What Differentiates A Designer From Another

By David Ofiare, Multidisciplinary Designer.

We live in a new world; one where talents and skills do not matter as much as dedication and a constant message. In fact, consistency has always been a solid pillar all through time, and I am afraid that would never change. Today’s discussion is a brief and careful look at what differentiates a designer from another in our age.

Colourised portrait of Leonardo da Vinci
Colourised portrait of Leonardo da Vinci (Source: Stock Montage/Getty Images)

Creative designers are…

…pretty powerful actors in society, as they determine to a very large extent, how communication is perceived in the wider world. Decisions and design choices now affect brands, individuals and thought silos more than ever before. This is mainly due to amplification — the type of amplification of voices and opinions that the internet brings.

Communication, interpretation of ideas and perception has now been greatly increased per individual. What that means is that as a designer/illustrator, whatever you do to communicate an idea for a brand has the potential to be seen more and can deeply affect more people. Think about this on your positive and negative decisions (the ones that used to be swept under the carpet in the past). This amplification is not privy to affecting just your indirect communication, but those that come from within you — like your character, consistency, attitude, energy and actions.

A tale of Leonardo da Vinci

The virgin of the rocks by Leonardo da Vinci
The virgin of the rocks by Leonardo da Vinci

Renaissance art giant Leonardo da Vinci was a very talented, yet hardworking creative who lived by one of his most important motto that read:

“Ostinato Rigore”

Powerful words that meant “constant rigour.” The artist constantly searched for perfection and unmatched beauty in all his works, which makes the story of Leonardo a very peculiar one. Rigour here represents deep research, analysis and scientific planning in the creation of any art piece, and this is what great design is today — a form of art dipped in scientific thinking and problem-solving.

Naturally, Leonardo was a very rebellious individual, but at the age of 15 when he joined Verrocchio’s studio (1467) as an apprentice, he had to settle down and learn, because he needed to. He turned to be one of the best apprentices with the amount of work he put into the tasks and assignments.

When he had learnt enough to be able to begin experimentation with his works, he took this up with the same motto and began to infuse subtle and major additions alike to his works. This came through days and hours of studies of elements in life and nature. Today, Leonardo is known worldwide as a great engineer, artist, and illustrator, and his works are preserved in galleries for years to come, as masterful pieces of art and design.

If you must be successful…

As an Illustrator or a Designer, you must pay attention to your direct communication with your work, language, posture, habits, audience and employers as much as you pay attention to communication in the little projects you are involved in.

You must partake in your craft with your entire self. Native speakers of Nigerian pidgin have a very apt way of categorising this action, which is: to put body. Simply to involve self in your quest for greatness (if that is something you care about).

A few areas to watch as creatives asides craft are:

  1. Character building.
  2. Response to pressure.
  3. Response to provocation.
  4. Response to praise.
  5. Approach to Mentee relationships and internships.
  6. Responsibility or irresponsibility (whatever the forté).
  7. Time management.
  8. Voice and tone pertaining to personal branding.
  9. Well being of your audience.
  10. Personal dedication to cause, amongst other gems.

Many Illustrators and Designers ignore these little things and focus only on craft, which has only one outcome — monumental and repeated failure. Constant failure demoralises actual talented people, which is not an outcome that we want.

You are playing a performance.

Like an Opera, every action you take is being watched and is a performance to a very large gallery of which the least number of watchers in attendance would be yourself. Hence, someone is always watching, even if you are doing it wrong — or right.

Ask yourself, would you be willing to sit through a musical (or comedy, etc.) event where the performer is doing a very bad job at it? A performance you paid to be a part of? Perhaps not.

Finally, the Internet.

The Internet is a large Opera with an endless supply of creative performers and performances, and whatever act you put up could either land you your next gig or send your career crashing into the dustbin. Take it easy my DearDesigner, and be more intentional along this web of opportunity.

Good luck!

Brand Archetypes

Brand Archetypes and Experience Design

By Eximia Design Studio

In design generally, psychology plays a major role, two fields in design that heavily leverages on it are User Experience and an element of brand strategy called Brand Archetypes. Knowledge of these two fields is what helps brand/project managers excel at their job and what—always—causes the rift between them and brand designers.

What are they and how do they leverage on psychology?

User Experience design is user experience design (through whatever medium). It is the steps and decisions taken to tailor the relationship between an interface and a user. The interface being anything a user can relate with, ranging from cars, doorknobs, to even showerheads.

Brand Archetypes, on the other hand, are a way to anchor your brand against something iconic—something already embedded within the conscious and subconscious of humanity. In the minds of both the brand owner and the public, aligning with a brand archetype makes a brand easier to identify.

These are some examples of brand archetypes, and some brands and their archetypes:

Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design

Brand Archetypes are what determines what your brand’s personality is, it’s the tone of voice, visual design language and a host of others, it can be likened to a spark that comes before a fire during ignition.

