by MarkLives (@marklives) Annually since 2012, has been polling South African ad agency leaders to nominate those among their peers whom they most admire and, since 2014, we’ve commissioned some of SA’s best illustrators and graphic designers to design posters to give to our winners. Musonda Kabwe (@MusOfficial), who created the 2016 Agency Leaders’ Most Admired poster set, gives us the lowdown on his design process.

Collage - 2016 MarkLives Agency Leaders Most Admired posters by Musonda Kabwe
Click to enlarge

MarkLives logoPlease would you tell us more about yourself.

Musonda KabweMy name is Musonda Kabwe but everyone calls me Moose. I am an illustrator based at a studio space called Gather in Kramerville, Johannesburg; I was born in Zambia and moved to South Africa about 17 years ago. I spent some time working with Nathan Reddy at Grid as a graphic designer, before going into illustration full-time. I now run a small illustration studio called Müs (pronounced Moose). I was a Design Indaba Emerging Creative in 2015. My work has been featured by the likes of Design Indaba, Between 10&5, Grolsch Canvas, Conté magazine and now I have done illustration work for MTN, Telkom, Motherland Coffee, The Mail & Guardian and Sunday Times, to name a few.


MarkLives logoWhat inspired the design direction for the posters?

Musonda KabweCelebration. The posters depict an abstract and stylised scene of celebration. The posters are also a homage to our rich textile and pattern-making industries.


MarkLives logoPlease talk us through your design process.

Musonda KabweThis was one of the few projects that afforded me the time to start on paper. Like comic book artists, I create a final sketch which I then ink with some tracing paper. After inking, I scan it into the computer and continue to refine the artwork in photoshop. Sometimes I print the refined artwork and re-ink it to paper because the line looks too refined and digital. Then it’s time to add colour to the piece. Usually I create a few colour studies in Adobe Illustrator then narrow them down to the best few. After the final artwork is approved, it goes straight to the printer. This can be a painstaking process but, when I’m afforded the opportunity to do work this way, the work is of a different calibre.

MarkLives logoThe characters in the poster — where did you draw inspiration from?

Musonda KabweAll the characters in the poster art are actually the winners and people who voted from all the different agencies. Their faces were abstracted to suit the style.


MarkLives logoThere are quite a few fine details; please tell us about some of the icons you used and what they represent.

Musonda KabweIf you look closely, you notice that all these faces create a scene of celebration. All the eyes look towards the winner in the center. So, in a way, the poster is a visual celebration of the winner on the trophy held by the figure in the centre.


MarkLives logoPlease would you give us the technical specs about the design, production and printing processes that may be of interest to other designers?

Musonda KabweThe artwork is printed on Felix Schoeller True fibre paper, a museum-quality paper made in Germany. The paper was perfect because of its smooth surface that allows pin-sharp details, vivid colours and a high colour consistency. The artworks were digitally printed in a 12-colour inkjet process. So I’m able to print an RGB file with no colour distortions.

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