Friday, 21 December 2007

Pure Greetings

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

FADE (Fight against Desert Encroachment) seeks camerawoman.

Renowned Nigerian environmentalist- Dr. Newton Jibunoh is leading a bright green trail across the Sahara desert with a group of four. As he turns 70 on January 1 2008, this will be Jibunoh’s third and last trip across the world’s largest desert. The objective of the 60 day expedition is to raise awareness on the effects of desertification on desert dwellers, global warming and climate change. The expedition will attract local, continental and international media coverage as part of its objective to shift desertification to the fore front of international climate change discuss.

This is also Jibunoh’s first time to be accompanied by others professionals including an auto mechanic, an IT specialist, a journalist and a cameraperson who will work together to make a documentary of the experience.

We are seeking an experienced African camera person who is capable of withstanding the ruggedness of the desert and has experience in documentary film making. A female camera person is strongly preferred.

To apply for this position please email your CV and a short compelling essay of why you should be chosen to Remuneration to be discussed upon application.

FADE- Fight Against Desert Encroachment.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Under Cover 3

“I chose this book whilst waiting for a long haul flight and even though I usually go for authors rather than the titles or book covers, this cover looked inviting. I felt it would be light and fun to read on the plane so I bought it and didn’t regret it.” –

Bola Atta
Editor- True Love Magazine.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Under Cover 2

I met up with Sade Adeniran in London this year when summer was fading into autumn. She bubbled into The Odeon Cinemas at Sheperds Bush with two copies of her book-Imagine This. One copy to be reviewed in True Love West Africa where I work, and the other for my reading pleasure. Imagine This was a pleasure at first sight. A cleverly angled painting floating in a sea of white clear space. The self published author created the concept for her book cover with the help pf Graphic Designer- Olamide Adetula. Imagine This enjoys rave reviews in London, and Sade is soon to sign a far more rewarding deal with one of England's top publishers.

Of the cover art she says: "the artists' name is Jonathan Gladding and he's an American working in St Lucia. I've know Jonathan since my University days in the States and saw his work when I went to St Lucia in 2001. I asked him if I could use it for my book cover and he agreed."

Below is a link to Jonathan Gladding's website-"

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Happy Day!

"More commonly, savvy publishers leave it to the designers. In the 1920s and 1930s, publishers regularly used fine artists, such as Ben Nicholson, to provide covers, and artists were only too happy for the steady income. "- Tom Dyckhoff.

A little birdie told me that a leading publisher in Nigeria will be consulting one of the graphics designers featuted on 2020visionng for their book covers. They're certainly the savvy ones.

Stay tuned for details of that transaction.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Under Cover...

...lies a brilliant novel or not. Whilst combing through the Internet for statistics on book sales and their relations to book cover designs, I found a brilliant piece by Tom Dyckhoff for the Guardian here-,6000,552107,00.html. After I read this article I abandoned my search as Tom more than sums up the whole point of my post. His article also chronicles the journey of book cover designs since the 20s till now, and how these designs have changed over the past eight decades.
I know for sure I am guilty of impulse buying in book stores. I remember last year I spent 40pounds on a fashion book I didn't need but found irresistably appealing and suffered for two weeks living on spaghetti and bread sticks. Many of us buy books we have never heard of based on the colours, textures, and words on the cover design. I've asked five people to share this experience starting with dear friend and fellow blogger the notorious Jeremy Weate of

“The Amado - has a distinctive cartoonesque cover - a woman with large brown eyes and lips carrying manicured roses. She looks like a brazilian diva leaving the stage to thunderous applause. Who was I to resist buying it?”

“The Alsanea - has a completely distinctive design - each letter is made up of embossed blips that are a little like sequins. They catch the light in an interesting and subtle way. The title, Girls of Riyadh, is semi-concealed by the general patterns on the cover - a nice metaphor for the concealed lives the characters in the novel have. Although the book was in an obscure corner of Heathrow's Borders book shop, and I was tired, it still caught my eye like a jewel shining in a heap of rubbish.”

Thursday, 8 November 2007

The good Logo.

