The Creatives - Dani Steyn

31 October 2022


How did you find the jump between being a student versus industry work?
The search for work was the hardest part, but once that was out of the way I acclimated really easily to the industry that I am in currently (tech education). Open Window equipped me with the tools I needed to strategise, execute, and take criticism well, which has enabled me to excel.

Who inspires you in your practice?
Neri Oxman. Her ethos of designing for and by nature embodies a synergy between the environment and humanity.
Her methods and approaches to design have allowed me to question the impact of what I make and why I make things.

A favourite Open Window memory?
The honours exhibition night. Seeing your own work- and the hard work of others coming together is a gratifying feeling (especially when there is free cheese and wine).

Do you have any advice for an up-and-coming creative?
Do not just see the task in front of you as a means to an end, see it as an opportunity to explore different methods and types of content. Use the resources you are provided with. If you come at it with a growth mindset, you will get the most out of this experience.

What is your favourite spot to work in besides your desk at work?
When we are issued graphics work (or if I have to get creative), I love abusing my Two Oceans aquarium pass and sitting next to the shark tank (pro tip: To elevate that experience listen to the “Mom I’m a nihilist, Vol I” playlist)

Favourite coffee brand/supplier?
I am going to pretend that this question doesn’t exist so that I don’t have to choose.

What is one thing about studying that you miss the most?
Accessibility to the tools you need and the community around you. There is a lot of value in being able to riff off of other creatives, who are also figuring themselves out.

What is a work mantra of yours?
Sometimes you need to chill the hell out, taking care of and developing yourself, improves the quality of your work.

How do you keep yourself motivated to stay creative?
I make a conscious effort to draw inspiration from my surroundings and then document that observation in some way.

1. Creative documentation allows you to witness your own growth and stay inspired.

2. I realised what I choose to expose myself to affects what I make, therefore I put a lot of work into filtering what I consume and surround myself with. Which improves the quality of my work.

What is an unpopular opinion you have?
There is a surplus of designers in the workforce. You are replaceable, therefore:
Working to the point of burnout will never serve you in the same way it helps your employer. Be strategic, do what you can to upskill and then look out for your best interest.

What is a dream you are still working toward?
It is my dream to design practical, digital solutions for issues that communities with disability face. The MIT media lab integrates, science, design and technology for social and environmental change. I am in the process of upskilling myself to apply to one of their programs and pursue this dream.

What was your major, and are you still working in that field?
Interaction Design. I touch on some of it in my work, but they need me to be more of an all-rounder that a specialist.

Where do you currently work?
By day I work for HyperionDev, a comprehensive online education platform focused on high-demand tech subjects, but at night I do odd illustration jobs or music gigs.

Do you prefer online or in-person work?
Both have their perks, but Online allows me to work in the ways that work for me (I can’t sit on the office floor with a billion post-its as I do at home).

Your go-to creative snack?
Cocoa-covered almonds are where it’s at.

How do you get past a creative block?
The Instagram-friendly, subdued ritual includes: running (a hot bath or outside) and then crying.

Where can we follow you?
To see art: @daydreamingdanielle
To embrace chaos: @daniyell_into_the_void