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Young creatives, these are my tips to create work that wins

Producing award-winning work can be daunting, but rewarding. This year, I had the honour of judging the Loeries Student category - which is the place students in tertiary institutions throughout Africa and the Middle East showcase their work.
This year's Facebook Student Challenge winners. From left to right Vega's Tshego Kwele, Vini Xavier and Cara Brauckman. Image credit: Julian Carelsen/2019 Loerie Awards.
This year's Facebook Student Challenge winners. From left to right Vega's Tshego Kwele, Vini Xavier and Cara Brauckman. Image credit: Julian Carelsen/2019 Loerie Awards.

I must say, the future of the creative industry is in good hands. Being in that room judging was inspiring as it gave me the opportunity to see the best our industry will employ in the very near future.

Much of the work was beautifully crafted and I could see the level of commitment and passion that students have. If you are already thinking about next year’s entries or others on your road to Loeries 2020, here is some advice. I hope it helps.

Create work that can exist in the real world

Telling stories that people can relate to is one of the things creatives should aspire to. Find your voice as a young creative and make your work relatable if you want to get into people's hearts and communicate with them effectively. Tell personal stories, no one can ever replicate your story.

Have fun with your work, set the scene, make your work compelling and make sure it’s understandable to someone who knows nothing about it. Judges will be judging lots of entries, make their jobs as easy as possible.

Ideas are as important as the work itself

Don't be precious about your ideas, you are still going to come up with so many more. Having the right idea is key to avoid working in circles. Learn about the world, every experience could be the insight you need for your next idea.

Immerse your ideas in other cultures to see connections that could otherwise be missed. However beautiful your work may be, if the idea is mediocre, I’m sorry to say that its very hard to polish a turd.

Be original

I believe the best work is brilliantly simple, original and compelling. Steal like an artist and learn from people you look up to but do not plagiarise work.

Judges come from different organisations all over the world; there is a big chance any one of them would have seen the work somewhere. Strive to produce something new, rather than work that seems familiar.


Presentation is so important as you need to get the attention of the judges for your work to be noticed. But at the same time don’t be too dramatic.

You don’t have to shock people to communicate with them effectively. Judges go through a lot of good boards, don’t lose their attention. Ensure you can tell the story simply so judges will be able to instantly grasp what you’re saying.

Guys, here’s the reality, big budgets don’t always mean good work

Once you’re working in your dream job, you will learn that budgets are smaller than expected. School is a great time to learn that big isn’t always better; clever creativity with impact is what wins clients and awards.

Right category

Paying attention to detail plays a pivotal role in the life and work of every creative. Making sure your work is entered in the right category has to be the first factor to consider. It broke my heart to see work that deserved some acknowledgment but was entered in the wrong category.

In a nutshell, I was very impressed by the level of skill, creativity and enthusiasm in the entries. I wish you continued success in your creative pursuits.

About Qondile Dlamini

Qondile Dlamini is a Mid-Weight graphic designer at VMLY&R. Originally trained in architecture and later visual communication, she has an understanding of design in both its theory and application. With a passion for people, she takes pride in creating work that?serves them using well-researched insights to inform her work.?Qondile believes in the transformative power of design in all its applications and strives to unlock it in every project she works on.

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