The logo is a critical aspect of a brand and according to brand experts; the five key elements of a good brand are position, promise, personality, story and associations. Interlocking Cs, the star in the circle, the bitten multicolored apple... Without an explanation for these logos, would we know to interprete Chanel's logo as a clothing line, Mercedes's logo as a luxury car manufacturing company or Apple as a software company? Do you we understand these logos by interpretation or by association? Before I direct your attention to the logo below, let me confess at once that I designed it about three years ago for one of my own companies. I was very excited about it at the time but now I look at it and doubt that it translates the company's personality. So now I ask you, what does this company logo bring to mind?

Thursday, 25 October 2007


I run a fashion label called Earthtones. The pieces below are two of my favorite since I started designing clothes. Introducing Rebel Bride and Sunshine.

Model: Tunde Aladese
Photo: EO

Rebel Bride by Earthtones

Sunshine by Earthtones

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Nick Rawcliffe at Deploy

Londoners are invited to another open house event at Deploy Workshop featuring furniture designer Nick Rawcliffe. Details below...

Dear DePLOY Friends,

Following the success in Paris Pret-a-Porter 'SO ETHIC' show (sponsored by UK Trade Investment), London Design Festival, and numerous press coverage on DePLOY's unique approach to fashion (eg.
DePLOY is pleased to invite you its upcoming private view party featuring sustainable product designer and RCA graduate, Nick Rawcliffe.Nominated for 'Best New Exhibitor' at this year's 100% Design in London, Rawcliffe's extraordinary furniture designs include 'hive', a hanging chair made from sustainably sourced birch ply, and coffee tables made from recycled coffee grinds -- a perfect compliment to DePLOY's sustainable fashion ethos.

Please join us for this exceptional event on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at our flagship store DePLOY workSHOP, located on 148A St. John Street, EC1V 4PR. Drinks and special discounts on DePLOY collections and Rawstudio furniture from 6 to 10 pm.

RSVP or (0)20 7250 0199.

DePLOY is open daily from 11am-8pm, Monday to Saturday. We look forward to seeing you there!"

Friday, 19 October 2007


I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement yesterday when I saw the work of designers Karo Akpokiere and Chukwuma Ngene of The Seek Project- Karo and Chukwuma are graduates of General Arts (ND) and Graphics Design (HND) from Yaba College of Technology now City University of Technology, Lagos. The two members of the team share an alma mater as well as a love for urban youth culture. Their hip hop influence is evident in their graffiti designs on stools and their emotive illustrations inspired by song below. During the day they work in a brand management firm and at night, they exercise their design skills for their own private pursuits.

Stareface and her outstanding headgrear.

The illustration below is inspired by the song Le bien; Le Mal by MC Solaar and is available for download as an eps, CorelDraw and Illustrator file. All the seek project team require is that users credit the source of the image to the designers and send them a photo of what was created with the image.

OMA: No exclusivity to the acronym.

The Graffiti Stool

One of the most impressive features on the Seek Project web site are images of Karo's shoe design from start to finish. He calls the design Alterna; comfortable walking shoes made for people with flat feet.

"The Alterna design represents my passion for shoe design and it was my diploma graduating project. I wanted to learn a bit about the practical arm of footwear and to build a portfolio with the aim of using same to score an internship position with a shoe design/manufacturing firm where I can learn about the shoe business in detail with the plan of setting of a proper lifestyle shoe and apparel brand. Also if the opportunity to mass produce this design comes along I definitely will not be averse to that."- Karo Akpokiere


Thursday, 18 October 2007

Design a Life: The Science and The Art

I have often marveled at the science of plotting the graph for a successful life. People like Mozart, Tiger Woods, The Williams Sisters and Michael Jackson were child prodigies whose parents successfully designed their lives to ensure that they became outstanding in their fields. I contrast that to stories of people like Steve Jobs, whose lives are designed inadvertently yet successfully by a passion for what they love to do. Steve Jobs’ biological mother went to great lengths to ensure that her son went to college. And he did, for one semester, after which he dropped out. However Jobs dropped in on some calligraphy classes which helped him to develop multiple typefaces for the Mac computer used the world over today. My mother’s refrain regarding any project has always been “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. I have been haunted by that maxim all my life because I am far too spontaneous to plot a scientific graph, at least not for life, but am more inclined towards the art of living every day fervently. I was comforted and inspired by Steve Jobs commencement address to the graduating students from Stanford University in 2005. Follow your heart and the dots will connect looking backwards. See link to Steve Jobs' sppech here


Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Design Jockey Session

Lanre Lawal won the inaugural edition of the International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2005. His intriguing collection of graphic, web and multimedia designs over a period of five years swayed the judges in his favour. Lanre is the CEO and Creative Director at The Design Jockey Sessions. He studied Mathematics (Science) at Lagos State University and the mélange of his academic foundation in logic and his intimacy with Lagos’ dynamism reflects strongly in his designs. He speaks to 2020visionng about his products and the future of design in Nigeria.

Did you think you would win the IYDEY award in 2005?

I was optimistic about the Nigerian award. After making it past 140 Nigerian finalists, at home here, I had to be even more optimistic about winning in England. I got 7,500pounds to spend on a project.

What did you spend the money on?

I had a lot of sketches of products and I spent the money making those products such as the Armistice chair, The Longitude Wall Shelf, a CD rack, the Lawyer’s Gambit Bar stool and various other products. A number of these products were unfortunately damaged by DHL whilst in transit to London last year for the 100% expo at Earls Court. The few that made it were exhibited and have been on various design websites around the world.

How has your background in Mathematics aided your design skills?

First, the central skill to my design career is three dimensional animation. Within 3D, there are the Cartesian xyz axis nodes that enable peeking 360 at the object or mesh being modeled. Another personal reflection is that imagination precedes logic. Logic, another word for Math, seems a subset of imagination…like a state capital, while imagination is the Planet. I find the word 'imagination' to be an accurate description of my work. First I feel, then imagine, and then practice. The practicing process is assisted by logic. So the laws of perspective (sans McLuhan's ideas) for hand-drawing, applying Design Software and Math are logic-based assistants. You may need to apply logic to make imagination coherent.

What do you find most fascinating about Lagos?

The kinetic diversity, instant familiarity, colors in the sky, the native language, all the buses Warhol in front of you and Technicolor is a sunset away. A sense of freedom you can't rationalize when things could actually be dangerous and laden with uncertainty. Happiness is more intense here. It makes a knife out of your alertness. Authenticity is paradoxically cheap and folks are ready to put passion in anything; no matter how trivial. I am very in touch with Lagos and Lagos is very central to my work.

Is design profitable?

On the personal level; design is my calling, I have spent eight years in the field, and the answer is yes, design is very profitable. It was toil for a while, and gradually one got more clients who trusted my creativity with their brands. On the national level, we’ve not even begun to articulate what design represents in the Nigerian canon. All endeavors in Nigerian design while having existed have not been categorized or documented for commercial value. There is design within in the arts context and there is design in the industrial context. I am interested in design in the industrial context which is actually far more profitable. This is where you design a car, a shirt, a pair of shoes, a chair and make 400 or 4000 pieces of it exactly the same. I think there needs to be a system that encourages the awareness of design (whether in the traditional media, formal education or blogs like these), and how revenue can be derived from design even at a small scale industry level. Things like that put into motion and looking at the UK who derive 25% of their GDP through the creative industries and looking at London that is being celebrated as the design capital of the world. We can take a studied cue from the UK's creative industries and apply our own indigenous culture to industrial design.
All images, products and designs in this post by Lanre Lawal.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Hennumi and DEPLOY Tactics

Nigerian designer Tosin Trim promotes an appreciation for the value of unwanted fabric and clothing by reusing them to create the most fascinating accessories. She works with left over aso oke from cloth weavers and abandoned gele from friends and family. Tosin also sources fabric from DEPlOY; a demi coture and multi functional womens wear label which enables its costumers to put their clothes to a wade range of uses by recycling design. "My aim is to make the fashion process less wasteful, more sustainable and more interactive with the end user" says DEPLOY's Creative Director Bernice Pan. Dresses that are detachable into three individual pieces; a blouse, a cummerbund and a skirt are some of the nifty designs that can be found with the label. The dress photographed below for instance can be worn as two designs; front to back or back to front. Hennumi and DEPLOY's design approach allows for more efficient use of material, human resources and the end product.

