Simon Charwey - PADI

The Pan Afrikan Design Institute (PADI) logo design

How to Work With Design Godfathers and Godmothers of African descent

“Sometimes you meet people who are forceful, intelligent, and respectful. They can lead you to do better work.” — Milton Glaser (Anne Quito, 2019. An interview with Milton Glaser + Walter Bernard, the Original “Mag Men.” Eye on Design [] ) It is amazing what can be created whenever we accept constructive feedback on our work, especially in a space — the Pan Afrikan Design Institute (PADI) platform — were it is encouraged. It gives one the rare opportunity to improve their thought process and problem solving skills. And designing the logo for PADI provided just that kind of environment, where I had the opportunity to simultaneously receive constructive feedback on my work from creatives and design educators from diverse backgrounds and also of African descent.

The Pan-Afrikan Design Institute (PADI) otherwise known as the Afrikan Design Council represents the interest of design professionals, design protagonists and design educators from numerous design disciplines across the continent of Afrika. To design for PADI was a very big and “challenging” project for me, as the situation was not same as designing and presenting your concepts to a client’s team but to a heterogeneous “jury” of creatives from more than seven African countries submitting their constructive feedback almost instantaneously. But same challenge had helped me to realised my strength as a designer of African descent. On the PADI WhatsApp and Slack platforms, many design godfathers the likes of Professor Saki Mafundikwa, K. G. deGraft-Johnson, Professor Desmond Laubscher, Professor Robin Turner, among others, mostly of African descent, are encouraging meaningful discussion among creatives and challenging them to embrace working with indigenous African design systems.