Category Archives: Creative

Fuel Your Creative Fire

creativity

The more I think it about this, the more it makes sense to me.

You never ever ever feel inspired, or motivated, or excited, or creative, when you’re doing nothing. The more creative you are, the more creative you’ll become, because creativity is not something that can be used up. As you work, you inspire yourself, you over come challenges, you cause your brain to burn creative fuel, but it’s not like wood. It’s like a bottomless tank of gasoline – the more you add, the brighter the fire becomes.

So immerse yourself – dive headfirst into your creative work, and you’ll find that you no longer need to hold your breath – you’re breathing just fine under water. And you’re loving it.

Herby Happiness Flower Arrangement

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My parents-in-law is busy selling their house. So every weekend at the moment we’re having an open home which means that every Sunday morning we’re sprucing up, dusting down, shaking out and preparing for visitors. On the first weekend, I decided I wanted something beautiful to pop in the vase on my desk. With no time to head to the shops to buy flowers, I ventured into my mother-in-law’s garden (which is basically just a floral haven – butterflies flitting from bud to flower, bees buzzing about, birds tweeting, and lots of bright colours). I wanted something that was going to smell as gorgeous as it looked. There’s a large assortment of herbs, so I ended up cutting a couple of stalks, bunching them together and popping them into the glass jar I had available. It looked incredible, and smelt so delicious!

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All you need is access to (yours or your neighbor’s or someone who’s not home’s):
• Mint
• Rosemary
• Fennel bush

Aside from the shrubbery, you’ll need:
• Scissors
• Glass jar with water

Pop (or if you’re taking from someone else’s garden, sneak) outside and cut each of the herbs and flowers shown in the image below. Arrange them in your jar, and see which need to be trimmed down and shortened. It’s important to create texture, through the different kinds of leaves used, but also size – you don’t want everything the same length, but rather varying heights that create an aesthetically pleasing arrangement.

Once your cuttings and flowers are at the correct lengths, take them all out and begin arranging them. Place the longer, taller sprigs of rosemary towards the back. Your fennel should go in next, as it acts as a filler and is quite soft, so placing it in later could bend and damage the cuttings. Position the fennel flowers in a way that allows them to be seen from all angles. The mint can go in last, as it can be curved, or may need the other flowers to hold it up.

I find that this will generally live for about a week – a week and a half. You’ll find that the Rosemary will live the longest, but I wouldn’t suggest throwing  the remnants in with your Sunday roast – cut some new herbs for that!

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Brand yourself, baby!

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As a designer, I’ve always learnt to sell myself as a brand – a fully formed, stylish brand that a company can buy into. It might not seem as important to you if you’re a lawyer, baker or candy floss maker. However, with the rise in competition in all fields of business, I can’t stress enough the importance of marketing yourself as a brand to potential employers.

Put yourself in the HR department’s shoes – they sift through potentially 200 CVs and applications for 1 particular job, and see the same old dreary, lengthy, Microsoft word documents time and time again. It’s boring. In pops yours, with a spark of colour, a personal little logo and a clean, well designed layout – their mouths will be watering before they’ve even finished reading the first line.

Below is an example of my own personal branding that I use on my CV, Cover Letter and Mini Portfolio that I send out when I apply for jobs. I really believe that the more impeccable and stylish your own personal stationery, the better impression you’ll give potential employers.

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I always suggest putting in the time and money to hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing design-wise to create something for you. You can write it off to tax, it will benefit you in the long run and it’s going to potentially help to get you a great job! But hire someone great – not your neighbor’s cousin’s son, who takes art lessons and has access to Microsoft paint. If you’re paying peanuts, you’ll get monkeys after all. You wouldn’t hire a baker to do you accounting. Don’t hire any old person with Photoshop to design the brand that’s going to represent who you are.

If you can’t afford to hire someone, and have to design your CV and branding yourself, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when doing it yourself:

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Below, I’ve drafted a Cover Letter to explain what you should be talking about in each paragraph. Remember, not more than a page and short sentences. Also, not more than one thought per paragraph. Keep it concise, slightly humorous if your job description allows for it, and very specific to the needs/key description in the job ad. I’d suggest using a point size between 10 – 12 for your body copy – nothing bigger or smaller than that. (And yes, this is my real information – don’t phone me in the middle of the night and make scary voices please! We’re all friends here.)

