Talking joys and challenges of creative diversity with Shari Akal

Creativity often comes part and parcel with a good dose of curiosity. And, as anyone pursuing multiple interests will know, this is both a blessing and a curse.

When thinking about creative diversity, Shari Akal immediately pops to mind. I first got to know her in 2016 as one half of the Bouwer Flowers duo and found her exuberant passion for floral design compelling and inspiring.

As our paths crossed more often, it soon became evident that her enthusiasm wasn’t limited to flowers. In fact, it isn’t unusual for Shari to stay up into the early morning hours, waiting for trays of delicious vegan baked goodies to come out of the oven. Or, to spend hours creating intricated costumes for film projects and styled shoots. More recently, she’s taken up piano- and ukulele lessons and also squeezes flamenco dancing into her free time.

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Talking Deliberate Fun with Tanija Botha

We seem to be living in an era that is not particularly conducive to relaxation, let alone having fun. An average day is often spent rushing from one commitment to the next, leaving us to fall into bed both stressed and exhausted at night… just to start all over again in the morning. It’s pretty crazy.

While this is bad enough for adults, the scary part is – in most cases – we have no choice but to rope our children into the mad rush too.

Fortunately, we also seem to be living in an era where an increasing number people are seeking a slower and more mindful approach to life – returning to mode of sometimes just BEING instead of constantly DOING.

The benefits of this lifestyle change are obvious and manifold, especially for children who may be craving more relationship and less training, more wildness and less taming.

We chatted to Cape Town-based educational psychologist and entrepreneur, Tanija Botha about the importance of play in a child’s development and how her fledgling business, Deliberate Fun, can bring these benefits right to your doorstep in a neatly-packaged busy box.

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Cool wedding invitation inspired by 100 ducks

The muted palette, the mix of wiry lettering and ornaments and of course the quirky ducks make this a fun and stylish wedding invitation.

I really enjoy this wedding invitation design by Adam Hill, aka Velcrosuit, from Cape Town. The muted palette, the mix of wiry lettering and ornaments and of course the quirky ducks! Apparently over 100 of these guys roam the wedding venue, Babylonstoren estate in the Cape Winelands. They obviously made quite an impression on the  couple.

Wedding Invitation by Adam Hill

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Friday find: Gig flyer

Gig flyers have always been a playground for design experimentation, but they are usually not very representative of great typography. I think this one is a step up and I’ll tell you why…

I found this flyer for the Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival at a coffee shop on my way to work this morning:

The Cape Town Folk 'n Acoustic Music Festival flyer

Gig flyers have always been a playground for design experimentation, but due to their low-fi tradition and the fact that they are probably often created by musicians rather than designers, they are usually not very representative of great typography.

I think this one is a step up and I’ll tell you why:

  1. The informal and somewhat zany geometric display type used for Folk ‘n Acoustic is anchored nicely by the graphic elements (banners, shapes, icons) around it.
  2. The visual hierarchy of information is presented well by the size and weight of the type; first what, then when and where, followed by who, and lastly the sponsors.
  3. The list of artists’ names vary in size and colour, yet the typographic colour (overall density) has been well preserved.
  4. The strong horisontal structure remains unbroken throughout.
  5. Sticking to just two colours (black and red) was a good choice, especially since the background is textured.
  6. Although it is quite text-heavy, there is enough white space for the design to breathe.

Looking at it a little more critically:

  1. I like the fact that designers are breaking free of the old use-no-more-than-two-fonts-per-design mantra, because it does work in many cases, but I have to question whether using five different fonts on the front of the flyer (plus two more on the back!) is necessary? Perhaps exploring a few different weights of a single typeface instead of using different font families would offer a more consistent result.
  2. I’m probably being pedantic here, but the misregistered effect used on music festival is redundent in context of the treatment across the rest of the layout.

Industrious coffee and condensed type at Yourstruly

Yourstruly, located on Long Street in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre, is one of my favourite lunch time spots. One thing I enjoy about it is the DIY ethic…

Yourstruly, located on Long Street in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre, is one of my favourite lunch time spots.

One thing I enjoy about it is the DIY ethic: on any given day you can find owner Daniel Holland enthusiastically serving coffee and sandwiches through the hatch, but that’s not all – he also took care of all the graphic design himself, and his dad did the carpentry!

The graphic identity of Yourstruly is quite appropriately anchored by Trade Gothic, which Jason Santa Maria describes as an honest, dependable and industrious typeface with little flourish or fuss.

Next time you’re in Cape Town and find yourself in need of some good coffee and a strong dose of typography, you know where to go.

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Yourstruly Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town

Find out a little more about Yourstruly and Daniel on Ilovecoffee.co.za.

A peek inside the portfolio of Bruce Mackay

I became aware of Bruce Mackay’s unique illustration style a year ago when I saw a cool drawing he did of a skeleton drinking a beer. Needless to say I was instantly compelled to follow his work online and as it turns out he is a fellow Capetonian…

I became aware of Bruce Mackay’s unique illustration style a year ago when I saw a cool  drawing he did of a skeleton drinking a beer. Needless to say I was instantly compelled to follow his work online and as it turns out he is a fellow Capetonian. Browsing through his portfolio I came across some nice lettering and typographic pieces, take a look:

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

The work of Bruce Mackay

You can see a lot more killer stuff from Bruce on his blog, Flickr and Bēhance.