Graphic Design and Young Zimbabwe

A logo design workshop for 10th graders in Zimbabwe

‘What is Graphic Design according to you?”, I asked Alisannah, a 13 year old, who was one of the few students who genuinely seemed interested in the ‘art class’ at school. “I think it is something to do with drawing, and making designs.”, she said. “You are close..”, I said, without giving her too much design jargon. “Graphic design is indeed something to do with drawing & making things look pretty.. *

* ..except, you don’t have to be great at it to be a good designer.”

Following is my experience of attempting to introduce Graphic Design to a bunch of Form 1’s and 2’s in a high school in Zimbabwe.

October’12. Westridge High School, Harare, Zimbabwe

This workshop was solving a 3-fold problem –

  1. Introducing Graphic Design to students at an age when career decisions are more than just about “I want to be a doctor.” Or “I want to be a pilot.” They are more refined and students have already started to build a trajectory of what path they want to take.
  2. Introducing Graphic Design to students in a country where earning money is more important than following your ‘artistic instinct’ to pursue, not necessarily, a high paying career.
  3. Revisiting design basics and learning a new way of thinking from the next generation.

The workshop was an introduction on what graphic design is at a basic level, what are it’s extensions in terms of higher art education, what are it’s applications (digital, print, editorial, retail, branding etc.) and most importantly, what is it’s value in today’s world.

To develop an initial interest in the subject, I showed them works of a few popular Graphic Designers such as Noma Bar, Paul Rand and Stefan Sagmeister. Interestingly most of them really liked the playfulness of Noma Bar’s graphic style. But even more interestingly, a handful of them liked Sagmeister’s work for its’ ‘artistic boldness’ and Rand’s work for its’ familiarity.

The project was assigned. There were two options to choose from — Logo Design and Making a Layout. Since both were new exercises for the students, for logo design, the brief was to either recreate a logo for a company that they like, or create a logo for a new company or for themselves. The brief for layout was to make a mix-media poster on Zimbabwe, with a message.

Following are a few snapshots of selected student work.

Wake up, Young Zimbabwe by Chido (Making a Layout)

My poster is based on the youth of Zimbabwe. When I first started creating a poster, I did not have any ideas. But then I got more and more ideas from my teacher and my friends too.

Dynamos Football Club by Zain Masike (Logo Design)

The reason why I chose Dynamos logo is because I love soccer and Dynamos is my favorite soccer team here in Zimbabwe. The first thing I did was to think about the good things done by Dynamos and write on a rough piece of paper. I made a list of about 100 points and think of all the sponsors all over the world. The way Dynamo plays is good. They are fast so I thought of putting something in the logo that represents speed. I came up with a leapord’s paw as a symbol for Dynamos.

Malcolm Luxury Hotels by Malcolm Chinhoyi (Logo Design)

Since, I love luxury and I am always number one, I have decided my company to be a luxury hotel that is top class and number one. This brings me to my logo. An ‘M’ standing for Malcolm and ‘H’ for Hotel. As you can see behind the ‘M’, a sun is rising which is making a shadow that forms the ‘H’. The sun symbolizes best in luxury from sunrise to sunset. I chose red, yellow and black because they are my favorite colors and they will also attract more customers to come to my luxury hotel on a daily basis.

Flying Academy by Ryan Bangajena (Logo Design)

When I was looking for a logo for my company, I first listed and sketched some of the things that fly. I was impressed by the shape and the features of a kite. I thought that the shape of the kite would be a good symbol that could represent a strong logo for the company.

WHAT G Club by Alisannah (Logo Design)

What G is a student club for teenage girls by teenage girls. It’s to help them cope with several issues including studies, broken hearts, discover one’s talent, self defense and to inculcate responsibility, enlightenment and independence.

The logo is a young girl with wings. The colors red is for strength, black for peace, different browns for multi racial, purple for inner-being, green for unity and yellow for confidence.

The school’s art and Design department is accredited by Cambridge IGCSE Art and Design International Certificate. The students possess incredible imagination and very high potential. The art teacher, Mrs.Egness Magaya, is very talented and dedicated and seeks funding towards pursuing a higher art education.

Due to lack of opportunities, awareness and exposure, this subject is not taken too seriously. Countries such as Zimbabwe, arguably, have bigger problems to take care of. But I truly believe in the power of design. Graphic design education would not only provide possible career options to aspiring artists and communicators but also lend a visual voice to young activists who can then communicate matters of global importance to people from all backgrounds and nationalities.

Storyteller • Designer • What ‘if’ Enthusiast

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