Our country is home to some of the world's finest designers, across a myriad of genres. Growing international interest in the highly popular Design Indaba and last year's awarding of World Design Capital to the City of Cape Town speak to this idea.
With Africa's broader consumer economy opening up like never before, it's little wonder that European and American brand custodians are leaning more and more on South Africa's design and branding expertise to help shape a successful entry into a highly competitive environment, full of many different cultural nuances.
The question, though, is where do these designers sit and why? Some would argue Cape Town, where creative licence and the setting to 'play' more are greater, and others would argue Johannesburg, where the big bucks and demand for internationally-benchmarked corporate design are higher.
"Being exposed to working on many market-leading brands has enabled us to get a pretty good idea of who does what where and well, so here's our version of the truth," says Ian Nel, Co-owner of Engage Brandcraft, a brand design agency in Cape Town.
Lauren Wolff - Lauren Wolff Designs, Johannesburg www.lwdesign.co.za
With graphic and web design experience dating back to the early 90s, Wolff has made it her business to remain ahead of the game. She provides a solution that is creative, unique and professional. Her entrepreneurial abilities and creative skills led to the establishment of Lauren Wolff Designs.
Putting her name to the company means that she expects nothing less than perfection for her clients, a quality she is known for. Her clients include Marshall Eagle Aviation, PriceMetrics and Beyond Success.
David Byrne - Aqua Online, Cape Town www.aquaonline.com
As senior web designer for one of South Africa's best digital agencies, Byrne has built up some enviable experience on top brands including Unilever, Pepsi and Sanlam. With qualifications from the AAA, Friends of Design and Flow, he has recently undertaken assignments for Jack Daniels, Absolut Vodka, Hennessey and Southern Comfort, to name a few.
Warren Willmot - Bakedginger, Cape Town www.bakedginger.com
Willmot's passion for good design and animation saw him going solo in 2011, under the name Bakedginger. With more than four years' experience at both Flick and King James Group, he took his first step in the area of packaging, and then later progressed into motion design.
Bakedginger has recently expanded to offer a full suite service, which now includes concept creation, script writing, story boarding, filming, editing, design and animation.
Mishka Abrahams - In-house Design Studio, Cape Town http://inhouse.ws
Her job description includes conceptualising packaging and bringing products to life through her efforts and you are bound to have seen some of her excellent work in your local supermarket. Spending four years as a graphic designer at M&A Design Studio has prepared her well for the demanding role that she currently holds.
Dijon Jones - Engage Brandcraft, Cape Town www.engage.co.za
It is said that a qualification from Vega can land you the job of your dreams. However, a qualification from Vega and a dedication to the meticulous crafting of many brand touch points will land you an even better deal. With a Loerie to his credit, a fresh approach and clean design style, he is a vital creative asset and a combination that fits perfectly with the agency's high-end client base. He applies the famous algebra formulas to his client requests; 'x' is solved and the answer is a great client testimonial and business referral.