Take a bow, Graphic Design, you have made us proud – again

Excellence seems to follow the Graphic Design subject group at the North-West University (NWU), which has a well-deserved reputation for walking off with the top honours in national and international competitions.

They are continuing this winning streak with top positions in the recently released Loeries official rankings for Africa and the Middle East. These rankings have placed the NWU among the top four educational institutions for 2023.

The NWU Graphic Design subject group has also earned a Number 1 ranking in the category for top student for Tamara Kirsten and a Number 2 ranking in the category for top lecturer for lecturer Marina Herbst. Another great achievement is alumnus Izabel Barkhuizen receiving a Number 13 ranking among illustrators in the industry.

Prof Dumi Moyo, executive dean of the Faculty of Humanities, says Graphic Design is one of the faculty’s flagship programmes.

“I am very proud every year when our staff and students receive top recognition at the prestigious Loeries. The latest rankings and awards achieved by our staff and students clearly demonstrate our excellence and leadership in the field, and the immense contribution we make to the development of world-class talent in the area of brand communication.”

Achievement is a team effort

“As a subject group we are very happy to see the NWU, our students and lecturers once again featuring in the prestigious rankings, which were published on 30 January. Being ranked fourth overall in the category for top educational institutions shows the NWU’s distinction in the field,” says Marina.

“The effort, skills and courage of our lecturers and students truly pay off when we are internationally recognised as a degree programme that strives for quality.” She says they resolutely train students to be the best they possibly can be. “It is tremendously satisfying to know that our alumni are making waves in the industry, and that they hold NWU Graphic Design’s name high in their careers.”

It is very fulfilling and rewarding for Marina to be ranked at Number 2 in the lecturer section. “It gives me confidence to continue with the amazing work we are doing with our students. Every single one of our lecturers has ensured the success of our students – they have all worked very hard on the students’ journey.”

Student is recognised for excellence

Graduate Tamara Kirsten says being acknowledged like this is very satisfying. “It is a wonderful feeling and I am truly grateful towards the Loeries for providing us with such a platform. It is wonderful exposure to the industry, especially if you are just starting your career. The lecturers at Graphic Design are absolutely wonderful. Not only do they encourage us to participate in the Loeries, but also guide us every step of the way.”

Being ranked first in the student section builds further on Tamara’s achievements at the awards. She won a Gold Loerie Award in the category for Design for Logo and Identity Programmes in the student

section, as well as a Craft Certificate for Illustration during the annual Loerie Awards. This was for her project for the logo design and identity programme for South African National Parks (SANParks).

Alumnus shines in industry

Izabel worked on Inverroche’s Bee&Bee project (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lX3BJah0Qs). “The project did very well at the Loeries, and also internationally at Cannes, among other events. This led to my being included in the list of illustrators. I had the privilege to work on the illustrations that formed part of the packaging.”

Receiving such a high ranking internationally is “unreal”, she says. “I have learned to have more confidence in my own talent. I realise that it carries weight and can be developed further. I know that I must dream even bigger.”

Dreaming big has already paid off for her. In the past five years since graduating from the NWU, Izabel has raked in an impressive number of awards. These include the following:

2023 | Loeries: Young Titans Winner – first place

2023 | Loeries Young Creative Award – finalist

2023 | ADC Awards: Designer Ranking – second place

2023 | Loeries: Packaging Design (Bee&Bee Inverroche) – gold

2023 | Loeries: Brand Identity & Collateral Design (Pantry by Marble) – finalist

2023 | Loeries: Design Mixed Media Campaign (Pantry by Marble) – finalist

2023 | ADC Awards: Design for Good/Packaging Design (Bee&Bee) – gold cube

2023 | Creative Circle: Brand Identity and Collateral Design (Pantry by Marble) – third

2022 | Loeries: Brand Identity Programme (Zioux by Marble) – bronze

2022 | Loeries: Design Mixed-Media Campaign (Zioux by Marble) – silver

2021 | Loeries: Packaging Design (Thirst Gin & Tonic Range) – bronze

2021 | Loeries: Brand Identity Programme – finalist

Rankings measure creative innovation

According to the Loeries official rankings report, it has been independently measuring the most innovative brands in the brand communication space since 2010. The report shows the results for three consecutive years at a time, painting a clear picture of those who deliver creative innovation over a sustained period.

“These rankings can be used to grow our industry and enable us to better serve the nearly two billion consumers in over 70 countries across our region,” they say.

The rankings are calculated through a system where points are given for awards received at the annual Loerie Awards, and for brands, campaigns, companies, individuals, agencies and educational institutions.


Marina Herbst


Tamara Kirsten


Izabel Barkhuizen

Submitted on Wed, 02/14/2024 - 08:39