7 Things I loved about the 2017 Design Indaba

I think I have a love / hate relationship with Design Indaba. The love bit being that it just obviously gets cooler every year, the hate bit being that after meeting such amazing artists and looking at their work, it makes you ask yourself what the hell you have been doing with your life since graduating. Either way it makes you want to be so much better as a designer and creative, plus a little motivation is always a good thing. Especially in this industry.

Design Indaba is for creative people like gym is for fitness enthusiasts (poor comparison but I hope you get what I’m saying) and every year, if I’m able to go, I always find myself feeling like a design virgin ready to take on the world with all my inspiration, ideas and new lease on my creative life.

And with so many people in Cape Town deciding to go into Graphic Design or Design in general, it gets harder each year to distinguish yourself amongst the thousands of artists wanting to create a lasting impression in the industry. Even though the conference is insanely priced (thank you Atmosphere for sponsoring me) I would urge all long creatives to find a way to go or at least do the research afterwards about who spoke at the conference.

So while it’s fresh in my head (kind of) and work deadlines haven’t killed my spirit yet, here are my top 7 reasons why I completely loved the 2017 Design Indaba.

1  /  It’s at the Artscape theater now

I realise that I actually like this building and I that I don’t visit it enough. So having the opportunity to go and experience it in a different form was cool. Also, it’s the Design Indaba and having it at the “Arts”scape kinda makes sense like from a conceptual point of view. I vote this venue for all future creative uses 🙂

DSC_1050 copy_20170302_194234 copyDSC_1054DSC_1082DSC_1078DSC_1089

2  /  The intro video

I must have watched it every time it came on screen. It was part of the theme and was like a mini motivational with its big bold words and dramatic music. It was so catchy! At least I thought so. I remember trying to keep my phone’s video camera ready whenever it came on. I managed to get most of it like an the 9th time trying, however I did find the original by animator Jeremy Collins so I suggest watching his version instead.

3  /  The food

It was free, and it was awesome! Thanks to Woolworths for the awesome lunches and also thank you to the people who ran the IKEA activation and provided us (well me) with free morning swedish sandwiches after sufficient lurking 🙂


4  /  It had a little bit of everything “design” to showcase 

Ok on to the serious stuff now.

Design Indaba really had it all to show. From music to film to technology. It really wasn’t just relevent to one aspect of design. I even learnt about cool architecture…and it wasn’t boring! I definitely had my favourites but the whole program was diverse, colourful and each speaker had something amazing to add. I’m glad I got to experience other forms of art in all it’s inspirational glory.


5  /  Including These 2 weird / wonderful dutch men who decided to send emails to all the people who copied their work

They’re called Lernert and Sander and before the Indaba, I had no idea they existed. I’m so glad I do now because they’re effing amazing! Controversial…but amazing. But as it turns out, becuase they are so amazing, other people decided to steal their ideas (even after they’ve been launched). So they decided to show us their work, and show the copy cats work…and show the face behind the copy cat…and send them an email…in front of everyone! So much of burn, but so totally worth it. They even had a whole choir conduct a courtesy “we forgive you song” to go with the email. Nothing like a topping of sarcasm to go with that helping of savagery.

Oh and all of this received a standing ovation so you can imagine how good it was. I’ve attached a few samples of their work I liked.


See more of their genius work here.

6  /  Also, I found a new awesome graphic designer to perve on

Not that Michael Bierut or Bri Emery will ever be replaced on my design obsessive meter but I must say that this chick comes pretty close. Kate Moross is awesome on so many levels. I remember when she cam on stage and I was like “who is this weird girl that’s been dressing in Disney all conference?” And when she began to speak I took note, and when she started showing her work, I was like “that’s it. I love her now”. I mean she got to design the stage display for One Direction and it looked too amazing for words! Such design goals I want to cry but also where has this inspiration been my whole life???

I have included some of the examples she showed as at the conference but if you would like to see more, and I think you’ll probably want to, you can head over to her personal portfolio as well as her studio portfolio. You’re welcomed 🙂

Design Indaba web pic.jpgImage Source: designindaba.com
1D_OTRA_STAGE_03-750x0-c-defaultALL_SCRIMS_22-1250x510PL17_HEROPOSTER_RGB_2000px-1-884x1250Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 10.47.17 AMScreen Shot 2017-03-09 at 10.47.38 AMWOW_CMINE_KVRANCKEN_2016_4523_STUDIO_MOROSS-1250x610Images Source: studiomoross.com  / katemoross.com

7  /  But most importantly, the initiative to always design for good causes

And when it’s all said and done, the free food finished and all the celebrations had, there’s always that one thing we can walk away with, and that is a reminder about why we got into this industry. Design Indaba is the most amazing in that sense. It creates opportunities for creative people, especially the local talent to do amazing things within its conference and thereafter. Providing exposure for artists who are keen to show the world why they love what they do.

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It’s always encouraging us to design for a bigger cause than just us. To use what we have to make a difference in lives. The 2017 theme was turning “THINKING” into “DOING” and the way it came across in so many speakers presentations were nothing short of awe inspiring. It was nice to be in the presence of such prestigious creative minds and I was sitting pretty close to them so I hope some of that genius got sprinkled onto me. Here’s hoping!

And now back to my day job. Thank you for reading! x

Sources: lernertandsander.com / katemorros.com /  studiomorros.com  / DesignIndaba.com

2 thoughts on “7 Things I loved about the 2017 Design Indaba

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