The Scoop - Anande van der Merwe

Bachelor of Arts Honours in Visual Communication

Your company name?
A-Z Workroom

Where can we find you online?

How did you find the jump between being a student versus industry work?
It was quite a huge jump. The industry is fast-paced and requires you to make snap decisions without compromising the quality of work delivered. Everything that we were taught had to be squeezed into a small time frame accompanied by loads of new information and techniques. A shock to the system but one quickly adapts.

Who inspires you in your practice?
We follow pages such as It’s Nice That & Booooooom which feature various artists – known and upcoming people to look out for. It’s great to see what’s happening out there on using one platform. Zan and I also spam each other with media whenever we see something amazing from furniture creations to mural paintings.

What did you major in when you studied at OW?
I doubled majored in Illustration & Communication Design

When did you graduate?

How do you get past a creative block?
I like to soundboard a lot with the people around me. Zan and I have had sessions where we just chat about a problem until we naturally find a solution. Collaboration with others helps you see things from a different perspective which definitely cures that creative block we all experience.

What advice would you give someone who’s starting their creative career?
Have patience with yourself. It takes time to find your voice, learn the necessary skills and deal with clients (and disappointments). Take the time you need to learn from all the mistakes and surround yourself with people who you can learn from. It doesn’t always happen overnight.

How do you approach the creative process?
Firstly, I make sure that I completely understand the brief/client – there’s always a spark igniting concepts in my head when I hear certain keywords or pick up something that the client emotes. From there it’s all practical approaches with me. I keep the timeline on hand while I go through the practice of finding references that link with the ideas I conjured up, plus sourcing programs, methods or tutorials that offer the fastest way to generate it. Once I have a base design ready, I have a session with Zan on how we can refine/elevate it – we combine our ideas together on a way forward. I also hand my files over to her in order to for us to really collaborate – these projects always turn out to be the best ones!

How do you stay current and informed about what is going on in “ industry/practice” and its trends?
I am lucky to have a lot of friends in the industry and after a weekend wine session, I know more about what is happening around me because everyone shares the latest thing they saw, listened to or created. Again, the cliched practice of following accounts that feature multiple upcoming artists and staying informed on global news also keeps you up to date.

What are your favourite songs at the moment?
According to Spotify, Enya.

Any favourite Podcasts?
The Guilty Feminist
Two Hot Takes
Murder with my Husband

Favourite free online resource?
ChatGPT – only recently played around a bit
Figma- the community resources are amazing
Google Fonts

What’s your go-to creative snack?

What are the three most important things in your bag/suitcase/pocket?

How do you balance your personal artistic expression with commercial/client work?
Our work is very versatile, there’s not really a specific “artistic expression” that we incorporate in each project. We will always try to push the boundaries with a brief – we try to convince the client to move in a certain visual direction that we believe will work the best (through experience, research and references). The mural paintings we’ve done are probably the only area where we showcase a specific style, we have been fortunate enough to be able to do this since the clients who commissioned us wanted that particular design approached based on having seen our previous work.

What alternative career path would you follow if you weren’t the creative you are today?
Criminal pathology