The designers of the Student Guide Antwerp 2020-2021
The Student Guide Antwerp wouldn’t be complete without its stunning graphics. But who are the people behind these visuals? This year, STAN chose two bubbly personalities with mixed cultural backgrounds: Sadrie Alves, with Brazilian/Belgian roots, and the Syrian Joud Toamah. They met during their studies at Sint-Lucas and combine the best of Antwerp, each other’s talent and the world in their work. STAN sent editor Antar for an in-depth interview, so you too can get to meet these talented people.
PS. You can pick up your Antwerp Student Guide for free from September 14th at the reception of STAN at our house GATE15. Want a sneak peek? The Yellow Pages are already available online.
How did your passion for graphic design and illustration start?
Joud: It’s not something I imagined doing from when I was a child. I just knew that I wanted to design stuff. I’ve always been busy with shapes and colour, but what exactly I wanted to do with that was a real journey.
Sadrie: I always loved drawing, but I didn’t really see a future in it. Back home they saw drawing more as a pastime, they’d rather envision me as a doctor. I remember my mom telling me: “Doctors can also draw very well.” Who knows, maybe the medical field is still waiting for me, but I doubt it. (laughs)
Sadrie: I remember my mom telling me: “Doctors can also draw very well.”
How did you end up here in Antwerp?
Sadrie: It was a difficult decision for me. I wanted to study something in art, preferably abroad. Because I already have family in Belgium – my dad is Flemish – the choice made sense. I lived with my grandparents for a while, but now my family has moved to Belgium too. Belgium is a part of my identity, so I’m happy I made this decision. Because of it, I was able to get to know this part of my family’s culture and language, something I’d been looking forward to for a long time.
Joud: Back in 2013, because of the war, my family and I had to make “the decision” whether we left the country or not. Some of our family already lived in Belgium and we also had some other contacts here, so we decided to move here. We’re all studying or working now, building a life.
How do you incorporate your culture from home into your work?
Sadrie: I don’t really think we do it consciously. A lot happens in our subconscious, to find and create the right shapes. I do enjoy the playfulness of Brazilian culture, which I try to use in my work. It gives me freedom. It doesn’t always have to be plain, especially for students. Just like us, they’re full of energy and motivation and that calls for an exciting design.
Joud: We want to radiate positive energy towards new students.
What motivated you to work on the Antwerp Student Guide?
Joud: I can still remember seeing the Antwerp Student Guide for the first time as a freshman in Antwerp, both in English and Dutch. This way I got to know Antwerp’s hotspots, but new places as well. The Student Guide is free, so it’s like a free invitation to discover the city. Of course it was a great surprise when they asked us to design this year’s edition, especially in these weird times. We want to radiate positive energy towards new students! This way they can discover the city in a fun way when things get back to normal.
What is your biggest dream in the design field?
Sadrie: I haven’t been thinking about dreams for a while (laughs). For me, a dream isn’t just one set goal, it’s a series of objectives coming together. Everything I do takes me a step further. Being recognized in this niche is something I strive for, so I can keep on improving my work.
Joud: Aside from my work as a graphic designer, I’m also an artist and visual researcher. My dream is to find a balance, so I can continue to work in all three of those areas. Some balance in my life would really be welcome. (laughs)
Sadrie: Give it your all from the very beginning.
What is your go-to tip for students who want to work in design?
Joud: Being active in social life and networking. Try to meet as many people from as many different disciplines. While you’re a student you really want to get lots of experience because now you have time for that, to grow in your work. Through colabs you learn a lot, and friendship is also very important.
Sadrie: Give it your all from the very beginning. You can wait for the right opportunities later, but when you give something your all from the start, you’ll end up much further. Don’t think about the future, think about what you’re doing now.
Joud: It’s also important to be critical of your own work now and then. It doesn’t matter what field you’re active in, as a young student it’s important to think about your place in society. Be open to new experiences, and learn as much as you can from yourself as well as others.
Time for some this or that questions!
Antwerp or hometown?
Joud: my hometown
Freelance or routine work?
Joud: routine work (it would be nice to have some structure!)
Southern flavors or Flemish cooking?
Sadrie and Joud: definitely Southern flavors, but we also like Flemish food 🙂
Be your own boss or have a superior?
Sadrie and Joud: be your own boss!