I’m Dana, a Johannesburg-based designer with a strange South African/English/Welsh heritage, red hair and an attitude to match!
I love my job – because it never truly feels like a job, just that each new project is a chance to flex my creative skills in new and fun ways. I’ve always been creative, I’ve always love making things, from puppets to pancakes, music and more. I love being able to stare out the window while I’m brainstorming, love feeling the sun on my skin (yes, even though I am a redhead!) and I far prefer the forests and mountains to the beach! And I am a serious movie score collector (close to 100 and growing).
When I’m not working, I’m hanging out with my cats, being pit-crew for my boyfriend at his RC car races, and keeping busy as an underwater photographer.
After my dreams of studying animation at university vanished before my eyes, I had no choice but to follow a new creative path. Designing interfaces, coding applications and websites became my new found love for making things. I soon grew to love the process of making something new – the inspiration, research, brainstorming, conceptualisation through to the final product. It’s more addictive than chocolate, coffee and cake combined. .
Within the first 3 years of my studies, I learnt more than I learnt during my 12 years of primary and high school. I learnt Photoshop before studying, and my skills were honed during my years of studying. I became well-versed in Illustrator, Flash (Actionscript 3.0), Dreamweaver, HTML and CSS. I also learnt and put to practice my knowledge of User Experience Design and Information Architecture.
Having completed 3 years of studies for a National Diploma, I was excited and ready to start my final year of studies to receive a Bachelor of Technology. While I spent the most part of 9 months focusing on my thesis paper, I was invited to tutor first years in learning technology, namely Photoshop and Illustrator. Between studying and tutorial, I gained a great deal of knowledge and appreciation for everything I had learnt and all my lecturers, who’d guided me through the 4 years of hard work, stress, partial insanity and joy to receive my BTech. During my studies I also freelanced for word-of-mouth clients, keeping my portfolio up to date and enjoying new projects.
During the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013, I constantly applied for jobs and went to interviews. I was offered a position at a local ICT company. I grew to enjoy the presence of collegues and working in an office environment, and the odd trip to the warehouse of computer hardware was oddly familiar. While being the only designer taught me corporate design skills I wouldn’t have learnt anywhere else, I slowly started moving into a marketing position and focused less on design. I realised it wasn’t the right path for me, and took a leap of faith into graphic design freelancing fulltime as The Ginger Creative. With the support of co-workers, my boss, family, friends and clients I made the change to working from home, and I haven’t looked back.
8 years later, and I’m still going. I have had the privilege of working on some great projects and some great clients! I have had international clients, such as Mauritius and Zambia. I’ve helped friends get their businesses off the ground. I’ve worked for companies that produce calendars for large corporations and have assisted with custom calendar designs for companies such as Putco, Elliott Moving, HellermanTyton and Kargo, just to name a few. I have also created designed packaging for Enviromall and Zevenwacht Wines. My job has taught me so much, and I love using my skills for new projects as much as I can.