Graphic Design

Interview with Designer and Director Anthony Neil Dart

This interview features multi disciplinary designer/director Anthony Neil Dart. His work features mixed media elements presented in a clean aesthetic. Typography is one of his strong suit and is depicted in most of his works. This interview feature will take you through his design journey which surely would serve as an inspiration to everyone.


Can you tell us more about yourself? What were your influences, growing up?

I am a multi disciplinary graphic designer living and working in South Africa. I’m passionate about what I do! Growing up, it was first comic books and graphic novels and then I discovered the work of William Blake. I remember distinctly – that was the moment I knew I loved words and images. It’s a love affair which continues to this day. Most designers I know get quite obsessive about things, and I am no different – I love to collect books on art and design, magazines and ephemera.

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How have you evolved as a designer?

I never studied graphic design, I come from an art background. It was always my intention to become an artist or an illustrator. So my background is in art history, drawing, sculpture and photography. I also studied traditional print making like silk screening and etching. When I left college I found it difficult to find work and everyone was asking for computer experience. I took a junior position at a sign writing company where I first made letters by hand either with paint or vinyl. When the studio got a computerized plotter to cut out giant letters I jumped into learning that and so started a long process of self improvement. I got a great eye for letters and type from that background. Once I learnt photoshop and the vector based programs I started out at an advertising agency doing below the line print work. All the time I would just get as much software as I could lay my hands on to improve my work, that led to flash and movement and digital which eventually led to 3d and compositing applications. I moved from the agency world into the production company realm working on broadcast shows and imaging related work for television and then finally into commercials and visual effects. I started Ontwerp.tv a small studio doing mostly commercial works around eight years ago – The work was focussed around the ever converging art of digital film making and computer generated design and animation. Now I work in isolation as Ontwerp but collaborate with other artists and animators to complete my projects. I now focus more on the design and direction of this type of work. But I still accept other projects like typography or illustration work for print and digital campaigns just to keep things interesting.

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Does your environment influence your designs? Where do you usually find inspiration?

Yes I think it does, on my color choice especially. My work is a product of what im inspired by – as if it is a complex filtering process that manifests itself graphically. Inspiration is everywhere.

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What projects or activity make you want to rise up in the morning or keep you up at night?

Pretty much all my projects, like I said im quite obsessed – I am always trying to improve an idea or technique, once I lock into something its pretty much all consuming. Even in between projects im coming up with new ideas that randomly come around, and I like to work in those moments – I hate trying to force things because it always leeds to the standard of the work dropping. With commercial realities this is often the case and the most challenging part to overcome.

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