First Published in
Joey Hi-Fi is the freelance moniker of a 20-something graphic designer whose daylight hours are spent at the Cape Town-based studio CODe (a company of designers). Although the work shown here provides proof that it is, finally, time to give up that day job, Joey Hi-Fi, aka Dale Halvorsen, would be inclined to disagree, as his corporate projects at CODe have included the re-branding of the University of Johannesburg and the spanking new makeover for Finance Week.
However, it's his job moonlighting as Joey Hi-Fi that's of more interest here. When unfettered by corporate concerns, a keen social commentary tends to run through his oeuvre. Take for instance, his poster Consume, and its pointed comment on our society's rampant consumer culture (ironically, the poster itself is something many will want to acquire). Then there's the anti-Bush statement conveyed in the visual lexicon of the video game in his Invaders piece. And of course, the Mugabe Dingbats Font, which was designed just when reports of human rights abuses and press censorship in Zimbabawe first started to surface.
Yet Joey Hi-Fi almost never was. He only just managed to study at the Durban Technikon, now known as the Durban Institute of Technology. He failed his entrance exam and only managed to get into the course when another student pulled out ("I always meant to find him/her and thank him/her"). Ironically, he went on to win the 'top student in advertising' award (and oddly missed out on the design award).
Intrigued as to the source of Joey's montage-style conglomerations of disparate images and clashing icons, we just had to ask. This was his reply:
"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." - Albert Einstein
I'm not a genius like Einstein, but I am very curious. I am always on the lookout for new and interesting stimuli. The world around me is a constant inspiration. And living in South Africa means there is no lack of inspiration. I get a lot of my ideas just walking down the street and seeing something - whether it's some odd signage, some trash on the ground, or a slang word somebody uses - and then I get an idea for something.
I'm also an avid collector of oddities, everything from classic cars to figurines, old movies, books and comics. I get a lot of inspiration from the stuff i have in my apartment. I think George Santayana said it best: "Graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies and humors."
I am also inspired by the work of other designers - both international and local. When you see great work produced by your peers it forces you to raise the bar and push yourself a little harder.
So who has influenced you?
Garth Walker, Jonathan Barnbrook, Stefan Sagmeister, my CODe studio colleagues, Art Chantry, Alan Fletcher, Tim Burton, Chip Kidd…
What do you hate?
The situation in Zimbabwe, most television ads, migraines, and people who confuse advertising and design. They are two very different disciplines.
Anything South African. And my new Mac.
Any personal mantras?
"If you can't solve a problem, it's because you're playing by the rules" - Paul Arden - and "Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill.