Johannesburg-based brand and design consultancy, BCKRDS (pronounced Back-Roads) was founded by designers Wade Moonsamy and Samu Belle, and illustrator Musonda Kabwe. Having gained a wealth of experience and expertise at well-known branding agency Grid, they decided to launch their own company towards the end of 2017.
The consultancy overflows with creativity and brings distinctiveness to the branding scene. The founders were interested in exploring the different ways in which they could skilfully blend their interest for brands and design. To this end, the business operates as a design consultancy that works hand-in-hand with clients to develop and evolve identities and brands – and in doing so, seeks to experiment with design to create culturally relevant and moving work.
Their breakout product is the ‘(011)’ tee which is a shout out to the city of Johannesburg, and a way of paying homage to the city that has shaped them and the many people who reside in it. The (011) tee was, in fact, the starting point for the consultancy. “That was really how we started; doing a small round of tees. We started wearing them [and] people started liking it,” co-founder and Creative Director, Moonsamy says. “We saw the kind of work that people were doing when we were still working at Grid, and we felt that we wanted to have a greater cultural impact through our work and that’s why we started BCKRDS. It essentially became that platform for us to have a voice in ‘the culture’ and in creative spaces,” co-founder and Managing Director, Belle continues.
One of the first brands the consultancy worked on was MTN’s fibre company, Supersonic. The company was launched with the aim of changing the fibre and ISP market marred with intentionally confusing language and complex offerings. BCKRDS was commissioned with the task of designing the look of the newly launched company.
BCKRDS has also worked with a youth-oriented magazine and website, Zkhiphani.com, which covers all aspects of culture from music, fashion to celebrity content. BCKRDS was approached to create a brand identity that reflected the boldness and energy of its youthful audience – to also bring the brand up-to-date with its contemporaries, both locally and abroad.
To date, the list of brands that BCKRDS has worked with has grown exponentially; some of which include Is Yours Mag – a culturally focused magazine, as well as a number of start-up tech and investment companies.
In the future, the founders see themselves expanding this list and working with clients who are willing to take risks. “We want to do work for brands that want to do cool and interesting things. At the end of the day, we can help you with the corporate stuff, the campaigns, identities, and roll-out for advertising – but for us, it’s more about having the meetings with people who would have us working on the cool activations as well as the interesting expressions of the brand,” Moonsamy says.
For more information visit bckrds.com.
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