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Cosmetic Infographic

This is something I’ve been working on for the past few days. It’s one of the first times I’ve actually started and finished a project that I simply decided to do, and wasn’t just paid to do…. Also, I made a delicious butternut pasta and went for an 8km, so I feel pretty awesome about myself today as a designer, runner and food making extraordinaire. Here you go – an awesome infographic I made using information from a this source – this Delineo company has some great data. I might use it to do a few more data visualizations in the future.

What I love about data vis. is that when you see physical shapes in relation to one another, the data takes on a new meaning all together. As one might have guessed, I have a Ted talk that I favour entitled The Beauty of Data Visualization by David McCandless. The simple way in which he groups data makes it seem to come alive, and new connections can easily be seen.infograph-01

Why I hate maths.

Maybe that’s not the best way to title this post. But I don’t really care, because its how I feel.
I’ve always hated maths. From question sums in grade 3 to long division in grade 5, it’s always been my nemesis – sneaking marks away from me every year at school, preventing me from achieving the average I deserved, forcing me to think laterally, instead of the zig-zag, brightly coloured, round-about creative process my right brain usually uses. To put it bluntly, it was my least favourite lesson and I felt that maths was single handedly ruining my life, all the way up to Grade 12 when I was accepted to study graphic design, didn’t need it any more and dropped to an easier level – Maths Literacy.

takes courage to be creative

I’m not going to tell you about some big epiphany that I had where I realized maths was super essential to my current career, or how I now understand why we need to use X and Y in algebra (Why are you using letters where there should be numbers? You’re confusing me. Is this
English?)
But I am going to tell you about an extremely interesting occurrence that is currently taking place in the world around us. The old left-brain thinking careers are very quickly falling to the way side and becoming second fiddle to the growing need for right-brain thinkers who can problem solve in a unique way.

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Creative Jobs #4

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I made it to a month! One month of interviewing a new creative person every week to find out more about how it feels to do their job. In case this is the first Ceative Jobs post that you’ve seen, I started out interviewing a magazine designer, an advertising art director and last week I interviewed a creative entrepreneur. And so… onwards, to our next interview! And as I suggested last week, if you love fashion, then this interview is for you!

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In my pretend fantasy world I’m a fashion designer. I get to spend my days searching for luxurious fabrics, sketching future master pieces and flicking through fashion magazines to see models in my clothes. WAKE up, time check, it’s 10pm on a Tuesday night and I’m working on round 12 of a logo design that never wants to end. However, for my friend Georgia, that fantasy world is a reality. In between daily trips to Knead Bakery and finishing her undergraduate degree, she’s running her own fashion design company, designing her own lines every season, and what’s more – it’s not only her friends wearing her clothes. Fortune is now being stocked online at Style36, is appearing in numerous publications and is hella fabulous. Georgia blogs at The Fortunate One where she writes about fashion, her fab life and her super cute pugs pups.

• What job do you have and what is your company’s name?
I am the owner and head designer for fashion label Fortune.

• What does your job entail?
I am what one would call a fashion designer, but I believe that today the term goes deeper than just designing clothes. My working title of designer/creative director sees me sourcing fabric, discovering and liaising with retailers and creating collections. I also handle the PR and social media marketing of my label.

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• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
I’m currently in my final year at the University of Cape Town, completing a BA in English Literature & Media. Although my first love lies with fashion, I felt that being an individual of many talents wouldn’t hurt.

• Do you feel that your tertiary education has had a huge influence on your career, and why?
Being fashion designer was actually a childhood dream of mine that was realized through my mother having been in the industry for over 20 years and deciding to open her own CMT or clothing production factory. And yes, I’m not ashamed to say that nepotism played a role in my chosen career, but I’ve always believed that one should embrace the opportunities that one is given. I decided to eschew studying fashion design to rather pursue my love for writing, which is perhaps equal to my love of fashion, but ultimately the desire to begin my own career in clothing won out. I think that today it does certainly help to be a bit of an “all-rounder”, what with blogging and having a strong social media presence along with the actual fashion label all such important aspects of getting a brand going. I don’t believe that my decision to not study fashion design on a tertiary level has put me at a disadvantage as one tends to learn far more from hands-on experience than in more theoretical environments.