First, to correct some wrong notions, UX design is not only for interfaces but user experience design can also be carried out for anything humans (or even animals) interact with, from events, apps, spaces and even physical products.

Use cases

A couple of examples of a situation where a brand’s archetype and experience design come into play are:

  • Dove’s way of incorporating their brand’s personality into their website and product design. They majorly use the Innocent brand archetype and it is very obvious in their visual design, tone of voice and general flow for their website, also in the design for their product. the entire thing is designed to make you feel that Dove cares and that Dove only wants the best for you and your skin.
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
  • Another example is Backmarket, the bold copy and design influenced by strong user experience design and obviously an even stronger dependence on the brand Archetype. 

The copy and visual design are influenced by the Rebel brand archetype, their typography and colour choices follow this archetype.

Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design

A closer glance through the Backmarket website would let you have an idea who their target audience is, and how they have done proper UX design and communicate with the right Archetype to them.

Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
  • Duolingo, an awesome product that’s strong on branding and UX is another very great example of this. While aiming to make language learning easy and accessible they have chosen to use a fun and cool approach; this approach is backed up by the archetype they chose to go with (which in my opinion is majorly the explorer). Across various products and medium, the brand and experience aren’t detached and thus they are able to communicate seamlessly. The tone is also one thing to take note of.
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design
Brand Archetypes and Experience Design

Simply put, the User Experience of a product or service can be likened to the background work, while the Brand Archetype deals with what channels they use in this communication and what design and copywriting choices they take in meeting this goal. The situation where Brand/Project managers, Copywriters and Designers always have issues arise when information about the former or latter are muddy and not concise, where the brand manager is trying to sell a product to a specific niche and the designer and copywriter are not clear on how it should look and work or how it should speak to the audience.

  • Finally, Apple. I can’t stress how much I love the uniformity in this brand enough. Not much needs to be said about Apple, its show and tell.

Peep the similarity between the iOS control center and Siri Remote. Down to the iconography and button arrangement, it’s ‘One Brand’. The Apple TV button against the Apple TV app Icon. Makes one wonder if they had designers and engineers from different divisions in one room(that’s a crowd). Now have a look at the TV app icon in the third image used in iOS and tvOS from December 2016 to March 2019 against the Home/Apple TV button on the remote. Now that’s a brand that loves its users(and money🤧)


In whatever product or service an entity might decide to offer users, there should be a meeting point between these two at the core of any organization. You can’t have users feeling disconnected when interacting with product and organizations, it throws the entire brand off balance. That’s why Apple has ecosystems, they have successfully tailored similar experiences across a range of products. The simplicity you feel while holding an iPhone is the same you feel while holding an Apple TV Remote. Imagine having to interface with another Apple device and it feels different from the rest? The experience feels truncated and you do not see the brand as with the same personality as before, it feels more insincere and faked.


Designing Education Beyond Walls

By Ayomide Ajibode, Digital Designer at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.


In 2018, Union Bank launched Edu360, a platform to drive much-needed reform within the Nigerian education sector. The anchor initiative of the Edu360 platform was an annual education fair created with the aim to:

·       Facilitate critical engagement between key stakeholders in the sector across government, civil society, private sector and educational institutions

·       Provide essential teacher training for public school teachers

·       Expose students across all education cadres to experiential, STEM and creative learning

The first edition drew over 3,000 attendees with over 200 teachers receiving free training from renowned consultants.

In 2019, in line with the theme ‘Education Beyond Walls’, the bank focused on highlighting the various ways education occurs beyond the classroom walls, and how non-traditional education methods can play a vital part in solving some of the issues facing the sector today. Non-traditional education methods include e-learning, play-based learning, robotics etc.

Beyond this, the event also aimed at exploring non-traditional methods of teaching and learning being used today such as Youtube, creative arts programs, digital content and gaming.


The design team at Union Bank was given the task of coming up with visuals for branding the 2019 Edu360 event. The brief was to develop visuals that were colourful, dynamic and would ignite excitement and enhance the overall experience of the event.



Using the five pillars of the event – (Imagine, Explore, Observe, Discover and Achieve) as a base, a 4 x 4 grid square pattern was developed.

This consisted of primary elements, secondary elements and complementary shapes. The primary pattern was also further simplified to create supporting patterns which were all used to create a holistic visual experience for the event.

Approved Pattern for the 2019 Edu360 Branding

Alternative Patterns


The design team worked closely with internal project owners and external vendors in designing the invites, exclusive merchandise, communication materials, packaging, event materials, conference hall, exhibition hall, registration tags, outdoor branding and content materials for the digital screens.

Colourful tags designed for event officials, guests and attendees.

2019 Edu360 booth design for exhibitors

Pattern Animation

To give more life to the approved pattern, each of the elements in the pattern was animated and brought together to create a whole new experience. Each of these animated elements was also used as a transition for video materials for the event and lastly used to create an exciting logo reveal.

