22 Feb Grad Guide 2020: Andrea Rossouw
With a love of creative expression as well as a mind that leans towards the analytical, the field of graphic design provided the ideal meeting point for these two very different but complementary aspects of Andrea Rossouw‘s nature. Having just completed her BA in visual communications at Red & Yellow, Rossouw is now freelancing at a design agency in the heart of Cape Town and plans to use 2021 to flex her creative muscles and learn new skills. She describes her style of “illustrative graphic design” as detail-oriented, fun-loving, quirky and colourful. For our annual graduate showcase we spoke with Rossouw about her recent studies, favourite projects to date and dream collaborators.
What drew you to pursue a path in design?
Now this is a bit of an odd story. It seems obvious, since growing up you couldn’t pry a pencil from my hand – I have far too many poorly drawn horses to show for this. In contrast though, originally I believed that I would go into something more along the lines of pharmaceutical sciences, as it really interested me during high school.
When I first picked visual arts as a subject in grade 10 it was more so for my own enjoyment and to help me unwind since I’ve always enjoyed creating things. However, I quickly got swept up in my true passion for creating again, and after choosing to job shadow a graphic designer in grade 11, I realised that my heart had actually always been rooted within design. Shortly thereafter, I decided to drop physics and chose design in its place, with my new goal being to become an illustrative graphic designer.
Ultimately, I think that I was very drawn towards a career in design given how balanced it feels since it’s both a highly creative industry but also one that praises perfectionism when it comes to ensuring things are correctly balanced in a more analytical and meticulous way – in terms of using grids, properly spacing things out, measuring, et cetera.
Tell us about the work you created in your final year. Any projects that stand out for you?
The work I created during my final year tends to have a few common themes, being the use of bold colour palettes and more quirky, light-hearted elements, which I feel is a refreshing contrast to the year we’ve all had to experience. The projects that stand out to me the most would either be ‘Sprout’, my merchandisable illustration assignment which was the first project completed entirely remotely, or the assignment where we needed to create a fully illustrated 20 page e-book that I chose to call ‘Chasing Home’.
These both stand out to me in different ways, since I felt very lost and overwhelmed during the creation of ‘Sprout’ (this was during our level 5 lockdown). Managing to persevere and create something I truly loved while incorporating some of my humour into it with regards to the use of puns ultimately helped turn any memories associated with that time a little more sweet, and I really loved creating the pattern with 287 animals on it! ‘Chasing Home’, on the other hand, was created towards the end of my final year. It took quite some time for me to truly feel as though I’d regained my creative vigor again, but a week into that project it felt like someone flicked a switch in me. I remember feeling so motivated, driven and inspired while creating illustrations for the e-book – I would sometimes sit and work solidly for up to six or seven hours because I was enjoying it so much! I think ‘Chasing Home’ reignited my passion during a very mentally straining year while teaching me about perseverance and what I can do when I really put my mind to something, which was super inspiring.
What is your approach or philosophy as a designer?
I believe that my work is meant to reflect who I am as a designer while working to bring people together and prompt them to consider things in a different light to what they’re typically used to. This might be a little unconventional, but I like to let my ‘gut feeling’ guide the work that I do if it’s something for myself or based on my own concepts. Sometimes this can lead to a slightly later start, but everything really clicks into place for me as soon as the work I’m doing feels right. That’s when my motivation and inspiration spark and I become inseparable with what I’m doing, because I know that it has a piece of me in it.
How would you describe your style or aesthetic to someone who’d never seen you work before?
Personally, I feel that the easiest way to describe my individual aesthetic to someone is that it’s an extension of myself, since I try to capture bits and pieces of my detail-oriented, fun-loving and quirky personality within the work I create. I also love embracing colour and the things that make me happy – regardless of how silly those things may be. I used to struggle a lot with creating my own distinctive style, since I’ve always preferred to work within a variety of different stylistic approaches (in regards to medium and execution). Nowadays I figure that since we as people are so multifaceted and adaptable, our work should reflect that too! If I want to create a tiny digital doodle or a large-scale hyperrealist poster, so be it.
Who would you most like to collaborate with in the local creative sphere?
I have always wanted to collaborate with a local street artist! I truly think that there’s something so magical about turning a mundane space or area into its own little treasure trove of creativity, and how amazing it is to see your work living in a physical place and being interacted with. Otherwise, anyone who is enthusiastic and passionate about the work that they create – huge bonus if there’s an element of being able to give back to the community in some way!
What are your plans for 2021?
Currently I’m working as a junior freelance designer/illustrator at Hybrid Creative, a vibrant and bustling design agency in the heart of town (that’s far too close to a fabulous vegan doughnut shop!). My overall plans for this year ultimately boil down to wanting to create a better relationship with myself as well as the desire to continue learning through the means of online short courses, podcasts and exposure to new people and understanding how they work. I’d also like to work on further expanding my freelancing career while continuing to create things in my own free time, even if it’s just for me to enjoy. I truly feel that 2021 is going to be a year full of changes, and my best option is to wholeheartedly embrace that.
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Grad Guide is an annual series from Between 10and5, profiling some of South Africa’s most exciting creative graduates across the fields of fashion, art, photography and design. Find the full 2020 Grad Guide here.