Seeing the world through her Doodles and Poetry

Posted on April 17, 2019

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If you happen to come across a cellphone cover adorned by the image of a powerful and regal African woman, it’s probably designed by Sinomonde Ngwane. She’s the founder of Doodles and Poetry – a conceptual studio producing honest and human-centered graphic design material. She’s well trained in the business of art having sold handmade birthday cards and key holders as a teenager.

She’s also one of the astute creatives handpicked to collate the memoirs of their design journey in the book titled What It Takes. The book – a product of Creative Nestlings – is a collection of advice from African creatives who have succeeded in the cutthroat industry. “The advice I shared was that: in order to find your voice, you need to be bold and unafraid to put your work out there, you don’t need anyone’s validation,” states Ngwane in reflection of the of the memoir. She’d discovered quickly in her career that waiting on people’s approval was simply a waste of time – there would always be someone somewhere who never approved; and someone who did.

The experience to be featured in the book amongst such talented and inspiring people was amazing and empowering. The thought that someone will one day pick up the book and be inspired warms my heart. I believe we need more African voices and accessible insight for African creatives and what better way than by working collectively to provide it.

Her list of high profile clients include Standard Bank, Superbalist and a UK-based brand of jollof rice that she’s partnered with to curate social media content, designing leaflets and online campaigns. “We’ve built a strong relationship. I am starting to understand my business’s brand; which makes it easy to design.” She’s also worked with Amanda Nyamkunka Kandawire to design a range of feminist phone covers.

Young creatives need to start curating their pages to attract customers and not just post selfies. If you post your personal content, make sure you’re using it to attract people to follow you then post about your business after.

Technology has not only changed the way that youth navigate pop culture. It’s also changed the way artists design, produce and market their work. It’s also made it possible for Sinomonde’s studio to have an international footprint. “I have had the privilege of having clients in Zambia, London, New York and all over South Africa because of social media. In fact, most of my clients I have got through social media.”

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There’s still much to be said in South Africa about creatives struggling to get clients to pay and getting underpaid when they do actually get remunerated. ”The best way I’ve tackled this is to have a set rate and stick to it. You do not owe anyone anything, you don’t even owe your Instagram followers a post. No one has the right to bully you into doing any work for free.”

Besides being a brilliant entrepreneur and designer, Sinomonde says she hasn’t reached her peak and that in fact, she still looks up to women like multi-award winning street artist Karabo Poopy Moletsane and Lady Skollie for inspiration. “I love that she’s bold and unafraid to challenge the status quo. She uses her work as a tool to fight for women’s rights and make commentary on issues which people often want to sweep under the carpet.” Her peak will be owning an international creative agency and providing employment and mentorship to young creatives.

About the author:

Dimpho Lekgeu is an award nominated media enthusiast who loves to write about young people shaking up the world. She’s Christian and believes in #blackgirlmagic.