Animated Pattern
2019 Edu360 Pattern Animation & Logo Reveal


Pattern Illustration & Animation

Ayomide Ajibode


Ayodele Apampa

Ayomide Ajibode

Design Lead

Femi Omomeji


Education typically incites thoughts of boring lectures and tedious textbooks, so it’s refreshing that the art direction taken here embodies the essence of Edu360. The vibrant colours suggest that perhaps learning isn’t a somber affair. Purple, yellow and blue are just lively enough to grab and entertain your attention without being too busy on the eye. The icons subtly hint at academia, so that the core of the communication isn’t lost in the flair. 

The motion graphics were also a smart idea, adding more life to the already lively branding. My only gripe visually is the use of boxes for the patterns, squares are naturally confining and take away from the message of learning without limits. Overall the branding serves its purpose and would be appealing to the entire spectrum of its intended audience.

 – Wayne Samuel, Spoken Word Artist. Copywriter, TBWA.

Very thrilling and soothing to look at. You can’t but love this piece. It’s cohesive and properly signifies a brilliant translation of the brief into reality. Beauty and function combined into one.

 – Ayodele Adeleke, Product Designer, Versecom.

This is a job well done. One of the signs of a serious brand is their attention to detail and consistency. I value the fact that the design team was allowed to work closely with vendors and project owners to see to the perfect execution of the creative expressions. It is one thing to come up with smart design solutions, and it is another thing to have the solutions applied accordingly on touchpoints—a leaf other bank brands need to borrow.

 – Ayomide Ajayi, Strategy Lead, FourthCanvas.

I love the colors! I appreciate the painstaking effort that went into selecting the complementing color pallets; it gave the project all the life it needed.

Every design execution must speak to 2 things at the very least; the problem statement/brief (exhaust the brief) and the target audience (attract and talk to them). 

This body of work spoke to the latter boldly than former. I expected more fluidity and futuristic design elements/expressions to align with the core of the brief ‘Education Beyond Walls’ to fully exhaust the brief.

 –Tunde Ogunkunle, Architect & Art Director, Paga.

Kanso Ogbolu- DearDesigner

In Kanso’s World, The Designer is a Mini-god

Meet Kanso Ogbolu, Creative Director at O.B.K Studios

Kanso Ogbolu- DearDesigner

Kanso Ogbolu is a powerhouse. As a digital executive in the advertising industry, he contributed to the growth and success of various brands in the digital space. He presently runs O.B.K Studios where he serves as the creative director.

As a child, Kanso was surrounded by design and creativity. His mother worked in advertising and his father exposed him to educational books, paintings, statues, toys and a vast collection of music albums. He then went on to obtain a degree in Architecture from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. He believes, notwithstanding, that formal education is necessary only up to secondary school certification level, and that young people should thereafter choose their own paths along informal settings.

A designer of about eleven years, Kanso started out as an intern and junior architect with two architectural firms before proceeding to Noah’s Ark Communications as a Digital Executive and rose through the ranks to become the deputy group head before creating O.B.K Studios.

Each day’s work plunges Kanso into a chain of recurring processes: identifying characters, creating environments, building dialogues, designing sound, stalking his favorite animators in search of similar things they have done. He then drafts his storyboard, illustrates his characters and environments, rigs the characters, animates them, reworks the sound design and initiates a final clean up.

Some of Kanso’s hilarious and somber animations have gone on to convey deep and clear messages that live-action sequences may not have so achieved. EFInA is a case in point.

With a specialty in motion design, film animation and motion graphics, Kanso’s works have earned him numerous recognitions, such as: appearing in the prestigious Luerzer’s Archive Magazine, winning the grand prize in the Multichoice at 20 logo design competition in 2013, and winning two Gold Awards at the 2017 Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival.

Kanso's Awards  - Design in Nigeria - DearDesigner
Kanso’s Awards

He views the designer as a mini-god who must create solutions to problems until the problems fade away. But this mini-god faces various challenges. In Kanso’s case, the challenges include regular power outage, lack of manpower, late payments from clients and, especially, clients’ lack of understanding of the kind of work that goes into animations.

Kanso has worked with creative minds like Tolu Itegboje, Bolaji Iwayemi, Elozonam, Wande Thomas, Geezy, and Nengi Adoki. He has been a part of several other projects with Gokada, Jara, Mr. Eazi, Falz, and Big Brother Naija. He is currently working on animations for an FMCG and season 4 of the reputable Freak The Fxxk Out – an anthology of short creepy animation stories with which he aimed to draw attention to the horror genre.

Kanso has been greatly inspired by motion designers such as Motion Markus, Giantsagram, Cub Studio, Emanuele Colombo and Linetest Collective. And today, he’s an inspiration to upcoming motion designers whom he advises to stalk their favourite designers and for whom he often recommends tutorials on YouTube, Vimeo, and VideoCopilot.

33-year-old Kanso, who was once a rap artiste, now looks into the future of design and sees an array of endless possibilities.