As we sit down (via email) with Mpumelelo Macu, the man of the moment. The guy that created the now Thesis logo & who will be taking over our IG page tomorrow.
Thesis Lifestyle : Who is Mpumelelo Macu? (By day Mpumelelo Macu is? By Night MM is?)
Mpumelelo Macu: A father, husband, photographer, designer and part-time human. Hahaha .Day and night that’s who I am. I grew up in the streets of Soweto from Pimville to Orlando to Ndofaya and Mofolo where I found you guys. Everywhere I’ve been, is all a part of who I am.
TL: Graphic Design why? it’s a field where not a lot of black people get into. (Why the arts and not chemistry?)
MM: I didn’t know what Graphic design was until had to go to college. Art has always been a part of my everyday. Thanks to my uncle who taught me how to draw from a very young age. My youngling days weere full of paper and a shit load of pencils. Started doing graffiti with my brothers EDS Crew. Steaz, Era (The Mukheli Brothers), Weak and Lehlo.
When my mom asked me what I wanted to be, I just wanted to be an artist and as they all say that art doesn’t pay. So I wanted to make money off my graffiti and discovered graphic design. Long story short, the arts drive me...I could never do anything else.
TL: Where would you rate SA in its design, art and culture in the eye of a graphic designer like yourself?
MM: I wouldn’t really rate / compare us to anything else. There might be a lot of influence from abroad but we have our own thing happening here. With such a rich culture and history, we are own our own path.
TL: How would you describe your approach to design? (Approach to life in relation to design?)
MM: Design is everything and everything is designed. From the way you look to that meal you eat. that’s how design as a profession and my life intertwine. On a professional level, I’ve always been fond of spark or directing other peoples’ ideas to another level. When I see potential in something or I’m passionate about that thing, I want to make it better.
TL: What you tell your 18 year old self?
MM: Always be prepared. Stay humble and make the most of what you have. Give thanks, always.
TL: Who or what has been the biggest influence when it comes to 1. The way you dress 2. The style of design 3. Life in general
MM: With regards to how I dress, weirdly skaters influence how I dress. But its been a mixture of things. I go through a lot of changes. I like clean, minimalistic stuff from clothing to the way I design. Daniel Ting Chong and Sindiso Nyoni are the guys that influence my design work. I’ve been watching this dudes for a while now. And most importantly my family, they are my biggest influence and inspiration… If I make them proud no one else matters. Done
TL: Has anyone/ any project or brief ever challenged your design ethics and beliefs?
MM: This happens all the time. There’s always someone trying to get you to do something that’s not part of your aesthetics.
TL: The Thesis Logo, what was the design process? And not just the programs but the concept behind it.
MM: This is one of the example of something I was passionate about and I wanted to make it better. I had been designing a lot of the Thesis event flyers and I do get pissed off because the old logo available as a jpg with a white background. So I spend one evening trying to trace this thing and it didn’t really make sense. It had an element that was a trend in design and that trend died. (Those 2 lines that looked like dripping paint.) it was abit dated. Fast forward, I was looking at it and though hey, creating a new logo would be dope; I mean I knew the brand, interacted with it all the time. It was a part of me, in a way. So I looked back to where the brand was from and worked with that. Oh I also looked at brand that the people where wearing… Camper and Levi’s to be exact. If you look closely, you’ll see the influence from those two brand. Overall I wanted to created something that would look as “premium” as those brands.
To add to my story, the 5 roses in Mofolo had just burnt down and the “rainbow” at the top of the logo pay respect to that historic place where all our old folks use to visit for their concerts and all those nice things.
So yeah, that’s a mouthful but that said Thesis Lifestyle to me. And now I smile when I see people wearing it on their heads...sidebar:Oh those bucket hats changed the game. Hahaha.
TL: Thesis to you is? In three words
MM: We are thesis // Soweto’s beautiful future.
TL:From your personal experience with Thesis as a brand and the gents behind it, what can you tell that people don’t already know?
MM: Look man, Wireless G and Ngamla. Are the most legit fellas I know. If there is anyone who cant see the amount of drive and passion these fellas have then hey man, thesis might as well shut down. The brains, the oil and the future of the brand. They know how to work with the right people as well. I love working with the guys and maybe something bigger is just around the corner.