Written by GUBA Foundation Team Member: Reginald Ofori Kyere
Always artistic, Darren Awuah grew up with a passion for drawing and illustration and by the age of 16, it was clear he would pursue a career in design. After considering architecture he chose to become a technical illustrator, and embarked on a National Diploma at Ravensbourne College of Design. He subsequently gained a BA Honours Degree in Visual Communication Design at the University of Middlesex.
Awuah went on to work for a wide range of publishers including Brown Bear Books, Dorling Kindersley, Aerospace Publishing and Eaglemoss Publications. The skills acquired from these organisations solidified his quest to set up his own design company.
Today, Awuah is the CEO of two thriving design companies; D-Art Factory and Dzign Apparel. Through these businesses, he is able to combine his love for illustration and fashion design.
As Awuah embarks on his quest to share his creativity, style and exceptional design talents with the world, we caught up with him for a chat…
Tell us a bit about what you do.
I am a digital illustrator, specialising in technical work. I draw detailed illustrations of aircrafts, vehicles, buildings and sometimes human anatomy for publications such as instructional manuals, children’s educational books and step by step guide books.
Beyond my illustration work, I also design, print and sell clothing including T shirts, sweatshirts, hooded tops and sportswear. The range also extends to mugs, caps, gifts and much more. I also enjoy graphic design and specialise in logos, brochures, leaflets, and business cards.
Growing up, I always enjoyed drawing but it wasn’t until later, towards the end of my secondary school education, that I realised designing was something I wanted to do professionally.
I started getting serious about design when I signed up for a BTEC First Diploma in Design, followed by a National Diploma in Technical Illustration at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. I then studied for a BA Honours Degree in Visual Communication Design at Middlesex University, before gaining a couple of NVQs in Digital Illustration for good measure!
My professional career commenced in 2000, initially as an employee at Brown Bear Books and then on a self-employed basis, working closely with companies including internationally renowned educational publishers Dorling Kindersley, Eaglemoss Publications and Aerospace Publishing.
I went on to set up my own company, D-artfactory in 2010 where I continue to design for a wide range of clients at home and abroad. We are currently based in Croydon Centrale shopping centre in London.
If you were to summarise D-Art Factory (Dzign Art Factory) in a short sentence, what would it be?
All your design and artistic needs under one roof!
GUBA is a superb, not for profit organisation that helps elevate talented Ghanaians and business inspired individuals, allowing them to achieve their goals with the help of industry professionals.
Also from a Ghanaian family, it’s extremely important to me to invest in the country that raised my parents and relatives. I am aware that others have not had the same education opportunities that are available to me as a British citizen and this is constantly on my mind as my business grows. That is why am thrilled to support events such as the GUBA Awards and why I’m always looking to give back to Ghana.
You designed the GUBA Awards brochure and other artwork for the GUBA Awards. How has the exposure helped your business?
First and foremost, it was an absolute pleasure to be appointed to design a 52 page brochure for the 5th Annual GUBA Awards. We also designed the award itself, and some accessories for the goody bag, which was an amazing honour. Since then I’ve seen my business grow and we’ve started to liaise with more corporate businesses, both in the UK and internationally including Ghana.
Where do you see D-Art Factory in the future?
I see D-artfactory as an international business, spreading creativity across the UK and the entire world. Next stop Ghana! Sometime in the near future we would like to be in the position to encourage young people with an interest in art and design, developing a workshop where they learn not only the creative skills, but business acumen too.
I am also a fashion designer at our sister company, Dzign Apparel, where we specialise in innovative casual clothing, focusing on identity and personality through our unique finger print design.
We will be in Ghana in September to launch and promote our new finger print designs, which use country flag colours to reflect your personality and nationality. Look out for us as we have been invited onto radio and TV shows to spread the love. Some of the shows include: Anita Erskine – The One Show, Jessica Opare – brunch in the Citi (Citi FM), Ohemaa Wo ye gye – Adom FM brunch, Ama K Abebrese – Tv3 Sunrise, Black boy – Ghonetv / yfm
What’s your favourite part about being a fashion designer?
Having the opportunity to design fashionable clothing that people feel inspired about and enjoy wearing. Our current designs are based on identity and individuality, focusing on personality using our unique finger print design.
Instagram : @dzignapparel
By Reginald Ofori Kyere