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Design during the Pandemic – Working on My Personal Brand

Design during the Pandemic - Working on My Personal Brand

Tshepo Themba Mbokazi is a Creative Director, Illustrator, and hand-lettering artist. He’s experienced in branding identity, event branding, and illustration. His background includes design for corporate and agencies, as well as creating local and international campaigns for brands.

 In fact, he's is the designer of theSQUAD’s monthly themes – thanks Tshepo! We spoke to him to find out the impact COVID had on his business, and discovered that he’s implemented new systems and processes to achieve his goals. We're grateful he took the time to do this interesting interview!

Design during the Pandemic - Working on My Personal Brand “COVID-19 actually had a "positive" effect on me. I had more time to work on my personal brand, to weed out bad habits, and to work on becoming a better man, friend and boyfriend.

I introduced two work-from-home habits which allowed me to become more productive and achieve my goals -

  1. The two-minute rule. If it takes me less than two minutes, I need to do it now. If it takes me more than two minutes I need to schedule it. This allowed me to procrastinate less and work more.
  2. If my to-do list for the day is complete, my day is done. If I complete my to-do list by 13h00 then my day ends at 13h00. This allowed me to spend more time with friends and family.

I'm also working on a transitioning from being an order-taker to a director. This means I have to align with senior directors in my field. I have to read what they read, engage in topics which they engage with, and work on projects which will allow me to be part of "director conversations". 

Upskilling also includes going from of being an executor to a problem-solver and my work needs to speak to that. I am therefore saying no to projects that don’t align with that goal, and yes to projects that are aligned.

In terms of challenges, the difference COVID made was that everything we faced was in a heightened state. We’ve never lived in such extreme conditions. In the creative and design industry these challenges include budgets, timings and deadlines, and trust - or the lack thereof.

Going forward, I think more designers should be creating work that speaks to South Africans, as well as creating more memes - and designers and animators should look at investing in NFTs.

At the moment I’m looking forward to working on, and achieving, my goals of -

  • Making more money
  • Creating value for my clients
  • Making my clients happy
  • Mentoring young designers

A quote I’m now living by is from Carl Jung -

'Proper development in the last part of your life is to rediscover the child that you left behind as you commenced your apprenticeship...' 

This speaks to me because you get to be something and tap into the potential of your younger self."

Tshepo Themba Mbokazi