Photos: Ade Omoloja
Models: Abisola Odutola and Tosin Trim
Location: DEPLOY Workshop 148A St. John Street London EC1V 4PR

Environmental Scientist- Abisola Odutola models the reversible DEPLOY gown.
Tosin Trim in DEPLOY's reversable evening gown and a Hennumi head piece.
Tosin Trim wearing one of her Hennumi hair accessories.
Hennumi purse made from recycled aso oke.

Design is logical, creative, intuitive, business.

The 100% design exhibition is a Mecca for design enthusiasts around the world. Individual buyers seeking new directions from designers of light, furniture, fabric, accessories throng the venue. More importantly, corporate trade buyers are key attendees. Many multi million pound transactions are spun off at the exhibition as buyers meet designers one on one to discuss the possibilities of trade.
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Norway, Japan, Slovakia, Spain, Lithuania are some of the regions that were represented at the 100% Design Exhibition this year. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University also had a stand womanned by Christine Tsin and Jenny Ma pictured above. The stand showcased some of the most outstanding projects created by the school's graduates with exhibits including furniture, lighting, tableware and interior accessories. Our 2020vision team is dedicated to bringing to best of Nigerian design to bear also. So that next year a sign labelled 100% Nigeria will host our country's best at the 100% design exhibition.

Random scribbles from design thoughts.

2D Seyi Taylor.

Dr. Seyi Taylor is the Chief Creative Officer of his design company Noah69. He is also one of the National winners of the 2007 International Young Design Entrepreneur Award. In Seyi's upcoming interview, he shares details of his transition from a medical career to a profession in design.

Zaha Hadid's Z car.

The Design Museum in London features a full scale exhibition of Zaha Hadid's architectural plans, domestic products, furniture, paintings and sketches revealing the diverse range of her work. Zaha Hadid has over 25o staff currently working with her and they have over 5o projects running simultaneously for clients across the world in China, Singapore, Istanbul and Dubai. One of her most stunning exhibits at the Design Museum is her Z car; a concept which fuses art and transport. The design has however been subject to severe criticism as being a vanity project which could do nothing but look good. Zaha proved her critics wrong when her maverick agent Kenny Scachter found a manufacturer in Monaco who plans to make the three wheel art road worthy.
Perhaps it's time to dig out my little brother's train models...

Nigeria- By Accident or Design?

The Famous Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas contends that Lagos represents the future for the western megacity. A group of design students of Nigerian descent projected ambitiously that Nigeria would become the design capital of West Africa by 2020. In their projection, Lagos is the capital of West Africa and 95% of the populations commute by surface rail.

On Thursday July 19, 2007, Jeremy Weate, a Nigerian by adoption wrote on his acridly controversial blog: “How about taking the most ambivalent of objects- the Nigerian passport and turning it, through creative means, into the most positive statement of a progressive Nigerian identity?” Predating Mr.Weate’s proposition, Nigerian Blufunk artist Keziah Jones’ employed the theme of the Nigerian passport for the cover of his albums Black Orpheus and Black Orpheus Limited in 2003 and 2004 respectively-

Leke Alder a Nigerian Image consultant solves social and economic challenges with the tools and principles of design. With his legal background and creative abilities he redesigns the brand of banks, embassies and nations. Leke Alder was enlisted by the Nigerian government to rebrand the nation. He rebranded Nigeria using a mixture of in your face and familiar design concepts to position the country as the Heart of Africa.

These people have one thing in common, a vision for a greater Nigeria that is restlessly globalizing, but is propelled forward by a strong design culture whether tangible or intangible.

However rebuilding Nigeria requires more than the work a few, but the cohesive efforts of an army of brand and design consultants who are constantly being stimulated by ideas from within and without.

Whether or not we are conscious of it, a sense of design aesthetics pervades every level of the Nigerian society, from the ghana-must go bag which now graces international catwalk to the multi-coloured flip flop slippers and the mobile architecture of the danfos and molue signage.

