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Top 5 key take-outs from Design Indaba 2019
Young creatives from left - Cedric Nzaka, Nandi Dlepu, Morena Sefatsa and Yanga Yaya at the 2019 Design Indaba.
The Design Indaba is an internationally acclaimed conference that takes place every year in Cape Town where creatives and designers from all over the world descend on the Artscape to set the standard for creative excellence, innovative entrepreneurship and lateral solutions-based thinking on global design and social challenges.
This year’s conference had some incredible speakers from all over the world and I couldn’t help but be inspired by the radical ideas they shared. They really challenged my conventional understanding of what design and creativity actually is. It’s not just limited to the careers we are exposed to, it’s so much broader and it opened my eyes to a new level of thinking that I hope will inspire you to think big!
Below are my 5-key take-outs that from this year’s conference:
1. Sustainable ideas win
Sustainability was a running theme from conference speakers whose ideas had incredible ideas in the fields of architecture, product design, health and even burial. My standout was a young product designer Mirjam de Bruijn who found that almost all of our liquid cosmetics and household products contain about 80% water - which we transport and package while millions of people do not have access to clean water at home. She designed a system where the product, the 20%, can be bought in capsule form and prepared using water from the consumer's home using a reusable bottle.
Architect Dong-Pingg Wong also presented his visionary thinking of how he thinks cities of the future will look like. Together with Off White fashion designer Virgil Abloh, they designed a city on stage in 15 minutes with ground up structures that included public spaces such as parks snaking up skyscrapers that literally reclaimed the skies for the people.
2. Challenging Stereotypes is key
The world has advanced quite far in challenging long held stereotypes relating to race and gender however being at the conference made me realise that we still have a long way to go. My standout in this subject was Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kaihu who recounted the many ways African peoples have always practised rituals of joy through the ages that included tales of dragons and mermaids.
It is important to tell the joyful African stories, not just those of pain and suffering...
Louise Marsland 4 Mar 2019
This most likely inspired her next work around which sought to challenge stereotypical relationships in her outstanding film Rafiki which chronicles the love between two women. She ended off with a heartfelt plea to attendees to support films from creators who are non-white, female, binary and diverse. Check out the trailer for Rakifi:
Another outstanding speaker was Nigerian fashion designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal who is the founder of Nigerian fashion brand Orange Culture. He gave an impassioned speech that centred around how he is using fashion to challenge the toxic ideas around masculinity. In a groundbreaking on-stage presentation, we got to see his incredible collection of clothes that challenge the idea of what a man can and cannot wear.
3. Meaningful work matters
Advertising legend David Droga gave an incredible presentation on why doing meaningful work matters.
Three days of Design Indaba inspiration culminated in headline act David Droga, whose career in advertising traverses Saatchi & Saatchi in London, Publicis, NYC, to starting his own New York-based agency, Droga5 in 2006...
Terry Levin 4 Mar 2019
Ann Nurock interviews David Droga, the most awarded creative at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity and the youngest person ever inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame...
Ann Nurock 4 Mar 2019
“It takes the same amount of energy to do something great as it does to justify something mediocre, so why the hell not make something great?” said Droga. This indeed was a powerful antidote that challenged me as a professional working within marketing and brand communications to think about the work I have done and why it’s important for me to fight for work that matters. Check out some of the amazing work that Droga is championing at his agency Droga5 below:
4. Representation matters
In as much as the conference has made inroads over the years in having a representative panel of speakers that included African creatives like Wanuri Kaihu, Kagiso Lediga and Adebayo Oke-Lawal and a lot of female speakers at this year’s conference, the truth is that there is still a long way to go.
Award-winning and celebrated stand-up comedian, actor, writer and film director, Kagiso Lediga, took to the stage on Day 2...
Angie White 1 Mar 2019
I was struck by the lack of young, black and female creatives attending the conference. This probably has a lot to do with access, but more than anything it’s a matter of representation. There needs to be a lot more done in ensuring that young, black and diverse people have access to the main event.
I was personally thrilled that the Design Indaba gave us the opportunity to bring young, black creatives to share in the experience and I look forward to seeing more young people from diverse backgrounds shaping the agenda and the future of creativity and design as the conference celebrates its 25th anniversary in the coming year.
Lastly, I strongly believe that there is an opportunity for collaboration from established and emerging creatives with the Design Indaba.
Its only through working together that we can use the power of design and creativity to shape ideas that are going to provide sustainable solutions for the future. I look forward to seeing more and more projects that will be collaborative efforts between the Design Indaba and various stakeholders to make a lasting change through the power of ideas.