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Business of Design speaker Q&A: Jeremy Stewart

Business of Design (BoD) is back with a speaker lineup of note. The two-day seminar is held annually in Cape Town and Johannesburg during October and doesn't just focus on design in itself but has a much broader vision for the field in all areas of business. Delegates include everyone from business owners and creative entrepreneurs to retailers, marketing and brand executives, trend analysts, design students and other employees from various industries.

New to the conference is 'Open Sessions', a platform for delegates to ask the BoD founders (Trevyn and Julian McGowan of The Guild Group, and Laurence Brick and Cathy O’Clery of 100% Design South Africa and Platform Creative Agency) as well as fellow delegates any questions they may have, and together overcome any barriers to growth and challenge new ways of doing business.

Jeremy Stewart
I asked Jeremy Stewart, founder and executive director of Source IBA, what he loves most about being in the ‘business of design’ and to let us in on what he’ll be sharing during his Cape Town session.

BizcommunityWhy are you excited for Business of Design this year?
I don’t really get excited about seminars.

BizcommunityComment on the importance of events such as this that recognise the role design plays in (and the impact it can have on) various industries?

Events are important as long as they are successful and in this case if they can promote the importance and value of design outside of pure aesthetics. It’s great that like-minded design-type people do this together, but the real success will be if there is attendance from clients and funders. Good design enhances your life.

BizcommunityComment on the current state of design in South Africa (and internationally).

Outside of the quality of built architecture in Cape Town, the level of design in South Africa has generally improved. In my opinion, everything follows music, fashion and the arts in general, and South African designers and artists are making an impact both locally and internationally, and this is now carrying over into the commercial design sector. The problem with architecture in Cape Town is a bit of a conundrum as we have an abundance of talented architects and firms here in the mother city, so I am not sure if the problem rests with the developers or the lack of aesthetic control from the city itself.

BizcommunityWhat is your/your company’s involvement in/contribution to the local design scene?

We regard our ‘local design scene’ as the continent of Africa, where our mission is to promote design that is relevant and reflects the locale. We try as much as possible to work with other local designers and artists to ensure this happens. Our contribution is to coax local product and designers out of the ‘craft’ sector and into the commercial sector. This is often difficult due to a lack of a well-established manufacturing sector that can produce quality and volumes at competitive prices.

BizcommunityWhat is the title/subject of your talk and/or what are you going to be sharing?

I am talking about the ‘art of presentation’, which I consider to be one of my weaknesses.

BizcommunityWhat’s the key takeout?

Whatever you do, do it with passion.

The Cape Town version takes place 11-12 October, followed by Johannesburg on 18-19 October, and our readers qualify for a R450 discount. To take up this offer, email with ‘Bizcommunity’ as the subject. In the meantime, follow #BODCT and/or #BODJHB for more pre-event speaker interviews over the next couple of weeks to get your creative juices flowing.

About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Marketing & Media Editor at She is also a contributing writer.