It’s a cool Friday afternoon but the heat is on in Flow’s boardroom.
A decade of experience judging the South African entries for membership to the International Society of Typographic Designers has done nothing to reduce the pressure for Flow’s Managing Director Tiffany Turkington and Janet Berger, CEO of Flow Exhibitions, both experienced designers and teachers of design.
Top typographic designer Fred Swart has also been on the panel for years and is “a real typo aficionado,” according to Janet; they have been joined by Margie Backhouse, lecturer in graphic design at AAA School of Advertising, and well-known South African designer.
“This year we were so impressed by the general high standard of work across the country,” says Tiffany. “We thank the tutors and the students for all their hard work, and I would like to thank the assessors, in particular, who take the time out to review each and every portfolio in the greatest of detail.”
Tiffany describes the process. “The assessments happen with a team in Johannesburg, and then, together with a team in the UK, we review digital files and converse about each project. This ensures that the assessment and the moderation are accurate and in line with the international marking of portfolios in other countries.”
She commends the South African assessments and says there is a high pass rate compared to other countries. “The UK team is always impressed by the South African students’ skills and expertise in the interpretation and implementation of the briefs.”
It’s been a long two days and they’re busy with the last of 30 entries, but their smiles are proof of the enjoyment at hand. “The student projects are always a pleasure,” says Janet. “It’s great to be reminded of the creativity and fresh thinking that students have – they aren’t yet affected by the cynicism so often attached to the working world. All of us designers on the panel practically salivate at the briefs and the creative freedom that they allow.
“My only criticism is that students don’t have more fun with these projects – it’s like they too often feel obliged to be deep and meaningful. But creating a smile with your work is just as valuable.”
Seems like great all round advice to me.