This month, PADI invites you to

Explore Design, Naija Style

Africa’s powerhouse is the leading economic figure on the continent with over 250 different ethnic groups, speaking over 500 languages. Thanks to significant activity in the world’s top industries, Nigeria is regularly projected to be one of the most populous and prosperous countries on the planet by 2050, with an astounding rate of urbanisation and consumption guaranteed to fuel the Design Economy for decades to come.












With government-sponsored initiatives like tech/startup hub YabaCon Valley (aka Yaba Right) near Lagos, Design has been systematically integrated into both manufacturing and the services industries, tapping into western and local traditions for aesthetic inspiration and a new visual language.

It is noteworthy that the burgeoning Design Community is largely self-trained, and undergirded by a tight-knit network of freelancers, small studios and online Design entrepreneurs exchanging tips and ideas on branding, design production, client management and the business of design.

Take a look below, see what these Designers have to say about their
work and experiences!

Creative Icon OBK Studios is smack dab in the middle of Yaba, the Technology hub nestled in suburbs of Lagos, and home to some of Africa’s hottest startups. Kanso Ogbolu, Creative Director of OBK Studios, gave PADI a virtual tour of the studio’s portfolio in Motion Design, Illustration, Brand development, Content Creation, Visual Effects and Film. “We’ve worked with the likes of uLesson, Zero Degrees, DSTV, Gokada... I really can’t point out a preferred client”, says Ogbolu, “we love them all!” OBK is particularly proud of their partnership with uLesson, working on their corporate promos and videos. On uLesson projects, the studio has been given quite a bit of creative license, sometimes challenging, but always an experience in growth, “it was tough, but we conquered!” What’s the source of OBK’s inspiration? Why, the internet, of course! “We love its vast landscape of ideas and endless possibilities”. As for what makes Nigerian Design unique, “it’s hard to explain, but our dedication is so palpable, you can truly feel it. You can literally touch the passion and the sweat we Nigerian creatives put into our work, it’s so dynamic,” muses Ogbolu. As with many creative project managers in Naija, Ogbolu did not start out with formal training in Design, but he is familiar with up-and-coming institutions that focus on developing skills in Visual Effects, 2D and 3D animation like the Geneza School of Design, Orange VFX, as well as workshops offered by SPOOF Animation. From his perspective, the Animation community is fairly informal, e.g., Animation Nigeria (@animationng on instagram) currently lives and thrives on WhatsApp.


Kanso Ogbolu

Located in Onipanu, Lagos, Printivo is a web to print company that touches the entire spectrum of design, including branding, product design, and graphic design.


Printivo considers itself “design-centric” which means the creative team has no difficulty in selling the importance and business value of design to all departments. “We understand that design plays a core fundamental role in how we scale, make sales and serve customers. Another cool thing about Printivo gives the entire client staff an in-depth understanding of the company, our processes, price points for products and everything in between,” says Osamudiamen Imasuen, a Product Designer at Printivo. “We have delivered value to over 20,000 clients/customers. We love and value each and everyone of them. They include Google, Microsoft, Uber, Samsung,, Iroko TV, British Council and Sterling Bank PLC.”


Imasuen’s inspiration includes Behance and Youtube, “I am especially fond of Japanese Design. I also believe in research, e.g., if my project involves tailors, my research includes talking to people in the fashion industry, and local tailors.”


Imasuen is particularly concerned about Social Design. “Police brutality is a problem around the world. Of course it can't be solved by an app, however a platform I developed addresses a related problem: letting those who love you know when you being harassed or carried away by the police. In Nigeria, we have the problem of victim-profiling. So this app plays a critical role.” Link to the Beeep Project.


“Honestly, I do not know what Nigeria’s Design culture is, but we do exhibit a lot of diversity in expression and consumer behaviour. A lot of our resources for learning comes from the western world, which influences how we create. I have met a few individuals who are looking to adapt the fundamentals of branding to the Nigerian environment and culture, or just to create fun projects. In that sense, I particularly enjoy the work of Da Design studio."


Design schools are not “thing” in Nigeria. Imasuen feels that the courses offered by shops like Stutern and Geneza have produced “pretty decent designers so far”, potentially the forerunners to formal Design Education in Nigeria. Right now, his community revolves around the Friends of Figma, (he is an advocate for FOF Kaduna) which has over 1,500 members in Nigeria. “It’s been invaluable in sharing resources and helping newbies in the field grow.” His work with Asa Coterie involves individuals from diverse careers and cultural backgrounds in Nigeria (and by extension Africa) focussed on driving the conversations on the Business of Design.


Printivo - Product Designer

Mudia Imasuen

Juliet Godwin aka Nwanyanwu Chiemerie (juicyg94) studies Multimedia and Animation at Aptech Computer Education located at the Lagos Center, Nigeria. The advanced diploma program is a gateway to a BA at Middlesex University, London. “The program has helped me broadened my knowledge and experience in several areas of creative studies including illustration and graphics design, motion graphics and animation, photography, among others.”


According to JuicyG94, her ability to handle creative tasks and bring her imaginations and those of her clients to life is one of the “happiest, challenging and inspiring things”. In a male-dominated industry, Juliet is proud of her work that allows her not only to stand out, but inspire others, and mentor several younger female creatives.


To date, JuicyG94’s calling card is the Zutaba an E-Commerce website that sells and promotes Made in Aba products. Other projects include children books. “Nature and African culture (especially Igbo culture) inspires my paintings and some of my illustrations.” says JuicyG94, “I try to depict the untold or rarely told Afro cultures in some of my personal works.”


