Naija Graphic Design (NGD), Africa’s largest community of practice for creative design artists concluded its second NGDX Creative Conference in Lagos themed Liftoff, which saw various speakers in the creative space unpack various topics aimed at creating an awareness that allows creatives take full advantage of their craft and grow the design practice further. Opening the conference was the Keynote speech by its Chief Executive Officer,
Declaring the conference open, Laolu Obende, described Liftoff as an awareness that empowers creatives with tools needed to rewrite collective reality one creative endeavor at a time.
A major highpoint of the event was the unveiling of an ingenious marketplace which offers creatives an opportunity to generate further value by reselling these assets rather than leaving them on storage devices, enabling graphic designers monetize their created assets by reselling them to a global audience.
Speaking at the event, Obende further made a case for residual creative assets, emphasizing the need for creatives to take advantage of building an Africa focused creative stock depository “by utilizing the marketplace as a selling point for created assets.
“This will help fellow designers save time by easily purchasing existing assets and boost their productivity instead of creating everything from scratch”. The Marketplace will function like a stock library of assets created by African graphic designers and offer easier access to assets relevant for African projects thus ending the rarity of seeking assets like stock imagery portraying situations unique to Africa,” he stressed.
The unveiling of the marketplace as part of NGD’s product lineup, the organisers said in a statement, aligns with the burgeoning calls to offer ways of monetizing the abilities of Nigerian creatives and enhancing the creative economy.
The conference in itself, the statement noted, is an effort aimed at upscaling the potential of creative professionals through exposure to insights for improving their creative work.
Efforts at improving the creative sector, it noted, are capable of tremendous returns as seen in the Korean creative sector where investments have pushed creative products to become a leading export product in the country. The same can be replicated in the Nigerian context. NGD through its’ ecosystem pillars is achieving this economic upsurge of creatives by equipping creatives with skills and platforms for monetizing them
NGD expressed belief in strategic offerings to better the output of members on the platform and the NGDX conference is one of such strategic efforts held to achieve this. The event took place at the iconic Glover Memorial Hall Lagos and brought together a diverse cadre and community of graphic designers, filmmakers, animators, photographers, illustrators, and product designers and surpassed expectations in regards to a more impressive speaker ensemble, and attendee count.
Counseling young artists at the NGDX2023 and reinforcing the opportunities offered by NGD, Kelechi Amadi, a renowned photographer narrated his story, an inspirational journey borne out of his passion for creating works of art that can stand the test of time. This ability to create timeless pieces as stated by the prominent photographer was an outstanding factor capable of differentiating creatives in an already saturated environment and making a positive impact on their surroundings.
In another light filmmaker and popular AI artist Malik Afegbua described the purpose of African creatives as adding uniqueness to the world through creativity and utilization of emerging technology like Artificial intelligence. The creator of the Elder Scroll series, an AI-imagined work depicting affluent elderly Africans, took viewers on a compelling historical journey of the use of visual storytelling to depict Africans in repressive light and how utilizing Artificial intelligence helped to redefine this cultural bias.
According to the filmmaker and avid AI user, utilizing AI had helped him create unique works for top brands like Marvel Studios IBM, and Cadbury, and embracing this technology would improve the output of the creative society.
“We have to understand it as a tool and know how to use it” he said.
Another path to providing value introduced by NGD at this year’s conference was the Designation organized for job seekers which saw them create art with the winner per category getting hired by interested companies who also had their representatives at the event. Design is credited to be a critical driving force behind today’s global marketing efforts and the need for professional designers is now on a steady rise. The Youdesign platform already with 2100 members onboarded, seeks to fill this void and the designation was one way of doing this by allowing companies to choose directly from the winners of several design challenges held at the conference to fill open roles at their various establishments.
Since NGD thrives on an ecosystem of trust and collaboration, an engaging session on trust building was held by Daniel Emeka, Co-Founder of NGD, who noted that “trust enables a better valuation of creative output and this remains a critical skill to build”. Daniel took the audience on his systems for building trust and urged creatives to take ownership of their client problems and solve it passionately. He added by encouraging creatives to visualize their thinking processes.
In his words, “when the thinking process is shown it’s easy for people to value work more”.
Other sessions regarding the building of trust and improving the quality of work done on the platform included a session by Kunle Ademosun on understanding the needs of clients as a catalyst for creating solution-driven work for clients; the process of arriving at appealing colors for marketing purposes by Mary Afolabi, collaboration by Ismail Abubakar; the trend of infusing technology into creative products by Chuma Anagbado; while Tejiri Agborodoba gave insights into pursuing perfection. Others included Fola Folagbe who gave practical skills beyond the design talent that can ensure better results for creatives and Leslie Williams shared his steps for designing for gamification and how designers can create engaging experiences using game principles.
Each session held on NGDX served as an attempt to elevate the performance of designers by granting them insights into developing a client-first mindset, while accessing tools within the NGD ecosystem to fulfill their creative endeavors. The conference inspired artists and created an environment of learning for experienced and emerging creative artists.
“First time attending an event and it was a blast, Networking was just one of the key lessons I took away,” says Cynthia Umezulike, a member of the group, while describing her experience at the NGDX conference.
Looking forward, NGD also revealed some future plans while sharing its journey since its last conference which included over 750 videos shared with its community courtesy Facebook and a partnership with Domestika, one of the world’s largest creative learning platforms and also sensitizing 1,200 across the country in both secondary schools and higher institutions encouraging these students to choose creative design as a viable career. As NGD through its various products connects African artists to the world, it is expected that Africa’s estimated US$1bn creative art industry will grow rapidly over the next few years.