Marian Bantjes & Jessica Hische on becoming (and staying) successful

At Design Indaba Conference 2013, Marian Bantjes and Jessica Hische speak about being accused of “ripping each other off”.

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A Twitter conversation turned into a real-life conversation when Canadian typographer, designer and artist Marian Bantjes and United States graphic designer and illustrator Jessica Hische shared the stage at Design Indaba Conference 2013. One Tweeted to the other: “Hey, we could do an awesome collaboration together”. The other agreed.

In a dialogue presentation, the designers speak about their education, inspirations, clients and being accused of “ripping each other off”.

On the topic of education, Bantjes explains that she is a self-taught designer and often feels as though she missed out on not having a formal design education. “I regret not having a formal education but at the end of the day, education is what you make of it,” she says.

For Hische, education played a fundamental role in her design career. After studying at Tyler School of Art (at Temple Unversity in Philadelphia), she went on to learn further under a series of mentors, including famous graphic designer Louise Fili. “My whole career has been about mentorships,” she says.

Feeling as though their work overlaps in terms of things in history that they both believe to be amazing, the duo explain how many of their inspirations are similar.

For Hische, inspiration comes in the form of environments and being surrounded by people that have the right energy and enthusiasm. However, for Bantjes, being asked about what inspires her is a pet peeve. “I think the word inspiration is used in the wrong way,” she says. "When people ask me what my inspirations are I think they are referring to what influences arise in my work and what are my resource materials."

On the subject of success, both designers believe that it is not hard to become successful. The challenge is to stay successful.

Obsession is an important thing in becoming successful as a graphic designer or illustrator, says Bantjes.