The antecedents to this contemporary design culture can be found in the lost wax of 15th century ancient Benin, 2000 year old Nok terracotta, the Nsibidi hieroglyphics of the Ekpe, the soap stones of Esi in contemporary Ilorin. The Yoruba tie’n’dye cloth art, aso oke and many more. Unfortunately, beyond adornment and sartorial detail, most of this design heritage is not being used today as a spring board to project contemporary concerns in the way modernist painters such as Picasso and Matisse used African design sensibilities to give to rise to European modernism.

Dubai was created in 1971. 25 years later it has evolved from third to a first world country and has become a favorite holiday destination amongst Nigerians. As a result Nigerians have reportedly begun spending their disposable income in the Emirate instead of England. This has prompted the British Embassy in Nigeria to begin issuing visas to Nigerians with renewed and competitive vigor. Dubai earns 3% of its revenue through petroleum and natural gas, but year after year, a greater percentage of their income is earned through tourism. Similarly Singapore, the city state of wonder in South East Asia became an independent nation from Malaysia in 1965. The mainstay of the country is gained through tourism and the magical features which the country boasts of today were completely designed through the dedicated efforts of a few mavericks. Today, Singapore is the 18th wealthiest country in the world.

Futuristic countries like Singapore and Dubai are established testimonies to the fact that first world countries can be made not by accident but by design aesthetics projected and built line by line, colour by colour, texture for texture and brick by brick. In order to begin our march towards a design culture for Nigeria we must embrace the culture of deliberate design; a culture that insists that our space life becomes the exact blueprint of our design culture.


Image sourced from True Love South Africa

Saturday, 22 September 2007

A Ken sense of Design.

At the grand opening of the London Design Festival on Monday, 17 September 2007 at the Royal Festival Hall. Ken Livingstone; Mayor of London embraces design as the key tool into making London one of the world's favorite travel destinations. He recruited the famous Architect Zaha Hadid to design the Aquatic Centre in London which was a key feature in London's bid for the 2012 Olympics. According to Ken 15 million tourists visited London last year and he attributes that traffic to design. Whether it is the preservation of culture, the tangibility of England's history, or the independence of public transport that tourists enjoy London is designed purposefully to work and to be a successful tourist destination.
In his interview, Livingstone reminisces about the one and only time he visited Nigeria in 1966 and how he spent four weeks living on a tent on the beach in Lagos.

On London as Design Capital of the World vis a vis Financial Capital of the World…

“A lot of people worry about London losing its position as the financial capital of the world, but I don’t worry about that. 15 million visitors came into London last year and they didn’t come to look at our bankers in suits or our great financial institutions. They came for culture and design. I would much rather London is number one in design than in the financial sector.”

On Zaha Hadid’s contributions to design in London, and the bid for the 2012 Olympics…

“Zaha came up with a design for our Aquatic centre that was breathtaking and she deserves an award for that. It was stunning! The IOC (International Olympic Committee) members saw it and thought, this is great Architecture and that is where we want our aquatic events to hold. Zaha struggled to make sure the original concept survived; she fought to make certain that the centre would be there to inspire millions of people who will walk past the Aquatic Centre in the decades to come. As long as this city attracts people like Zaha to work in it, our future as a centre of design and creative industry is secure. If you doubt that, Zaha has just flown in from Paris where President Sarkozy assembled all the greatest Architects in the world to tell him how to bring his city to life and how to help bring France out of this long period of relative recession and depression. He recognised that you do it not with the great industries or the great financial centres, but you do with your artists in every field of culture and design.”

On design and developing countries…

“A lot of people feel that developing countries need to replicate the western patterns of development of heavy industry and so on. But with the nature of technology, telecommunications, the Internet and international travel, I think developing countries would want to leap frog the industrial and go straight t o the service sectors.

If people come to Lagos because they are excited about a dynamic city; they will come for that. They won’t come because it’s developed with loads of industrial plants or because of its oil fields. They will come because of the arts and the culture.”

On his one time visit to Lagos

“I haven’t been to Lagos since 1966 when I was 21. I’m told it’s changed. When I came I slept on the beach at Lagos for four weeks in a tent. And every morning I left my possessions in the tent set out, went to explore the city and came back and all my belongings were there. I was there on holiday on holiday at the time. I will come again but I won’t lie in a tent on the beach though.” (laughs)


Photo- Ade Omoloja