Meet Designer of the Week Christi du Toit, a funny, independent creative who hails from South Africa and specializes in illustration and custom lettering.
If you check him out on Instagram, you’ll find that his work—whether it’s T-shirts illustrations, band posters or Pikachu gifs—is love by many.
Name: André Christiaan du Toit. I have both Dutch and French heritage, but I mostly speak English—how’s that for a crazy combination? I used to go by my second name (Christiaan) because there are so many André’s in my family, but then one of my friends coined Christi as a nickname in high school and it stuck.
Name of Firm/Studio: Me, myself and I. I work independently under my name Christi du Toit as a designer specializing in illustration, custom lettering and the occasional animated gif.
Location: I grew up in a small, quiet town along the coast of South Africa called Gordon’s Bay, but fell in love with the city when I moved there to study, which is where I’m still living now – Cape Town, South Africa.
Design school attended: I received a degree in graphic design and visual communication from AAA School of Advertising in 2014.
How would you describe your work?
Gritty, hand-drawn, sometimes dark, sometimes quirky, but always fun.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration not only from other creative’s work, but also from the drive and determination they have to push themselves with every new project. I guess I’m inspired by the thought of always improving my work. My goals are unreachable because as I get more experienced these goals become more difficult to reach, and I think that keeps the ball rolling.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
My parents! My mom is an artist and a former art teacher, and my dad is an architect (that totally counts as a designer, right?). They have always been hugely influential to me both in giving me an amazing opportunity to grow up in a house overflowing with creativity, as well as in the ongoing support they show for me and my career choice.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
I really want to answer this properly, but it’s difficult. Every time I pick a favorite, a new project comes along which then becomes a new favorite, and so on. I can say that I’m not the biggest fan of my own work (probably because I feel there’s always room for improvement), but I really love the process of creating my illustrations, so with that in mind I guess they’re all my favorite.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
There are many! It’s funny, because the most challenging projects were college projects. All the late nights without sleep, trying to polish off projects so that you won’t fail them. The two that stand out the most for me are, firstly, a 30-second animated short we had to do which we only had two weeks for. And by two weeks I mean we had to get briefed, plan our entire project, then learn how to actually make something move in the first place, aaaaand then still to get through it.
I ended up choosing cel animation as my direction, where I had to draw 24 pictures for every second of animation. Probably the worst choice I’ve ever made, although I learned more in that project than I have with any other.
Secondly, web design. Same scenario: two weeks only, get briefed, plan everything, learn how to code, and code the website. Unlike my first option here, I learned nothing, and I still have absolutely no idea how to code anything.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I’d say my future aim is to keep doing what I’m doing now, but to be better at doing it, with bigger clients (and probably more cats). Also, a six pack would be nice, just sayin’.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
It’s fine to look up to other designers, but don’t let their work dictate your own. Work extremely hard, but only show your best work. Social media is a thing—use it to your advantage. Last, but not least, always smile, because you have the best job in the world. 🙂
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