Ghanaian artists and designers need more collaboration with brands – Malta Guinness’ Rekognize Design Contest finalist
Audrey Naa Kowa Quaye, a finalist of the recently ended Malta Guinness ‘Rekognize Design Contest’, has highlighted how Ghanaian artists and designers need more of such opportunities to collaborate with brands.
She said: “More artists and designers are practicing digital forms of expression these days. We have many people emerging in sound production, graphic design, photography film and animation. Most of our development as creative is very much self-initiated so it’s comforting to have brands such as Malta Guinness give such opportunities for us to be seen, appreciated and rewarded.”
‘Rekognize Design Contest’ was a challenge thrown to selected graphic designers to create an original iconic design that would encapsulate the ideals of the brand, to commemorate the 30thanniversary of Malta Guinness. The winning design was used for a special Malta Guinness celebratory label, which was available across the country from November 2020 till date.
According to Audrey, who was one of two females among the nine artists who competed, she joined the contest because it was an opportunity to create something cool for Malta Guinness. “It’s very normal to be surrounded by men in this industry but that has never affected my performance. The competition was fun. I think with this campaign, Malta Guinness has proved that it is a progressive brand that cares about creative expression and is interested in the growth and promotion of Ghanaian talent,” she adds.
The artist believes that a lot needs to be done to highlight and grow the art and design industry in Ghana. “I believe we can start by respecting creatives and seeing them as problem solvers and divergent thinkers instead of people who just ’make nice things’. Also another way is by providing Ghanaian artists and designers with digital tools, training programs and resources that will enable them make national and global impact.”
She believes that when art is given the needed attention, it can contribute meaningfully to the progress of Ghana economically and socially.
“Even in the subtlest of ways, art and design help shape perceptions, disseminate information and drive behavioral change. Art can be used to break and create movements by highlighting and addressing sociopolitical issues. Culturally, our traditions are also preserved and shared through art. Socioeconomically, art and design provides employment and revenue for many people. It is also a space that allows creation of products and also plays a role in value addition to locally made products through structural and surface packaging,” she explains.
According to Audrey Quaye, a good way to see art getting a seat at the table of Ghanaian development is to get artists and designers to collaborate with people in STEM to provide practical solutions to local problems. She believes that by involving local creative talents, even global ideas can be tailored to suit the average Ghanaian. She also believes that involving artists in decision-making on regional and national levels would also be interesting seeing as our general approach to problem solving is very linear.
“Part of what we deal with as creatives is the constant negative stereotyping of our profession. It’s a lifetime responsibility of every creative to prove otherwise and teach people that design is not just how things look but how things work. We have to make people realize that a lot of thinking goes into our work. As creatives we should also create value by doing exceptional work to meet client expectations. Creatives should also have a good work ethic because respect is a two-way street.”
Audrey currently works as an art director but she is looking to explore other mediums of design such as interior design and styling spaces. She is a firm believer in art and design education. “Currently, there is a Creative Art subject being taught in basic schools. Beyond teaching the practical skills it would be great to teach design thinking as an approach to problem solving. It would be refreshing to have the upcoming ones think outside the box,” she intimates.