kai Tahu)

Māori Competency Lead / Te Kairūnā
Coming to Ocean by way of Te Herenga Waka, Ria is a multilingual learner of te reo Māori and an experienced researcher. Ria leads and supports cultural growth in the way we and our clients work and uses her knowledge of mātauranga Māori to shape insights and brands and organisations through a te ao Māori lens. When Ria isn’t at Ocean, you’ll find her hanging out with her two tamariki, Ocean and Karearea, and training on the ocean with her waka ama team, Rehutai.

Rhueben Meredith (Ngati Hāmoa)

Te Kaiwhaitohu / Designer
Rhueben brings an intuitive approach from his human-centred design background. A creative thinker, Rhueben is experienced at taking complex ideas and translating them into strategic and compelling design. He’s adept at helping brands and organisations bring their stories to life through visual identity. Outside of work, he’s a spearfishing free diver. We’d call him our Aquaman, but that seems too obvious.

Maraea Gourlay (Tūhoe)

Te Kaiwhaitohu / Designer
Maraea is a recent graduate from Victoria University’s design school with a string of accolades: she was the recipient of both a Victoria University of Wellington Taihonoa Scholarship and a Victoria Achiever Scholarship. After seeing her impressive portfolio, Ocean snatched her up and made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. She has a bucket load of raw talent across design and illustration. Watch this space - she’ll tell us something funny once she’s settled in more.

Frankie Speer

Te Kairāranga Kōrero / Writer
Frankie loves a good story. An exceptional storyteller, her special sauce is a mix of curiosity and asking questions, but most of all, listening. As Ocean’s in-house writer she’s here to solve complex design challenges with smart strategic content. Experienced at creating content for different channels and platforms, she’s written for websites, social media and eDMs and print. Frankie loves nothing more than a kōrero about kai – don’t be surprised if she asks you what you’re making for dinner.

Matt Everitt (Ngāti Ranginui)

Te Kaiwhaitohu / Designer
Designer, Matt works effortlessly across design and technology. Matt's work transcends established forms of design. His creative problem-solving is helping our clients communicate in more innovative and spellbinding ways. Matt loves creative coding as a means to explore and bring data, digital, and design together. Matt is a surfer. Enough said.

Taylor Malthus

Te Tauihu / Account Manager
Taylor brings her skills of communication, empathy, and organisation to the Ocean client services tīma (team). Her studies in International Business, Marketing Management and Education at Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington give her a unique perspective on the wide-ranging projects she oversees. Taylor is a talented dancer and teaches hip-hop dance classes on the side — if you ask nicely, she might treat you to an impromptu performance at your next WIP.

Aaron McKirdy

Te Pou Arahi / Design Director
Aaron has over 20 years’ of experience working with some of Aotearoa’s most recognised brands and leading creative teams. With a broad design portfolio that spans brand and packaging design, children’s books, art publications, and album covers, he has won numerous awards and accolades for his work. Aaron lives on a hill in Wellington with his partner, two kids, two cats, and three chickens named Duck, Goose, and Turkey.

Sam Dungey

Te Kaiarorangi / Do-er
Sam defies labels. Ocean's renaissance man, he is equally at home helping a client formulate a complex digital brief as he is building a wall in our offices. Nearing 15 years at Ocean, Sam has built an unmatched level of trust and respect with our clients as an agile and dedicated problem solver. Extremely pragmatic, Sam holds an unerring eye on the future and the implications this may hold for Ocean and our clients. He once had a pet chicken called Chooky. Don't ask.

Anthony Tipene-Matua (Rangitane, Kahungunu, Kai Tahu)

Te Kaitaupua / Māori Design Consultant
Our Cultural Consultant, Anthony is highly skilled in Tikanga and fluent in Te Reo. He helps Ocean and our clients to engage with Mana Whenua and Iwi where needed to gain Māori community input and insights. His wisdom, mana and inclusiveness creates powerful connections. From the small town of Pōrangahau, population 250, Anthony grew up with a love of Elvis. ‘All shook up?’. We are!

Frances Thorpe

Te Tauihu / Project Manager
Frances has applied her great attention to detail over a broad range of clients: from not-for-profits such as Sir Peter Blake Trust and Paralympics New Zealand, to large corporates like Westpac, DB Breweries and Hotels.com. She also had a stint working client side at Unilever developing account strategy plans for some of their biggest brands. She’s now lending her Project Management skillset to Ocean and our clients to facilitate great relationships and above all, results.

Hannah Dollery

Te Kaiwhaitohu / Designer
Designer, Hannah honed her design skills working in different studios around the world, before coming full circle back to Wellington. She’s pretty keen on all things design - from a beautiful typeface through to a carefully considered annual report. She loves the small details of design craft and the creativity required to solve problems through design. Hannah is currently renovating her house and spends her free time making things from clay. You could say she is a bit potty. We wouldn’t dare.

Jaz Ashby

Pou Tauihu Matua / Account Manager
Jaz is our Account Director, responsible for building stellar client relationships. Over 11 years in the creative industry with previous clients from FinTech to fashion, her wide range of experience is matched only by her smile. She’s got a real knack for managing creative teams and is skilled in delivering solutions across the whole branding gamut - all the way from identity to execution. She delivers excellent work and - as a dyed-in-the-wool millennial - is passionate about smashed avocado.

Ngā mātapono
Our values

We centre our practice around five core values that remain unchanged.
They underpin the work we do, and guide our journey to be an equitable Aotearoa brand with an authentic Te Ao Māori lens. With the help of designer Kauri Te Atua we developed a tohu that signifies our values using the sail of a traditional waka or va’a. To learn more about our values please contact us. We are happy to share.
Rukuhia rētōtanga
Dive deep
Whakatangihia te pūtātara
Ring the bell
Hopuhia te hau
Catch the wind
Ki te hoe!
Take the wheel!
Tautoko tātou kia tātou
All hands on deck

To mātou pūkōrero
Our story

We’ve covered a few miles.
But we're still learning.


Founded originally in 1988, Ocean is in its 4th decade. Although the scope of our work has changed over the years, the Ocean attitude never has. We learnt a long time ago that hard problems are solved better when we roll up our sleeves and get stuck in, together.

When we turn 30 we celebrated our local community. Check out One Square Block.