Jana Hamman + Koos Groenewald

Designers, Jana+Koos

Expect the unexpected. Jana Hamman and Koos Groenewald are redefining creative execution through their brand Jana + Koos that has been setting the local and international scene alight with their off-beat work.

They produce advertising, but don’t. They create designs and campaigns, but don’t. “We’ve fought hard to retain our own identity and to not be typecast in the creative industry,” explains Hamman. “We have our own way of doing creative work and seem to be getting work all the time.”

The duo paid their dues in the conventional world of advertising after studying information design at the University of Pretoria and working at a number of big-name agencies.

The normality of it all wore off four years ago when they established Jana + Koos and they never looked back.

Their unconventional take on the execution of projects is based on a belief that they start with the preferred outcome rather than the medium. This has resulted in them taking on corporate identity design, linked to campaign development and brand engagement projects including concept spaces, interior design projects, wayfinding systems, fashion ranges, film and music videos.

Their creative streak runs deep, not only through their paid-for work, but especially in their side and personal projects. An example of this is the exhibition they undertook in New York in June this year at the invitation of the Foreign Neighbours initiative. This mixed media photography, graphic design, digital prints, installation and projection art exhibition titled City of Gold Diggers explores their love (and hate) relationship with Johannesburg.

The duo say they feel blessed to be able to do what they love and to make a business out of this passion.

While they have established a firm reputation in the industry, they are driven more by the act of creation than the financial rewards this brings. Somehow they make it happen, which surprises even them. — Johann Barnard