Lauren Hayley Coetzee, Black Snow Group’s own senior designer, comments on the 2015 that was and the 2016 to come:

The raw, immense and vast creative talent in the South African market never ceases to inspire me, in all artistic footings. From the plethora of artisans to the space availability for creatives to be, well, creative – our local home-grown market is on an international scale far beyond our conception.

2015 brought an explosion of trends which will carry into 2016 without a doubt. Simplicity, geometric symbolism and experimental colours were on the forefront. I’m anticipating, with great hope, that we can continue making use of these basic design tools as they carry much weight and impact without overwhelming the eye.  However, one of the most surprising trends was a continuation of retro “designspiration” from the vintage 50s, 60s and 70s and the more colourful 80s and 90s. The SA market saw an influx of this now non-dated look in all forms of design, from apparel and photography to textiles but, more particularly, within the walls of SA homes. Interior design became the forefront to showcase your need for some colour or artistic celebration and the support of local art was quite extraordinary.  We can all give ourselves a pat on the back for this brave movement.

Personally, I am thrilled at the development of community precincts which allow for the collaboration, expansion and flourishing of small, independent creative companies and creators under one roof. The most notable of these is the ever evolving Maboneng precinct in Johannesburg. Not only are the available spaces for expression unique, but you only need to step into one of the boutiques, galleries or restaurants to know where the current trends are sitting. It’s a molded space where urban rejuvenation and inspired minds are generating extraordinary things.  And all over the country, similar concepts are ensuring that the continuation of artistic manifestation is possible and readily available.  The Watershed & Woodstock Foundry (Cape Town) and the Station Drive Precinct (Durban) are only the beginning roots of more to come. South Africans have a sui generis passion for the arts which will safeguard the progress of such projects.

The expression of art and its beautiful freedom to do so is so unique. SA hosts its own distinctive trends, ahead of those brought in from the ponds abroad. It becomes some-what problematic, in the best way possible, to distinguish which direction the design world, specifically within SA, will take in 2016 due to the surplus of influences and ideas. But isn’t that exciting? We can prepare for an indulgence of the senses and be more than inspired for the year ahead, even if Rose Quartz is one the Pantone colours of the year.

Gender roles in the creative arena

By Lauren Hayley Coetzee, Senior Designer, Black Snow Creative

It has been a long road travelled for females striving to achieve equality in the working world – a road which still has many more bricks to be laid. With the focus on women this Women’s Month, it is hard not to examine women’s roles and future development in the professional space.

In the creative field, it is fortunate that the ratio between males and females tends to be equal. Promisingly, female graduates are actually superseding males. The main reasons for job placement in the design arena can be ascribed to one’s creative ability, having a personable nature and being able to work well in a team, with gender being a minor deciding factor. This, in itself, is an enormous triumph for the industry as it is sadly not the case for many other industries.

Another area where gender has no influence in the creative space relates to one’s ability to handle criticism. It is often an expectation that designers come up with ‘big’ ideas or unique concepts, however, so often they are met with a disappointing “no”. Regardless of gender, it boils down to one’s personality and how one deals with rejection. Many a campaign may start with a ‘no’, however, after digging deeper for alternative ideas, can translate into a resounding success.

Gender does, however, have an influence in the creative realm in terms of job success due to certain inherent traits that men and women carry. Jessica Phillpott, an independent branding designer who previously worked for The Partners, beautifully stated in an opinion piece that: “A lack of confidence and ego are probably among the reasons so few of the rock stars of the design world are women. That’s definitely not because female designers aren’t doing great work – but when it comes to self-promotion, it often seems to be the case that women simply aren’t as noisy about it as men.”

So as Women’s Month comes into full swing, make some noise – the right noise – in any industry you are in. Be aware of the important role that females play in the work space and the many opportunities available for us to shine.

Lauren Hayley Coetzee joins Black Snow Creative as Senior Designer

6 July 2015: Lauren Hayley Coetzee has been appointed as Senior Designer by Johannesburg-based marketing and branding agency, Black Snow Creative.

With a degree in communication and graphic design from the Virginia Western Community College in the United States, Coetzee brings with her over ten years of experience and a multi-faceted approach which embraces a variety of creative platforms incorporating everything from stationery and creative design, editorial page-layout and brand identity to natural light photography. Coetzee is proficient in all industry-standard design software packages and has additional knowledge in event and studio styling, creative client consultations and laser-cutting.

Says Clinton Muir, Managing Director of Black Snow Creative: “In a competitive market, it is more important than ever to be able to create meaningful brand identities that cut through the clutter. Coetzee has a strong passion for her work and the ability to recognize and articulate a distinct voice for every project she works on which will help our clients define their brand and set them apart.”

For further information about Black Snow Creative, visit www.blacksnowcreative.co.za or for more information about the Black Snow Group, visit the group website www.blacksnowgroup.co.za. Tel: 086 011 0063.