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Jenna Hagan's Design Toolkit

Megan Hill
Illustration by Jenna Hagan

Visualist speaks with top designers and creative directors to find out what essential tools they keep in their daily design toolkit.

Name: Jenna Hagan

Profession: Graphic designer

Location: Tāmaki Makaurau, NZ

Jenna Hagan is an accomplished graphic designer, currently working for Ara Manawa—a creative team responsible for developing future products and experiences at Auckland City Hospital. We asked Jenna to share the tricks and tools that make up her daily design toolkit...


A page within Jenna's notebook. Sketches and notes made in red and black ink on lined paper
A page taken from Jenna Hagan's notebook.

Definitely blank paper. I like to sketch and illustrate my ideas, or just jot down thoughts.

The page shown illustrates a design sprint conducted with Doctors and Nurses.


I recently used this pairing for a poetry installation at the hospital: #578c91—a dusty robin’s egg blue, and #705236—a soft milk chocolate brown.


I’m drawn to simplicity, geometry, and a sense of handicraft.

So definitely anything from the 50s/60s, such as Alvin Lustig or Saul Bass. They have a clean and brutalist design sense but with a touch of whimsy.

Designer on speed dial:

My former mentor and colleague Elliott Scott. I worked with him at Applied—a brilliant little design studio in New York.

I do appreciate more famous designers like Paula Scher or Jessica Hische, but Elliott taught me so much! His work for the World Trade Center is beautiful.


Firm favourite written in Benton Sans

Benton Sans. I love Frere-Jones’ work.

"A distant love" written in Tiempos

Tiempos by Klim—a New Zealand-based Type Foundry.

"never again" written in Calibri

Calibri—the default typeface for Microsoft.

Organisational approach:

I have to keep track of all tasks meticulously in ClickUp. I schedule blocks of design time, to ensure I get into a deep-thinking space without getting interrupted by a meeting.

The key to keeping a project organised is to communicate clearly with everyone involved.

Trusted advisor:

Designers tend to give clients a bad rep in terms of feedback but at the end of the day, you are working with the client to create a visual solution to their problem.

If clients aren’t able to give constructive feedback, it’s on the designer to help give them the language to discuss the work.

Find out more about Jenna's services and past projects on her website. Connect with Jenna on LinkedIn.