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• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
From sourcing new styles to finding the perfect materials, being able to go through different creative processes each day is refreshing and challenges me to improve both my business and myself.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
Usually I answer and/or reply to emails from fashion media and prospective or existing buyers. I’m in close relationships with all three of my online retailers so if I have new styles to show them I head out to meetings. I’m on the road for the majority of the working week, sourcing fabric and liaising with those in the industry. I do always make time for a treat from KNEAD Bakery of course. We all have our vices!

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• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
I would have liked to have been a bit more clued-up when it came to the actual running of the business and how important having good PR relations are. I feel that I wasted a lot of time before I acquired the skills I have now, but in the greater scheme of things, self-education can be far more valuable and rewarding that any sort of “crash test” in how to make a success of one’s self. What I have learnt is that there are no short cuts to business satisfaction.

• What is your creative process when you work on a new line?
I begin with trend forecasting, usually with any of my favourite European fashion publications, along with whatever I feel would be marketable to a local consumer. South Africans can be rather conservative in their dress sense, but there is definitely a younger, more daring market out there that is looking for something bespoke and avant garde that will ensure that they stand out from the crowd. It is very important to me to retain my label’s aesthetic of classic, minimalist lines in unique and luxurious fabrics so there is of course a strong input of my own style in what I design.

Secondly, once I have chosen styles (I usually start with about 10 different garments) I have the patterns created and mock-up samples made. After that I source fabric, which is always tricky as Cape Town has a rather large family of designers and we are all shopping at the same places; and create my final samples which go off to my retailers who will then place orders with me so I can go ahead and purchase the materials needed. I’m very lucky to have a CMT that is as efficient as mine is and we usually get our orders of minimum 100 garments out very quickly.

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• What kind of person would make the ideal fashion designer?
One has to be thick-skinned to a certain degree, but overall an eternal optimist. The fashion industry, especially that of design is intensely competitive and absolutely everyone is really talented at what they do. An ideal fashion designer is someone with a strong personality that doesn’t shy away from wanting their name to be heard. You have to envision opportunity before it even presents itself and hold on to it when it does. My chosen career would definitely suit the person that creates her own destiny as opposed to waiting around for things to happen.

• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old were you when you knew what you wanted to be?
Since everything from my Barbie dolls to my pet dog received a myriad of outlandish outfits as I was growing up, I can definitely say that I’m living my childhood dream!

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• if you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
I would have started my label sooner. Nothing can top the satisfaction that working for yourself in a career that you are passionate about can bring. I have literally found my Fortune.

Creative Jobs #3

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This column gets more and more exciting for me every week. I absolutely love sending out my questionnaire, getting the answers back and reading through them. Even though the people I’ve been interviewing are mostly close friends of mine, it’s really interesting to listen to their stories and   find out more about them. You might remember that I started out with Nicola Hohls, a  layout & magazine designer. Last week I spoke to Harriet Stockwell, an avertising art director, and now we’re chatting to Robyn Britz from Zana, the brains and creative head behind the Cape Town based brand.

003_Creative entrepreneurRobyn is a really good friend of mine. Now I know I’ve said this before with the previous two posts, but in this case we’ve been friends since we were 6 years old. She broke my finger, we sat next to each other in Grade 7, we had lots of fights, lots of amazing sleepovers and made a million memories together growing up. Robyn has always been super creative – her mom’s been involved in printing since forever, and I always remember going to her house after school and there would always be crafty sort of stuff lying around, and lots of colored paper, and we used to get creative in between prank calls and swimming in the pool. She used her background in brand communication and coupled it with her insanely tenacious and go-getting attitude and launched an amazing brand called Zana (You might remember that I shared some photos from their studio a while ago) with her mother Sue. Add the talented interior designer, Melissa Nunnerly, to their team and they’ve gone from cushion covers to tote bags to table runners to pouches to covering chairs to taking on the world one seriously cool print at a time.

