We recently chatted to design “super team”, Jana and Koos of Jana and Koos Uncreative. Their jaw-dropping design just shows, sometimes designers do get their way.
1. How did Jana and Koos Uncreative start?
Well, Koos was a professional mountain biker whose only reason for studying was to have something to fall back on. Initially, Jana actually fancied a career in fashion design.
2. What has been one of your greatest influences?
Breakfast burritos, cappuccinos, Johannesburg, hip hop, movies, parties, art, magazines, fashion, people, animals, family, Jeppe street, pawn shops, the internet and each other.
3. Where and what did you study?
Information Design at the University of Pretoria.
4. What has been one of your favourite projects to work on?
Invisible Cities - the experimental music and art events held in inner city Joburg were as challenging as they were satisfying.
5. Do you have any advice for newly graduated designers/illustrators out there?
Advice from our side would be not to stress too much about where you start working and what you start doing. You will end up where you are supposed to be; doing what you are supposed to be doing. Sometimes the unconventional long way around is what stands you in good stead. Other than that: EXPERIMENT. Stop copying global trends and applying what you’ve already seen. Design and illustration are industries that are meant to lead and teach, not copy and follow. Lastly, grow a thick skin if you haven’t in university already and don’t be scared to charge. You’re worth more to the world than you think at first.
6. What do you love the most about living and working in Johannesburg?
Johannesburg is great in the sense that it isn’t Cape Town. It doesn’t have the pressure of being beautiful, awe-inspiring and the “design capital” of the world. JHB is ugly, busy, wild and, in many ways, still figuring itself out. This provides us with all the space to experiment and do and make things that are allowed to be incorrect or ugly, but at least new and fresh. JHB is the place to be progressive, because you have to be to make it here. We did a design as part of our gold exhibit that spoke about exactly this, called JHB Hates You. And it says exactly that – Johannesburg doesn’t give a shit about whether you like it or not, and that really is why we like it.
7. Where can fans buy some of your work?
On this site, at the current exhibitions we are involved in, or just check out work on our website and blog and mail us if you’re keen on anything. We also do loads of commissions, so if you see any of our work that you like or have any ideas you’d like us to work with, please contact us.
8. Name three things that you just can’t live without.
Jana: coffee, travel, asthma pumps. / Koos: coffee, motorbikes, music.