The twists and turns of Deguzman, emperor of graphic designs

Life, they say, is a journey whose thrills are not in the destination but the travel. This journey of life, they also say, begins at 40.

Deguzman: Life begins at 40

For one of Malawi’s well known personalities, the journey of his life has just began and it has been a roller-coaster.

The late 90s and the dawn of the 21st century fine tuned the history of graphic designing and the name Deguzman Kaminjolo stands out in the league.

He is undisputedly a man who transformed the landscape of the art of graphic designing, a man who notably introduced bylines for graphic designs.

Pulling a spice to his name was the –once-upon-a-time  ‘Face to face’ page in the Malawi News whose gravity was the stylish picture graphic layouts.

A decade plus years down the line, every jim and jack who plays with pictures on a computer claims to be a graphic designer overlooking the fact that graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies and humors.

Probably  because graphic design is acclaimed for its trait of being an attractive and enjoyable field.

“I belong to the generation which revolutionalised graphic designing so it will be hard for me to recall anyone who I can recall as being my idol, as I and a few others are pacesetters for modern era graphic designing which has been the foundation of the craze we are seeing today,” said Deguzman.

Kaminjolo attributed his inspiration to big names in domestic media the likes of Charles Simango, late Mackson Kazombo, Mbumba Achutan and Alfred Mtonga.

He said the mentioned people were flexible enough to accommodate overhaul changes of newspaper layouts.

“Let me say here without fear of contradiction that for a longtime, newspaper layouts was routine predictable and boring.

“These people made the transformation possible for layouts and general presentation, from colour, entertainment magazine supplements to actual manipulation of pictures on sports and other leisure pages,” he elaborated.

He recalls to have been at Blantyre Newspapers when Simango quizzed him if it was possible to handle newspaper layout like The Sun and  The Mirror of the UK.

“I jokingly answered designers of those publications go for special training and immediately I was sent to South Africa Printing College for an intensive training in desktop publishing,” said Kaminjolo, adding that a pullout entertainment supplement, the Weekender, was launched in the Malawi News upon his return

According to Deguzman, he became so obsessed with graphic designing to

outshine his ‘silent competitor’ German trained Tofara Dikani of the Nation Publications who was flexing his graphic design muscles via NPLs Society.

“I became so passionate and I always wanted to outshine Tofara’s designs. Every Saturday I would rush to see his work, and plot how to beat him in the next issue. Ofcourse  we could laugh at it every time we met,” he said,  highlighting that it is Times Group  and NPL that stimulated life into graphics designing in the country.

He added: “I was lucky to have been mentored by people who nurtured a persons strengths and not capitalising on your shortfalls. [Times Group]  gave me the much needed launch pad for my career, and equipped me with training and the much needed experience to be noticed by Nation Publications who only work with the best that there is!”

This far, Kaminjolo boasts of enormous opportunities and trust that great companies like BNL (now Times Group) and NPL had accorded him.

“Every big project as far as publications are concerned has my signature or at least a major input on it,” he touted.

He however bemoaned the tendency of paying low perks to graphic designers locally saying elsewhere, like in South Africa, graphic designers are only rivaled by lawyers and accountants.

Deguzman further acknowledged the rise and rise of new names in graphic designing but emphasized that quality champions the art.

“There are good designers and there are also bad designers who are making it tough for the good designers to survive as they are selling their services at ridiculously low prices.

“You have marketers who are only interested in saving and not buy quality and the result is the clutter we see daily in magazine billboards and even newspapers. But there has also come a new breed of youthful naturals who are making it hard for old-timers like myself to keep the pace with competition.”

Deguzman, who is now a Director for FD Communications, formerly ZK Advertising, says the corporate world offers good money but he misses the excitement of working for newspapers.

True to a 2014 interview I had with him,  Deguzman hinted on his future plans as in the following quote by then.

“I am a wannabe businessman. Am into food, cosmetics and hardware.

“I don’t want to be staring at my Mac doing concepts or layouts. This work become exciting when you still take it as a challenge, I don’t find it challenging anymore as it has become so routine that I have lost the passion,” said Kaminjolo who is fondly known as Adzigude by his peers.

He was also an aspiring TV executive producer and by then plans were underway with the partnership of Frank Kapesa and Andrew Chikusa to establish a school.

‘Adzigude’ then advised those in the industry and do their best and uphold quality if the industry is to grow in Malawi.

“Growth comes from quality. Strive to do the best,” he concluded.

Deguzman Kaminjolo, a well known slick-and- care social commentator married to Khumbo, father to Stuart and Evelyn, just turned 40 and he hails from Zomba District.

Happy 40th one of Malawi’s legend of  graphics designing as he begins a journey of life.

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2 years ago

keep it up and encourage the young ones who have inborn talent but lack proper guidance

2 years ago

Koma chamba akuluwa

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