Interview with Etienne, Eugene, & Emile, Magnetic Creative, South Africa

See the World Differently | Paradox Media | MUSE Creative Awards
4 Award-Winning Ideas & Concepts from Paradox Media You HAVE to See
November 6, 2020
Luna Au Yeung | MUSE Design Awards
Interview with Yuna Au Yeung, Founder of YAY CONCEPT, Hong Kong
November 9, 2020

Etienne, Eugene, Emile

Etienne, Eugene, and Emile are members of Magnetic Creative, creating and curating beautiful content and visuals for their clients with great ideas or concepts.

Interview with the 2020 Vega Digital Awards Winner - Etienne, Eugene, Emile

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

Etienne: CEO and Founding Partner of Magnetic Creative.

Eugene: Senior Art Director and Head of Design. Originally from Cape Town enjoying life in Knysna. Part of an agency that truly understands the word “Human Engagement”. We continuously strive to connect people.

Emile: I am an Art Director and an avid lover of film. I work for an amazing and passionate agency called Magnetic Creative and we focus on helping brands find their true direction in a constantly stochastic world. This makes for great video opportunities. I've been involved with Directing video for nearly 4 years now, but I've been in the agency world for more than 7 years.

Apart from doing art direction, I love to do photography to capture and express stories in different ways.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

Eugene: I love storytelling and your biggest audience is the digital world. Humans yearn for connection, it’s like breathing. The art is finding that wavelength to be able to connect on a much higher level that supersedes language.

Emile: Storytelling is engraved in our biology. It's how we relate, articulate and carry over information and valuable lessons. It's easily the most engaging and entertaining way to make a living and be passionate. It's highly dynamic and there aren’t really any rules. Video consumption is more prevalent today than ever before, and the industry is only going to become more relevant over time.

3What’s your favorite kind of digital design and why?

Etienne: The kind that works:)

Eugene: Design that saves the world.

Emile: Obviously for me it's video content. I'm wanting to elevate or evolve the documentary video style especially. Being able to show the world through the lens of brand success and packaging it in a well crafted story is where video marketing can be incredibly effective. Other than that I'm also incredibly curious about the gaming world. “Interactive media”, for a better definition, is evolving into such a powerful medium and it's something I would love to get involved in as well.

4To you, what makes a “good” design?

Etienne: Good design solves a problem and/or is capable of converting & engaging. Beautiful design on its own, is not “good”, it’s simply art. To have commercial viability it needs to work, be functional and effective.

Eugene: Our clients’ best interests are always at the heart of what we do. So our design or creative needs to be emotive and functional.

Emile: Taking complex ideas or concepts and simplifying or packaging it to a level where it can be either experienced in a more relatable or unique way. Less is always more and confidence in the messaging and manner of messaging translates directly in the end result. You can always tell when there's a lack of confidence or uncertainty in a design.

5Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

Eugene: That of a chameleon.

6Tell us about your design process.

Eugene: Depends on the client and kind of design, but it usually involves research before I even put any pen to paper. Researching the client, their competitors then their audience. Going down the rabbit hole of the brand to the single most underlying message then working my way back from there. This ensures that whatever I do, it is always born of that single seed.

7Where do you draw inspiration from?

Etienne: Growth & Success. Not necessarily our company, our team or our work being successful (even though that’s great), but success in general. I love reading and learning about other people and company successes, how they got there and what they learned along the way. There is great motivation and energy in the principle of constant growth.

Eugene: Anything and Everything. I try and sponge as much as I can from other artists, Agencies or Creatives I look up to. Success in general inspires me regardless of field. The constant evolution of growth intrigues me. Forever chasing the white rabbit.

8What current trends in digital design (or really anything digital related) are you most excited about?

Etienne: The raid rise of e-sports is fascinating, but I won’t go as far as to say that I’m excited about it. It’s just super interesting.

Eugene: Not really a specific trend but the possibilities that the digital realm and constant evolution thereof will afford us going forward as not only designers but creatives in general. BUT, with great power comes great responsibility.

Emile: As mentioned before, I'm keeping a keen eye on interactive media (gaming). Being a bit of a nerd myself, it's fascinating seeing how the medium is evolving and getting more attention. I can’t help but feel like it's going to be a major player in marketing in the next +-10 years.

9Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 Vega Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Etienne: It is great to get recognition for our work, it’s always a nice feeling, but to us this particular award is validation that what we do works, in the increasingly complex digital landscape.

Eugene: Thanks so much. It’s always great receiving recognition for hard work not just as an individual but also as a team or organisation. Magnetic believes strongly in helping each employee become the true versions of themselves and it shows in our quality of work.

Emile: The team worked hard and really loved putting this together. So any form of recognition always makes the whole journey just a little sweeter. We at Magnetic love what we do and we are honoured by the award.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 Vega Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Etienne: The core behind the production we entered was a humanized success story that simply put, worked exceptionally well for the client. One of the hardest challenges for brands today is finding ways to connect and relate to their audience, and this video proves that authentic stories remain one of the most powerful marketing tactics, if executed strategically well.

