Development of Graphic Design in Zimbabwe (1980 - 2000) - Conclusion

Art & Design | By Baynham Goredema, Designer | 09 May 2013

Before this project I had been quick to criticize Zimbabwean design and comparing it with Western design. I had never considered the various factors which influence design. Factors which include economy, necessity, persecution, politics, competition, the market, history and finally the client. I learnt design depends on all these things and the client has the last say. I feel the client is the most responsible for the design that is around. Therefore, education should also be emphasised on the general public, to help them understand what graphic design is.

Zimbabwe design has suffered because of unrest. Wherever there is unrest in a country the professional flee the country. America however, has benefitted from this. This enriched and diversified design in America with designers from different cultural backgrounds converging in one country and sharing their ideas. This may be negative if the designers stay in the country and never come back, but it can be positive if the designers come back and pass on their knowledge to their native countrymen. I commend Saki Mafundikwa for the contribution he has given to the design industry and education in Zimbabwe, especially with the openng of ZIVA.

The quality of design I feel has taken great strides over the past few years. Most Zimbabweans design especially packaging and corporate identity can compete on shelves anywhere in the world.  But the advertising leaves a lot to be desired.  I feel there are a lot of creative ideas which are just left halfway and not fully resolved. Clients may be to blame for this but agencies seem to be taking advantage of the client’s ignorance and producing weak work which they know they will accept. I think it is our duty as designers to gain the trust of our clients so they can use our designs without too much interference. I am very optimistic about the future of design in Zimbabwe as the younger generation is slowly but inevitably taking over the industry.

I decided to conclude my dissertation with a question that has been quite challenging for us as students. It’s the question of establishing a Zimbabwean identity in design.  I feel having an identity is important. But to be able to find a suitable solution we need to be proud, passionate and patriotic about our country and culture. Without these three P’s we can never have our own identity. To get to the question which I feel really gets students to think deeper to find a solution that says “Zimbabwe” without sticking to the clichéd chevron patterns and brown earthy colours. However, the people I talked to have different perspectives.

My sincere thanks go to all the people who sacrificed their time to help me source information for me and referred me to others with reference numbers, gave me interviews and talks and valuable advice on how I should tackle my project and on design in general. Without them this project would have been almost impossible. Jacob Ngandu for putting a lot of extra work to collect data, guidelines and also answering my questionnaires. Jane Shephard who lent me books from the ZIVA library, interview and collection of more data. Kate Raath for getting me in contact with Anthony Mellon whose interview proved very helpful. Michael Danes who took time to come to the Polytechnic and give us a talk on Design in the 90’s and in general. He even brought his portfolio of his work. Chaz Maviyane-Davies, this was quiet an experience because I had only seen his posters and never really seen him in person. I never though he was far too busy to give us any time. Coincidently we met him at the Creative Directors Forum (CDF) and asked him to talk to a few of us. He gladly agreed and he imparted some of his wisdom to us, which we were really grateful for. Andrew Curling and Sharon Dutton, my lecturers for encouraging me throughout the project. I would also want to thank Anesu Mawoyo, Thomas, Harare Polytechnic students and ZIVA students for their help as well. Thanks a lot everybody! Apparently one person I really wanted to talk to but never got a chance to was Saki Mafundikwa, he’s one person who’s at the forefront of the development of graphic design in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately he was unavailable on the day of our interview. I’m sure I could have some valuable lessons then.

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Development of Graphic Design in Zimbabwe (1980 - 2000)

Design in Zimbabwe - Brief History Of Zimbabwe

Design Education in Zimbabwe 1980 - 2000

Development of Graphic Design in Zimbabwe (1980 - 2000) - Interviews & Stats

Development of Graphic Design in Zimbabwe (1980 - 2000) - Conclusion