“Nigerian Design is unique in the sense that it incorporates the rich/colorful culture and diversity of the Nigerian people. Nigeria contributes enormously to African design, employing colorful and tasteful urban designs as could be seen in branding, fashion and other designs.”


As a member of NAIJA GRAPHIC DESIGNERS (NGD) group, JuicyG94 is one of the administrators managing a community of 77,000, and supervises work assignments, ideas, tutorials, jobs and design competitions to help and inspire talented and creatives across the continent.


juicyg94 - Illustrator


eikon grae creates strategic brand and design solutions that help clients make sense and make sales. The agency works on brand identity, advertising and marketing collateral, web design as welll as (UI and UX).


According to Gidyon Thompson, co-founder and Lead Brand Strategist, Eikon Grae is built around the Ockhams Razor philosophy. Key clients include Gokada, ABiT Network, Brisk Capital Limited, Akwa Ibom State, Bidhar


Gidyon’s inspiration is varied: books, movies, travel, and sometimes “just observing people and trends.” In 2018, Gidyon developed a model called the Logo Abstraction and Extension framework for extending visual identity assets into full communication collateral. This model was applied to the book branding project of JJ Omojuwa, a globally celebrated thought leader on digital communication and public issues expert. It was also applied to the book branding project of Afolabi Imoukhuede, Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Job Creation. Another exciting project has been planning, coordinating and launching the first bitcoin conference in Dubai.


“Nigerian designers have perfected the art of improvisation by braving the harsh realities of the society with a determination to succeed. Most designers in Nigeria struggle to afford subscription to design resources like stock photos and fonts, but we’ve found a way to create our own resources.”


Gidyeon trained at Orange Academy BSchool (strategy and design thinking) and is a member of Brief Faculty, a platform for marketing communication experts.


Gidyon Thompson

A brand designer, Micah Olorunsogo has helped businesses, individuals and organisations create brand essentials from logo to marketing brand assets. “In short, I create the visual brand language and maintain its presence.”


Micah’s clients include the Fate Foundation, Paga, GTBank, Jumia. “I am inspired by everything God has created and normal daily life. I usually seek to be metaphoric in my approach. I work on diverse projects and the depth of execution varies from project to project.”


What makes Naija design unique? “I can't say precisely... We are heavily influenced by western culture. Our designs reflect American pop culture mostly. However, there are few designers who are trying to embed Nigerian/African identity in their design like Karo Akpokiere:


According to Micah, there are a handful of upcoming design schools in Nigeria. A graduate of the University of Lagos' Creative Arts with a major in graphic design and a focus on hand skills, he had to train himself to become proficient in design software, and has observed that a good number of designers rely on online resources for training. Micah is active with DESIGN NIGERIA, a member of PADI.


Brand/Packaging designer

Micah Olorunsogo

Victor Jimmy works on Brand Development and Communication. “We create digital products and campaigns, with an emphasis on spatial branding and brand activation.


Graewox Clients include Brisk Capital Limited, Reyvin Digital, Cultivate Africa and 74 Creatives
To Victor, design inspiration can come from anywhere, “from the arrangement of petals on a flower to the fortuitous way the books end up on your shelf. As creatives, we have our go-to places we first turn to when we need a bit of creative inspiration. And often, the best sources of inspiration are the plethora of great designers out there across the industry.”


When it comes to Nigeria’s “Brand”, Jimmy is thoughtful: “from email scams to oil spills and charlatan Pentecostal preachers, it's clear that Nigeria has something of an image problem. While the outside world's perception of Africa's most populous country hasn't always been overwhelmingly positive, there's plenty more to this nation than its unsavory associations.”


What makes Naija design unique? “For designers in Nigeria, given our background, there’s this drive to capture minds as quickly as possible in a crowded space. Our uniqueness is in our ability to create outstanding visuals and communicate them accordingly.”


Jimmy’s follows the following Design Schools: Orange Academy, Ellae Creative, O2 Academy

Graewox - Senior Designer

Victor Jimmy

Studio-Lani creates sculptural lighting and furniture pieces that express an organic rhythm and a sense of visual harmony. Lani Adeoye uses design as a tool for mediation; fusing tradition and modernity, merging Art, Craft & Design; whilst expressing intangible cultural concepts. Studio-Lani’s pieces have been featured i n Architectural Digest, Design Milk, Elle Decor, Vogue, Design  ndaba and Dwell amongst other publications. “Studio-Lani is on a journey to redefine heritage whilst creating pieces today for your tomorrow,” says Lani Adeoye, Creative Director and Founder.


As a Design Consultant, Lani has worked on projects for Youtube, Bacchus, NetGear & Good Sense NYC. Driven by conceptual curiosity, handmade craftsmanship and cultural preservation, her pieces celebrate West African elegance with a contemporary sensibility.


Studio-Lani - Founder & Creative Director

Lani Adeoye

Looking for more?
Check out the PADI Naija Design Directory,
our shortlist of creative agencies making
a difference in the local economy.

  1. Orange Culture | Fashion Design
  2. Anthill | Animation & Video Production
  3. Da Studio | Identity Design
  4. Yox Novero | Branding
  5. Yemi Fetch |  Typography
  6. Ekeade Adetunji |  Design Educator
  7. Osaze Amaduson | Illustrator