Hot label designers rewarded

ROTOCON CEO Michael Aengenvoort, Jimmy Libese, Prof Nalini Moodley-Diar (Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts & Design at TUT), Mpho Moema, Dr Herman Botes (HOD Visual Communication at TUT), and B Creative owner Banie Stafford.

To celebrate South Africa’s rising young stars in the wine industry, leading print technology supplier ROTOCON announced the winners of its wine label design competition alongside the recipients of the WineLand ROTOCON 30 Under 30 Awards.

ROTOCON, in partnership with Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), launched a wine label design competition earlier this year. The competition was open to undergraduate students in the department of visual communication at TUT’s faculty of arts and design. The winners were recognised at the WineLand ROTOCON 30 Under 30 Awards, held at Franschhoek wine estate Leopard’s Leap in June.

The aim of the competition was to broaden the recognition of young movers and shakers in the wine industry beyond winemakers and viticulturists, and acknowledge the talents of young people operating in various other sectors of the value chain, including designers.

Since its establishment in South Africa in 2008, ROTOCON has embarked on a series of initiatives dedicated to enhancing the skills and capabilities of the country’s young workforce, something the group’s CEO Michael Aengenvoort is fiercely passionate about. “Despite the challenges that the youth of this beautiful country are facing, there’s incredible potential that can be unlocked,” he says. “We’re committed to the development and mentorship of the young leaders of tomorrow. We look forward to seeing how they’ll apply and further refine their skills in various industries, and hope that these awards will inspire them to go above and beyond.” Michael is confident competitions such as these enhance the employability and productivity of people, but also contribute to the growth and competitiveness of businesses and industries in South Africa.

The wine label design competition was spearheaded by Dr Herman Botes, head of TUT’s department of visual communication, and Banie Stafford, a former design student at TUT and owner of marketing agency B Creative. The competition challenged undergraduates to develop innovative, cutting-edge wine label designs that factored in contemporary printing processes and finishing, including foils, varnishes, die-cuts and embossing.

The competition encouraged students to find value not only in what they were doing, but what they were capable of doing, integrated communication design programme lecturer Schalk van Staden says. “The students were hugely enthusiastic about the competition,” he says. “It allowed them to think creatively and logically about a research-driven design project.”

The planning of the ROTOCON-TUT partnership and competition was well organised and structured right from the start, Herman says. “A large part of the success of the project was generated during the planning stages. We met last year to put everything in place. It was integrated into our curriculum from the beginning of the year. For any company that wishes to collaborate with a tertiary institution such as TUT, the project must be planned a year in advance. It can’t be a quick fix or afterthought. A lot of time and planning needs to go into it. We can give Banie a great deal of credit for that.”

The competition encouraged innovative thinking among students, programme coordinator and part-time lecturer Mohammed Jogie says. “This project allowed us to push innovation in the thought and design process, and creative output. Another valuable lesson for the students was the real-world exposure they got. Except for a generous deadline, they saw how a studio runs. They also got a sense of how you treat and present to a client, along with all the other useful things you learn working in the field.”

As with any partnership, it’s critical that it must be a mutually beneficial work relationship, Herman says. “It shouldn’t be a situation where one party benefits more than the other,” he says. “We all got what we wanted out of the project and it presented our students with valuable real-world learning opportunities.”

A tertiary institution in Pretoria was approached for the competition instead of one closer to the Cape Winelands, because the idea was to give the project a national footprint, Banie says. “If you consider that most of these students have never set foot outside of Gauteng, let alone in the Cape Winelands, I was blown away by the research-driven designs that they implemented and presented. It was truly phenomenal.”

Herman agrees. “These students are not wine consumers at all and have no experience of the wine industry,” he says. “The competition took them out of their comfort zones and exposed them to a different world. The designs really surprised me and it was clear the students’ ideas came from a fresh, unbiased perspective.”

Inspired students

ROTOCON CEO Michael Aengenvoort, overall winner Mpho Moema, and ROTOCON Director Patrick Aengenvoort.

Among the 30 design students who participated in the competition, two winners emerged. Jimmy Libese (25), a fourth-year student, was named runner-up and walked off with R15 000. After much deliberation, third-year student Mpho Moema (20) was named winner, scooping a cash prize of R30 000. Both life-changing prizes were courtesy of ROTOCON.

The two winners were flown to Cape Town and presented with a certificate at the WineLand ROTOCON 30 Under 30 Awards luncheon. Their winning label designs were printed on a press with auxiliary technologies, all represented by ROTOCON, and applied to wine bottles for presentation at the awards. The labels were printed by RAM Labels in Cape Town. The winning duo got a taste of the beauty of the Cape Winelands at Leopard’s Leap wine estate in Franschhoek while networking and mingling with the 30 Under 30 award winners. Neither of them has ever visited the Western Cape.

Mpho was over the moon upon hearing she won the grand prize. “I’m proud of myself,” she says. “It’s a great achievement and solidifies the path I want to take with my design career. I’m ecstatic about the win and it gives me a lot of confidence in my ability as a designer.” Her dream is to open her own studio where creatives can collaborate on distinct African designs.

Her winning design, inspired by the glorious Cape Winelands scenery, depicts vineyards with the iconic Table Mountain in the background using dots, which gives the impression of viewing the scene from a distance. “The dots represent stars, as the design was inspired by a scene of the landscape under a starry sky,” she says. “When looking at the dots from afar, it gives the illusion of a subtle glimmer.”

ROTOCON CEO Michael Aengenvoort, second runner-up Jimmy Libese, and ROTOCON Director Patrick Aengenvoort.

Being chosen as runner-up came as a surprise as initially only one winner would’ve been chosen, Jimmy says. But the judges were so impressed with his entry that they announced a second prize, shelling out an additional R15 000 for the runner-up. His design was inspired by animals – particularly baboons – stealing grapes from vineyards. He describes his design as whimsical and playful, and targeted at younger, more adventurous consumers seeking a fun and unique wine-drinking experience. It also helps to create a positive emotional connection between the brand and its consumers. “When I heard that I’d won, I felt happy, special, proud and confident,” he says. “This award has instilled a renewed confidence in my design skills and a self-belief that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.”

Hats off to ROTOCON for sponsoring this competition. Through this rewarding partnership with TUT, it has once again succeeded in uplifting young talent in South Africa, doing its bit for skills development and putting its mantra of #bringingpeopletogether into practice. ROTOCON’s efforts have undoubtedly made a positive impact on the local design industry.


Mpho Moema's label design-back
Mpho Moema’s label design-back
Mpho Moema's label design-front
Mpho Moema’s label design-front










Jimmy Libese's label design
Jimmy Libese’s label design







Caption (featured image):

ROTOCON CEO Michael Aengenvoort, Jimmy Libese, Prof Nalini Moodley-Diar (Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts & Design at TUT), Mpho Moema, Dr Herman Botes (HOD Visual Communication at TUT), and B Creative owner Banie Stafford.

PDF of article»» as featured in WineLand Magazine

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