• What job do you have and what is your company’s name?
I am co-owner and head creative of a small business called Zana. We design textiles which we sell by the meter as well as develop into finished goods such as pouches, cushions, totes, tableware etc. We are an online store and sell to every corner of the globe from our studio in Woodstock.

• What does your job entail?
I do the designs and decide on the creative vision for our products (with a little more help now days.) I photograph new products, edit photos and work on the website. Because we are mainly an online store I am constantly updating the website and photographs of our products (which is in essence what sells them.) I also maintain our business blog, do admin and social media.

• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
I studied BA Creative Brand Communication specialising in MultiMedia Design at Vega in Cape Town – It took 3 years and I finished at the end of 2012.

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• Do you feel that your creative tertiary education was a huge influence on your career, and why?
Well, I wouldn’t say huge, but it definitely did influence my career. I feel like I have always had the drive and work ethic to my name but tertiary education just taught me how to think, I grew up, learnt how to use programs and obviously improved my design eye. I also learnt a lot about branding which is important as I now manage my brand.

• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
I absolutely love my job. I get to be creative every day and I’m inspired by the fact that I have created something that people want to own. It’s also my creative vision, which you cannot put a price on.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
I come in at around 9 (normally 9:15 because I’m off getting coffee somewhere – like Skinny Legs, my new favourite spot.) I get in, make sure my production ladies are okay and packaging orders. I check my emails and generally get into my to-do list. I will reply to customers, send out tracking numbers and discuss wholesale queries with the team. Small business involves being jack of all trades and I do more admin than most would think! I will also do some creative, shoot a blog DIY for our blog, queue posts for social media, Instagram some things and then I’m off home at 5.

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• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
Before I had chosen a creative career I wish I had known that it’s hard work and everyone has a different taste, you just have to be yourself and be great at that!

• What kind of person would make the ideal creative entrepreneur?
An ideal creative entrepreneur needs to eat sleep and breathe their business, at least until it has its own legs. Starting small is fine, we did that, but when the time comes to give it your full energy, you need to be ready. You need to be a ‘do-er,’ many people talk about and dream up amazing ideas but never get it going. I think of something and then make it happen and that is definitely what has gotten us this far! Be willing to compromise on your social life and work harder than everyone around you. It also all depends on what growth you have projected for your business. You need to believe in what you do and feel inspired by it.

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• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old we’re you when you knew what you wanted to be?
To be honest, up until 3rd year I wanted to be a web developer. I love computers, coding and the internet. College left me with mixed feelings about creative jobs, I tried my hand at a little advertising and that really wasn’t for me. I was freelancing from early on in college and I guess that’s when I really knew that I had the will power to do things on my own. Zana only really came into play just before I left college when we launched a few products. I decided not to apply for a job after college and set up my desk giving the business my full time and it honestly has sky rocketed beyond my expectations with local and international sales. I have since then been able to call this my full time job and it’s the best!

• If you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
Actually nothing! I would love to have learnt how to sew somewhere along the line. But I’m a serial jack of all trades and sometimes I just need to accept that I can’t know how to do everything!

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|| All images are from Zana’s website or Etsy site.

A Great Gift Idea

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Okay, so with Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s – as I’m celebrating this year) coming up shortly, I thought I’d share this sweet idea that I had over the festive season, and ended up using as Christmas gifts for some of my friends. What could be infinitely cooler or cuter than a mini mimosa set? It’s super quick, easy and simple and is basically a one person party-in-a-box! Mimosas are, of course, a mix of champagne and fruit juice – something I adore because it’s perfect for any time of the day, with any meal or for any celebration. And as I like to see every day as a reason to celebrate… cheers!002

Right, so first… a list of the things you need:

Cute box that closes. I got mine from Merry Pack – a paper and packaging company that rock my world year in and year out.
A fruit juice. I chose my favourite Krush flavour – orange.
bubble wrap, for cushioning
Tissue paper, for covering the cushioning bubble wrap
A champagne glass. I found these awesome old-school ones that I think are so cool that I want to drink everything out of them forever more.
Some kind of glittery thread. I got this from Merry Pack too.
A mini champagne or sparkling wine. JC Le Roux‘s mini bottles are the perfect size and taste!

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I gave out my mini mimosa sets as Christmas presents, and they were really well received by all of my friends, but I think they would be a fantastic gift to give to friends for Valentine’s Day. Easy to put together, and useable – so they don’t have to have another gift cluttering up their house.
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Creative Jobs #2

Creative Careers_general headerSo here we go, round two of Creative Jobs, my new & exciting weekly column. Last week I featured Nicola Hohls, a good friend and great layout & magazine designer. This week we’re moving swiftly along into the big bad world of advertising, and next week we’re chatting to Robyn Britz from Zana, about her journey to becoming a creative entrepreneur.

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Harriet Emily Alice Stockwell is a super star designer. The kind of woman that turns everything she touches to creative gold. Her hard working, I-can-do-anything attitude put her through 3 years of Graphic Design (where I met her) and resulted in her graduating top of our year in 2012. While many of us lazy students kicked back after class watching series and Facebooking our friends, Harriet was working as a waitress, doing her homework until early hours of the morning, and never stopping to take a moment’s rest. She’s notoriously sharp, a scamp master of note, and never settles for anything less than perfect – and why should she, when she works so hard at everything herself?

• What job do you have and who do you work for?
Art Director for Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa.

• What does your job entail?
As an art director I am required to conceptualise creative ideas to communicate a certain message or thought. The idea needs to answer a brief, given for a brand/product. Once approved by client, I then direct the vision of the idea for execution.
Due to my design background I often do the execution myself, however, if a job requires illustration, typography or photography that is when we out source the best of the best and I direct them to deliver my vision.

• Where and when did you study, and how long did it take?
I studied at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I did a three year National Diploma in Graphic Design. I started studing in 2009 and finished 2011.

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• What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
Seeing the final execution of the idea I came up with and sending it into the world for other people to see. It’s so awesome to finally finish a project, step back and see the great work you’ve made.

• Describe your ‘average day’ in the office…
I start my day by checking emails, then move onto the project I am working on at the time.
Sometimes I will have a new brief come in and that will be briefed in a meeting. Or I will have reviews, of the current project I’m on, with my Creative Director. Once a project is signed off and given to client, I then get a debrief on any changes they have.

I’m mainly behind a computer, working on Adobe illustrator, Indesign and Photoshop simultaneously. If I’m working on a big project, I sometimes get to do the fun things, like going to a photography shoot or being on set for a commercial.

• What do you wish you had known before you picked your career?
The long hours and little pay to start with. But the long hours pay off in the end and eventually the pay gets better.

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• What kind of person would make the ideal art director?
Someone with a great imagination. Great imagination makes for innovative/fun/creative ideas.

• Did you always know what you wanted to do, or how old we’re you when you knew what you wanted to be?
I always chopped and changed what I wanted to be, but I alwasy knew I wanted to do something creative. Whether it was art, dance or drama, I wanted to do something that I could express myself creatively in.
Graphic design became an option when I was 17 and about to finish school. I knew out of dance and drama, graphic design would guarantee a steady income, and if I hadnt studied that I would never have known about art direction and gotten the oppotunity to work for one of the top advertising agencies in the world.

• If you could go back and change anything on your journey to the job you have and love now, what would it be?
I don’t think there is anything. Because even though I didn’t study art direction, my design ability is what won me the job and the rest I’m learning along the way. And if I’m not learning, I’m not growing and then I’m useless, so I think everything has been just right to get me here.

Whole Campaign copy|| Oh, and it’s her birthday today!! Happy Birthday Harriet ‘Hbomb’ Stockwell! Your spark for life inspires me everyday!

 

Seventeen Magazine home work Diary 2013

No, I’m not going crazy. I meant to say 2013 in the title up there. This is the diary I designed and photographed for last year. I adore it so much, as it was my first really big project that I did as an official graphic designer, fresh out of varsity and feeling pretty awesome about myself.

I still take it out and page through it quite often, and so I decided it needed to be styled into a gorgeous shoot to share on the blog. So here it is…IMG_5656 IMG_5663 IMG_5666 IMG_5677

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