The Scoop - Zandalee van der Schyff

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’s definitely a big jump. The industry is very fast-paced but something you get used to very quickly.

Give us a short A- Z Workroom bio – What do you specialise in?
Anande and I both graduated with an honours Degree in Visual Communication at The Open Window (between 2015-2017) and have 7+ years of industry experience. In 2019, after working together at Boogertman + Partners for 2 years, we decided to join forces and create A-Z WORKROOM. A-Z not only incorporates our initials (Anande & Zan) but also our belief that design is boundless. Our vision for the freelance studio was to not limit ourselves when it comes to design, we wanted to do everything from commercial graphic design projects to onsite mural applications. Our strength lies in our combined experience and education along with a fierce curiosity about design.

Who inspires you in your practice?
Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister. Anande and I follow various profiles and pages (such as AIGA Eye on Design) and fellow local creatives which also serve as prime forms of inspiration.

What did you major in when you studied at OW?
Communication Design

When did you graduate?

How do you keep yourself motivated to stay creative?
I try my best to do personal projects and illustrations during my free time. Incorporating personal projects allows for a different kind of creative freedom and outlet.

How do you get past a creative block?
I take a break and do something else to clear my mind. Sometimes taking a break helps you get past that creative block and come up with new solutions. I find that also having a healthy active and social life helps. Going for a run or surrounding yourself with friends and family helps clear your mind and allows you to approach a creative block differently. Anande and I love to collaborate and swap projects that we’re working on. Having someone else look at your work also provides variety and alternative creative solutions when faced with a creative block.

What advice would you give someone who’s starting their creative career?
Don’t be too hard on yourself and trust the process as well as yourself. Things can get tough out there, but if you work hard and continue practising, you’ll get to where you need to be.

How do you approach the creative process?
I love an explorative process and have a keen interest in experimenting with different mediums. When it comes to personal projects, I tend to go with the flow and see where my creativity takes me. However, when working with clients and set briefs, the creative process is often more linear. In such cases, Anande and I like to start off by understanding the project requirements and determining the possible creative outcomes. We then spend quite a bit of time looking at inspirational sources and outlining a way forward. Once we have a clear understanding of what the end product could be, we start creating! This is usually a back-and-forth communicative as well as creative process, which involves a lot of collaboration between the two of us. My absolute favourite part of any project is the refinement stage. I could do this for hours.

How do you stay current and informed about what is going on in “ industry/practice” and its trends?
I tend to do a deep dive on social media or creative platforms such as Behance or Between 10 and 5. I consider what other creatives in the field are getting up to and how the audience reacts.

What are your favourite songs at the moment?
Maria – Blondie (Love my oldies)

Any favourite Podcasts?
Not much of a Podcast listener

Favourite free online resource?

What’s your go-to creative snack?
Woolworths peanut tumbles/chocolate-coated chickpeas

What are the three most important things in your bag/suitcase/pocket?
My pen, cell phone and a snack

How do you balance your personal artistic expression with commercial/client work?
I find it important to incorporate your voice as a designer in every creative project, whether it be personal or commercial. We have been very fortunate to work with clients who value our creative input and freedom/of expression. We strive to integrate our ‘voice’ and personal style into every project. Although most projects start off with a client brief, I believe that there is always a means to carry through your personal artistic expression whilst still adhering to client requirements. Over the past few years, our mural installations have allowed us to create freely as well as visually communicate our voice as designers through an explorative medium and process.

What alternative career path would you follow if you weren’t the creative you are today?
Believe it or not, most probably a doctor or botanist