Eugene: This was a real authentic piece which touched on so many things. A story that so many could easily connect with. For me this was a good example of us finding that single seed (excuse the pun) or message which was a Father just wanting to feed his family, which resulted in his son feeding his community, country and potentially other parts of Africa.

Emile: We did the “Success Video” for a client that provides a range of custom maize milling products. We thought that a strong way to show the level of influence and success their products have made is by finding people around the world that have influenced their community and have prospered as a result of these machines. This video focuses on a family in Kenya and is just one of many beautiful stories around the world. We recently did another one in Lesotho as well.

11What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Etienne: Logistics. We had to travel to Kenya.

Eugene: Being able to humanize a company that supplied and builds Maize Machines.

Emile: We wanted the story to be focused on the people. So the main challenge was not to make a commercial. It was about the people and their success 1st. The product came after. It's surprisingly harder that it sounds: trying not to make an ad, and instead tell a wholesome story.

12How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Etienne: Like I explained, it’s a good feeling to get validation and recognition for the work we do. What matters is the results, not the award unfortunately.

Eugene: As much as we enjoy awards, like I said our clients are at the heart of what we do. It's about doing the best we can do to ensure our clients WIN FIRST!, receiving awards along the way is just the cherry on top.

Emile: To be perfectly honest, it hasn’t/doesn’t. As honoured as we are, we do what we do. It's fun and we develop a strong bond with the clients we work with. It makes for better end results. If we win an award along the way, It simply means we'll probably take the Friday off and go for a surf.

13What are your top three (3) favorite things about the digital industry?

Etienne: How effective it can be. The large variety of specialist fields within the industry and the rapid growth.

Eugene: The constant disruptive evolution of it. You have more freedom to explore and the effectiveness of it.

Emile: The non linear playing field. It’s the most fun and creative way to make a living so you don't reeeally have to grow up. Story Telling.

14What makes your country specifically, unique in the digital industry?

Etienne: N/A, we work all over the world, with offices all over the world and our talent pool coming from all over the world.

Eugene: We have an internal client base which means we speak to a broader international audience. The one good thing about South Africa is our country is already a melting pot of a multitude of cultures which has groomed us to be able to easily communicate to an international audience.

Emile: The incredible level of diversity. Not just cultural diversity but intellectual diversity. It's a firestarter for new ideas.

15Where do you see the evolution of digital industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Etienne: I believe it will completely overpower and outrank, if not completely destroy, traditional marketing.

Eugene: Digital will be the primary means of communication going forward.

Emile: As mentioned before, I think digital art and the industry as a whole is going to become fully intractable. This will allow expression on a level never experienced before.

16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Vega Award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Etienne: Focus on growth and results, and the awards will come.

Eugene: Being dedicated to your craft will yield eventual results. You will never know enough.

Emile: Don't be afraid of failing, you learn more from failure than success. Careful who you ask for feedback. Too many chefs spoil the dish. If you're not feeling it, stop and reevaluate. Question everything. Question everything?

17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the digital industry?

Etienne: Google:) Not even kidding. It’s not about where to learn, or even what specifically to learn at this stage. It’s just about the principle that you constantly have anything and everything you need available to grow at whatever rate you can handle.

Eugene: You’ve got the luxury of having the digital world at your fingertips, literally. If you really want to find ways to improve, you’ll find it.

Emile: YouTube has become a constant stream of inspiration. Vimeo as well. Make sure the people you work with and/or around are always at least a little better than you. Also Squarespace. It's a great platform that allows you to express yourself on the internet with its amazing array of tools. Squarespace doesn’t sponsor me. But I want them to.

18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

Emile: In Fast ‘n Furious 1 when Walker goes to Vin Diesel's house “I Got Hoes” is playing on the radio by Ludacris. But in 2 Fast 2 Furious Ludacris plays a street racer called Tej Parker. So in the Fast n Furious Universe, Does Ludacris exist? Did Tej sing that song? And who's got the hoes now?

Etienne: Fast & Furious was a ridiculous movie and I don’t understand how it managed to develop such a cult following.

Eugene: In the Multiverse, Fast & Furious is a well known laxative brand.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Etienne: Simon Sinek - His articulation of purpose - aka “start with why” has helped me a lot in helping other people and businesses.

Eugene: Neo from the Matrix. He bends spoons like I bend rules. For real. Too many to list. I’m an onion. Too many layers to unpack right now.

Emile: Pretty much everyone I’ve ever worked with. Seeing how each person has found their own way of getting to the results that they want only further strengthens the fact that there is no single way to do something. I especially love working with beginners and juniors because seeing how the next generation has taken form the past and evolved on it is always inspirational.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Etienne: Find Your True North.

Eugene: Bend the rules, make new ones and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Nothing is perfect so enjoy the perfection in your imperfections.

Emile: Love what you do. Wear new socks as much as possible.

21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

Eugene: Thank you for the opportunity.

Emile: What Eugene said.

Winning Entries

Machines That Drive Success | 2020

Machines That Drive Success | Vega Digital Awards

Maize is a staple of more than 300 million people across Africa and the most important food crop in many regions. Roff Milling – the...
(read more at Vega Digital Awards)

Magnetic Creative

Magnetic Creative focuses on building ecosystems for brands centered around technology and consumer engagement.