This month, we interview Daniel Dzandu on his graphic design practice in the Volta Region, Ghana.
What’s your background?
It started when I was about 6 I make images out every shape and my family and teachers were encouraging me. After Junior High I was convinced that what I can do best
I used to work at a sign sign centre where we design and construct billboards. Before I arrived, they have a collection of fonts they use in their design, the layouts are almost fixed (the have about 4-6 layouts they keep repeating). The colours were almost the same all the time and there was no space to try new things.
Some preferred styles:
– Bold and Rigid
-Circles & Squares
– non elegant forms
Most unfortunately I was carrying things around most of the time
What inspires you the most?
What and where did you study? Was the course heavily conceptual or was it focussed on teaching technical skill?
I studied Visual Visual Arts in Senior High School
(Textile Design, Graphic Design, General Knowledge in Art…) – 3 years (70% conceptual)
Computer Technology Fundamentals – 1 year in Bachelor of Arts (Graphic Design) at the University – 4 years (it was 65% practical)
Why did you start your company?
I decided to start my our business because there are very few companies to employ artists.
I was employed after uni but they pay very little and most disturbing was that they kept me to do things they believe are good. Doing the same thing everyday the same way is boring. I felt I was wasting my talent.
Who are your main clients?
The business is good, as the population is buying into the idea of advertising their product. However, most of the work more about functionality than aesthetics purposes.
My clients are the general public, the Market Men/Women, Offices, families etc. (Most people do not own private printers as in in parts of the world so we take care of their secretarial services.
Design and Print
Poster and signs
Functionality is my thing due to what my clients require; but also love aesthetics. So a combination. My clients so far are local; I grew up in the Volta Region and so I thought it wise to work with the people who I understand the most.
Which brands do you admire?
I like the Ghanaian Elcarna Studio (mainly their cartoons and animation).
My favourite Ghanaian Artists: are S.K. Amenuke and Dr. Dog be.
What did you study at university?
We studied Art History where we understood the life and works of artists and Art forms.
-Albert Duree, Micheal, Picasso some Ghanaian Artists etc.
-Artforms such as Pre Historic, Art Nouveau, Sub Sahara Art, Japanese , Bahaus etc.
What did you like about their work?
We didn’t have the option to like or dislike their works. We read about an artists’ Life – birth, birth place; what kind of artist – Painter, Sculptor etc. Description of some the works – Inventory of items, Mediums used, Technical Qualities Influence (personal, physical and cultural factors that can influence the artist) Appreciation (talking intelligently about the work without passing judgement).
How important is concept in your work?
Concept is evident in everything I design, sometimes unintentionally.
What do you love about your work?
The processes involved in doing the work makes me feel the work as part of me. The fact that it starts with the thought of making it, doing the work with my hands and the satisfaction.
What kind of work do you want to make? What are your hopes for the future?
I would like to make works that are beneficial to the society – anything at all.
I hope to get the right equipment for my company so I can offer the best graphic design services targeting the local content.
What does Ophisa mean?
My mother thought I will make a good cop so she called me ‘officer’ as in police officer, but our dialect accent made it ‘Ophisa’.
Daniel is open for collaboration and can be found here
or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org