Design Indaba Magazine Cape Town, South Africa

DESIGN INDABA MAGAZINE “Wonderlust” issue cover — 2nd quarter 2010 —  89.25 x 11.19 in. (23.5 x 28.5 cm)

It was a great honor to when Ravi Naidoo invited me to speak at the 2010 Design Indaba Conference. Attended by over 3,000 and simulcast globally, this annual conference in Cape Town, South Africa plays host to a wide range of creative minds. It is the very height of fanciness. Speakers that year also included Michael Beirut, Alejandro Aravena, and Martha Stewart.

I was pretty excited to hang with Martha since I was certain that we could discuss my Monsters, and she’d immediately see that she needed to put them on one of her television shows. That was not to be. The moment I walked off the stage after having done my presentation, I could feel myself getting sick. (I’m not exaggerating. Literally as I was walking off stage. Just a system-wide shudder that bodes ill.) Goodbye to having long conversations with Martha, and also to any serious site seeing in majestic Africa. I did go on my little car-based photo safari after a few days cooped up in my hotel room, but that’s another story. (The best kind of story. A story with giraffes.)

Having said all that, my talk went well, and shortly thereafter, the Design Indaba folks asked me to design the cover of their beautiful design magazine, titled, wait for it… Design Indaba. I knew I wanted to feature a Monster. I had one in mind that I really liked, but I have a rule to never reuse a Monster. So I went about creating 10 to 15 new ones as cover contenders. When I need a Monster for a specific task I always have to do a bunch of drawings, then select among them. I’m conducting a casting call on paper. Made-to-order Monsters never turn out as well as the spontaneous ones. Well, this time a lot of great Monsters showed up, but none was right for the part. In the end, I broke my own rule and chose the Daily Monster I’d had in mind all along—DMP 23. Breaking my own rules makes me feel queasy, but in this case I had to choose the best drawing over the latest drawing.

I did make one important change: I turned up the edge of his mouth in Photoshop to make him look happy, not scared. In fact, he looks quite eager now. Which is fully appropriate given the age-restricted content of the magazine.


Not the cleanest curve on that upturned mouth—sloppy work, Bucher. Sould’ve adjusted the marker lines to match the new corner, too. I miss things. Very frustrating. Note to self: be more obsessive compulsive!

The theme of this particular issue of Design Indaba was “wonderlust,” which is a combination of “Wanderlust,” the German word for “strong desire to travel,” and “wonder,” the English word for “wonder.” All very clever. Essentially, this is the Design Indaba sex issue. X-rated. Full of naked people. You can see why the cover Monster is standing fully at attention. Would I say that this is a “dirty Monster?” They all are, a little bit. Whether they’re neurotic, or shy, or manic—you can tell that they all have very earthly concerns. And they’re ambiguous characters, who transcend gender. So it stands to reason that their interests are similarly unencumbered by labels. Some are clearly freaky. Just don’t tell the kids. As for the Design Indaba cover Monster? Well, he’s just happy that he’s about to get a good look at what’s waiting for him inside the magazine.

Which also included an 8-page feature on me and my work. You can read that article on the Design Indaba site. Or get your hands on a back issue, so you can see the beautifully designed layout by Richard Quintal and Niel Meiring.


Please note that I rendered the magazine title with the visible marker lines—a part of the Monsters aesthetic.
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