By Mponeng Sedumedi
Reflecting on Day 2 of the Design Indaba conference, I don’t think I have said, ‘I wish I did that’, so many times in one day. While the broader theme around the conference this year is about imperfections, today’s specific theme was really around the importance of not taking things too seriously and how collaborating and working together can really benefit design and creativity.
This was the first-time I attended Design Indaba and all I can say is; WOW. I was previously told that it’s an incredible experience, but it’s more than I ever thought. So far it has really changed the way I look at things.
The speakers from all over the world have shown that there are no boundaries when it comes to creativity. People are making anything out of everything. Things like teacups with attached air blowing devices so that the tea doesn’t burn you when you drink it, and designer clothing made of recycled material. There are even people changing lives “one chicken at a time” (not sure what that meant, but it seemed funny).
Starting off the morning were two young African creatives from Senegal; Selly Rabe Kane, a fashion designer, and Omar Victor Diop, an amazing photographer. These two really stood out because they both took a leap of faith and followed their passions; they quit their corporate jobs and worked hard to convert their talents into careers. Omar said; ‘Quitting my job felt crazy, but being crazy felt good’. I’m all for crazy because I don’t think there’s any creative that’s not crazy. Crazy is cool. Crazy is fun. Crazy is creativity. Crazy can change lives.
As a fellow young, black and crazy creative I found it really refreshing and truly inspiring to hear their stories and see their amazing work. It reminded me that nothing is impossible.
One of the most interesting talks today was by Dominic Wilcox. His creative solutions were ridiculously crazy, yet brilliant. They are playful products for everyday “problems” – like a desk that turns into a coffin or bottle attachments to allow more sophisticated drinking from the bottle. I really loved what he said about finding ideas: “Playfulness is the most powerful way of finding ideas.”
Today was also the opportunity to see the Expo. It was (Expo)nential. I was so overwhelmed and blown away by the craftsmanship, the originality, the craziness and rawness, the simplicity and complexity of some of the work. Things I’ve never seen before and things I never thought were possible were there. All I could say was; ‘TJO’, ‘YOH’, ‘HEH BANNA’ and ‘What is that?’
What I’ve taken out of Day 2 is that sometimes you need to just create and not worry about what could happen in the end. Often we tend to overthink things, which can cost us ideas. So, rather than rationalize, just do.
Design Indaba…what a treat!
About Mponeng Sedumedi
Mponeng works on KFC as a junior copywriter, at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg.