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  • Debbie Smit

    Debbie Smit

    writing | copy editing | design


    The task of turning a manuscript into a book is not without its challenges. Some manuscripts – usually those that have been nurtured by the careful hand of an editor – need only a nudge to settle their words into the margins of the pages. Others kick and scream, steadfastly refusing to be contained. With these I do battle: chide the editor ("Cut the copy, goddammit!"), or, in the absence of a greater power (project manager/editor/someone who will respond to your emails), torture and twist the words myself into some semblance of bookhood.

    Although my job may not seem particularly exciting (to be honest, at times it is deadly dull), there's a certain satisfaction when wearing my copy-editor hat, in whittling away at words to make them clearer. There's also the sheer terror (and relief) of sending a book to print (some call this "putting it to bed"; those in the know will tell you that these bookchildren don't drop off that easily and are likely to give you sleepless nights: Did I convert all the images to CMYK? Why didn't I check the proofs again?). And although I would love to call myself a writer, doing it well is exhausting and seldom as rewarding as planting a vegetable patch.

    – May 2015
    You can read some of Debbie's articles here...

  • Francois Smit

    Francois Smit

    design | illustration | video


    Francois Smit was born and grew up in Namaqualand.

    Between 1986 and 1988 he studied Fine Art (Painting), was employed as a graphic journalist and illustrator by The Sunday Star – the first digitally-produced paper in South Africa – in 1992, and later by The Star.

    In 1995 he was seconded to work on the launch of the Sunday Independent. He illustrated the weekly "Dispatches" cover story, from the newspaper's launch in 1996 until April 2010. During this time he produced around 800 artworks for the paper. Some of the illustrations were shown at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg in 2006 at an exhibition conceived as a celebration of the close relationship between newspaper and artist. Many of the works have become part of South Africa's visual discourse. Vivian van der Merwe, his former teacher and mentor, and curator of the exhibition, says Smit is known for his "formidable imagination, skill and artistic rigour, and especially for his idiosyncratic pathos (which) somehow manages to balance on that almost impossible edge between sharp conceptual narrative and beautiful visual forms." Critic Mary Corrigall has likened Smit to a cunning journalist with "a talent for capturing the essence of a story and building it into a fascinating and absorbing product".

    In 1996, Smit established design company Orrel & Wishbein and in 2002, QUBA Design and Motion, incorporating video production.

    He has worked on many magazines; Enjin has won several Pica awards, including Best Overall Design. He has illustrated for several publications, including Millennium, Living Africa, the Rhodes Journalism Review and was commissioned to illustrate the cover of Art South Africa. He worked with photographer David Goldblatt on the design of his book, Particulars, which won first prize at the photographic festival in Arles, France in 2005.

    He works in Johannesburg as designer, illustrator, artist, website and electronic publisher and video maker for local and international clients.

    Read reviews about Francois' work and exhibition here...

  • Who we are:

    We share a love for good design and we like getting it right. We make logos, websites, books and videos and lots of other stuff. We are happiest when you love our work and tell us we are great. We are getting better all the time.

    How we work:

    We like to make sure we are on the same page as the people we are working for, and we'll go the extra mile to get your project to you on time. That's why we're available almost always. And we'll pull an all-nighter if that's what it takes.