In Conversation with Fungi Dube

Fungi Dube

Fungi Dube is a scientist by training and a creative solopreneur by calling, I am a brand and visual identity graphic designer based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Other than that, I am also quite happy to identify as a sunflower enthusiast.

How did Fungi Dube Graphics come to be? 

I have always had a creative inclination from an early age. Growing up, I always took it upon myself to handmake and draw cards for special events amongst family members like birthdays. After I graduated from university, I had a 4-month window in which I was job hunting. I decided to learn a new skill during this time to also counter the general frustration I was experiencing with failing to find a job in my field of study of Human Anatomy & Physiology and Biochemistry. I started to learn how to design by watching and replicating YouTube tutorials, every day, for those four months and thereafter. Fast forward to the present moment, Fungi Dube Graphics is a fully registered PBC and I grateful to be able to work with clients from different parts of the world.

What was the first project you ever worked on?

I recall this like it was just yesterday. My first ever project was a logo for “Taasha’s Cakes”. I still have the original file to this day, and I cringe at how I even designed that logo in Photoshop. If anything, though, I am so grateful for the growth and it’s a good reminder of how far I have come.

What is the most memorable project that you have worked on?

It honestly is so difficult to pick just one. There have been some phenomenal brands that I have worked with. The most memorable ones however would be all the ones that I have worked on in the sustainable/green space.

How do you kick-start your creativity when you are feeling stuck?

I typically watch other designers in various fields of application, designing. I take to YouTube to watch the different design processes and creative expressions of the most diverse and most random things too – it usually triggers ideas.

Designed by Fungi Dube Graphics
Designed by Fungi Dube Graphics

I also sleep. This allows me to wake up with a fresh outlook and a “new set of eyes”.

What is your process when working on a design concept?

A well-designed brand identity supported by some extensive research and meticulous planning allows for a beautiful final product. My scientific background has allowed me to streamline my design approach such that it is methodical and precise; clear but engaging visual messaging is what I always strive to achieve. Over the years, I have broken down my design approach into five essentials steps:

Brand Discovery

Research

Conceptualization and Development

Revision

Finalization

All the above steps allow me to design in a way that is distinct, impactful, memorable and competitive.

Who are your influences when it comes to your work?

I would not say influences per se, but there are several creatives across different fields whose process I really appreciate and whose work I think is absolutely stunning. A few of these are Hadeel Sayed Ahmad, Osmond Tshuma, Karabo Poppy, Leandra Rexhepi, James Martin, Sindiso Nyoni, Laci Jordan, Mayowa and Jade Purple Brown – to mention a few. Additionally, I also appreciate interactive and educational design platforms like The Futur which provide a heavier influence on how I run the business side of my creative brand.

What inspires your ideas? 

Designed by Fungi Dube Graphics

I design with conscious intent – I like to make connections, so I take time to research the not so obvious and try to translate that in a minimalistic way whilst still preserving the full story. A larger proportion of my ideas are also inspired by the dynamism and fluidity of nature; the ever-changing state of natural elements is where I draw my creative inspiration from. This also fuels my advocacy for sustainability and sustainable practices for the long-term.

Away from work how do you unwind, what keeps you going?

I am a very laid-back person; I appreciate the smaller and simpler things in life like sunsets and calmer environments. I enjoy being outdoors, taking walks and hikes and exploring in one form or another. I also enjoy attending music and art festivals. Another crucial thing that keeps me going is the gym – I do CrossFit and it definitely helps me to stay grounded and disciplined away from my work desk.

What project would you like to work on in the future and why? 

I would absolutely love to work with Adobe. More specifically because of how much influence they have in the design community and how diverse their product offering is. I would love to be the first Zimbabwean and more so female designer to partner with Adobe to create something for their international platform. As we speak, the Adobe Illustrator 2021 splash screen artwork for the first time ever is by an American and black female illustrator, Jade Purple Brown – and that is fuel for inspiration! I want to be able to do something like that and know that designers worldwide will see and know that a Zimbabwean, black, female designer did that!

Who are your rocks in life?

First and foremost, I put my faith in Jesus. My Christian values help to anchor me and provide a firm foundation for me to stand on.

My family is phenomenal – I come from a bigger extended family that is close knit and full of love and my late grandmother, the original Fungai Dube, was such a straight talker and graciously strong woman. She was also a unifier. Transitioning into becoming a full-time creative entrepreneur hasn’t always been smooth, but it has been made more plausible and a little bit more seamless because of that seed of togetherness and support that my grandmother sowed within my family.

Describe a typical day in the life of Fungi

I wake up around 0830h and I attend to the essentials of my morning routine like prayer and reading. I also reserve the first hour and half within waking up for administrative work – i.e. checking e-mails, responding to inquiries on any of my other social platforms and entering my tasks for my day in my planner (inclusive of meetings, follow-ups, submissions etc.)

I enjoy working from different locations so on most days, I will rotate amongst some of my favourite quaint coffee/eating spots. They all have unique features that keep me at peace as I work and provide some inspiration should I feel stuck. One of these spots is actually inside a home and hardware store; when I feel overwhelmed, I just get up and go and look at paint colour palettes. J

I focus all my efforts into being as productive as possible from mid-morning to 1730 which is when I then go for CrossFit. Thereafter, I unwind for about an hour back home. I take this time to shower, eat and just, be. I sometimes also take a nap before I recommence some desk work for an additional three to four hours before calling it a night and I also water my plants at this time.

I believe in exerting maximum effort during the work week, I reserve weekends for rest, reflection and reconfiguration so that I can start each work week with a fresh mind and new perspective.

What are the top 5 songs in your playlist right now and why them? 

Promises – Maverick City Music ft. Joe L. Barnes and Naomi Raine. This is my anchor song at the moment. The lyrics in this song are ones that anyone in any situation at any given time in any location of the world can relate to. It’s such a profound reminder that God’s promises in our lives are true; and even when the storm comes, they remain unchanged because of His faithfulness.

Side note: I also want to add Man of Your Word by Maverick City Music ft, Chandler Moore and K.J Scriven from the same album. The lyrics! That’s all I will say about that!

I also really appreciate female artists with a mellow, neo-soul sound. Why? Because they are such a vibe and are just straight fire! These are my other top songs in my playlist by some, not all, of my favourite female artists:

Fungi Dube
Fungi Dube

Your Way – H.E.R

Stand Still – Sabrina Claudio

If You Let Me – Sinead Harnett ft GRADES

Another Lifetime – NAO.

What is the best advice you have ever been given? 

“The worst they can say is no.” Courtesy of my Dad. This is a constant reminder that I have to keep pushing regardless.

How would you like to be remembered? 

I love sunflowers as mentioned above. The reason being that they always tilt their heads towards the sun as they grow. However, what most people may not be aware of is that sunflowers will always track the light no matter how dull and dreary the weather is. I want to be able to leave people with positive experiences when they encounter me in all my different portfolios.

Social media  

Twitter: @fungi_dube

Instagram: @fungidubegraphics

Behance: Fungi Dube

Linkedin: Fungi Dube

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