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#Loeries2019: "Discover how different cultures are reflected through their creativity and ideas" - Katja Thielen

I chatted to the international jury presidents ahead of the upcoming Loeries Creative Week. Kicking off the series is this year's design jury president Katja Thielen, creative director and founder of the UK's Together Design.

This year’s international jury presidents for the Loeries will once again head up key jury panels and speak at the much-anticipated DStv Seminar of Creativity.

First up is Katja Thielen. With a keen eye for design and over 20 years of working in the London design industry, Thielen co-founded Together Design in 2003, an agency built on craft and collaboration, which has blossomed into an enviable work culture.

In 2013, Together Design launched Perfectly Put Together, putting their skills, insights and curiosities on display in their own online shop, which has given Thielen a valuable window into her retail clients’ world and new insights about the challenges they face every day.

Thielen says innovative ways of working continue to preoccupy her – as a result, she has just co-founded a new licensing brand.

She’s passionate about consumer brands and retail, and loves the challenge of developing emotional connections and crafting personality, having worked on brand and packaging designs and licensing guides for Walgreens Boots Alliance, Diageo, NBC Universal, University of Cambridge, Caffè Nero, Fortnum & Mason and many stamp collections for the Royal Mail.

Her impeccable eye and vast experience across both B2B and B2C markets make Thielen an excellent selection as this year’s Loeries design jury president. I chatted to her about her judging expectations, what we can expect from her DStv Seminar of Creativity talk and more…

BizcommunityIt’s always an honour to be asked to judge international work, especially as an international jury president for the Loeries. How did you celebrate the news and what does this mean to you, personally?
Judging awards is always an honour, as well as being an opportunity for lively debate and discussion with like-minded creatives and designers from around the world. So I was delighted to be asked and I celebrated with the rest of the Together team in our time-honoured fashion – with a bottle of bubbly from my father's vineyard in Germany!

BizcommunityLovely! What are you most looking forward to from Loeries Creative Week 2019?
I’ve been to Africa a few times before, but this will be my first time in South Africa and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the country and learning more about the creative industry in the region.

I'm looking forward to discovering more about the creative essence of your region during the judging process. It's always fascinating to discover how different cultures are reflected through their creativity and ideas – it's a window into another world.

BizcommunityThe jury presidents also speak at the DStv Seminar of Creativity, a highlight for many attendees. What can we expect from your session?
My presentation will bring together a few strands that are important to us at Together: the maturity and interconnected nature of the UK's design community; the way the traditional boundaries between advertising, branding and graphic design have dissolved; and how as the founder of a relatively small design company, we instil a workplace culture in which great ideas thrive, enabling us to compete creatively and strategically with much larger global players.

BizcommunityWhat’s the biggest trend in advertising that you expect to see from this year’s entries?
Today's consumers are very demanding and they look for brands that reflect their own values and priorities.
The penny has finally dropped for many big brands, who are now realising that rather than merely paying lip service to corporate social responsibility, having a coherent sense of brand 'purpose' can have a huge influence on their revenues.
So I think the way that brands are now seeking to develop and express their purpose is a fascinating evolution that's currently taking place across branding and advertising.

BizcommunityWith so much advertising ‘noise’ out there, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. What will you be looking for in this year’s entries?
A great idea, of course – that's still essential! Millennials are the most informed and connected generation we've ever seen, so successful advertising needs to appeal to their values.

At the same time, this audience also has a notoriously short attention span, so a standout idea needs to have an immediacy that will make people want to share it on social media, hugely increasing its reach and impact.

That’s the power of a great idea. If you get cracking, you can still submit your great ideas as entries for Loeries 2019, provided they’ve already flighted, as the extended deadline is 31 May. If you can’t wait for Loeries Creative Week Durban, taking place from 22 to 24 August 2019, keep an eye on the Loeries’ Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds and stay tuned for my interviews with more of the international jury presidents and all the latest updates in our Loeries’ special section. You can also follow Together Design on Twitter and Together Design and Perfectly Put on Instagram.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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