Ethiopian designer Seminas Hadera reveals the country's identity through graphic design

Addis Ababa-based creative agency uses visual communication to shape an image of Ethiopia that is true to its culture.


“We are now in the position to say, this is our identity, this is what we look like," says Ethiopian branding and communications specialist Seminas Hadera. "It is not about the famine that happened 10 or 15 years ago or what BBC is currently talking about. We are more than that. We are actually even beyond that. We are very happy people.”

The power of perception is undebiable. The way we conjur images of countries we've never visted before is often shaped by the media. And even when we do cross borders in search of authentic experiences, we might walk with deeply engrained biases. 

For Hadera, visual communication can take back control of Ethiopia's narrative. He is the marketing director and co-founder of Addis Ababa-based creative agency Systron Advertising. He shares his agency’s outlook on Ethiopia’s very young branding sector and explains how communication technology has become an industry tool to redefine Ethiopia’s identity.

Working with some of Ethiopia’s most iconic brands gives Hadera and his team an in-depth understanding of the many nuances that define the country’s culture. Its diverse ethnicities, distinctive fashion, and everyday operating systems make up a culture that is different from the Ethiopia we see in the media.

By using graphic design and visual communication as an instrument, Hadera pulls from all these cultural characteristics to create a representation of Ethiopia that locals can be proud of.

Thanks to technological advancements, Hadera and his team are perfectly placed to portray a different image of Ethiopia. 

Watch the interview: