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  • Writer's pictureNic Symes

Failing forward

Updated: Jun 16

Sometimes our best efforts go unseen.

Such was the case with the brand identity I developed for the 2023 National Co-Ed Water Polo Tournament, hosted by Reddam House Helderfontein.

I always try to be strategic about the pro bono work I take on. It needs to be worth the time it will take away from me – time that could be spent servicing paying clients, time with my family, and time for myself. It also needs to be a project I can give my all to, guarantee a significant level of exposure, and align with the kind of work I want to do in the future.

This project hit all those marks, with the dangling fruit of exposure on DStv promised by the marketing committee. It all might have materialised too, had they done their homework before briefing me.

I don't cut corners, even for free work, and I ran this project through my entire gamut of research and development stages, fleshing it out into a solid brand identity I would be proud to include in my portfolio.

Unfortunately, the client didn't get the necessary clearance to develop their own brand for the tournament, and the whole project was dead in the water.

I'm still proud of the work I did, though, and the kids loved the brand so much they went ahead and had their own commemorative t-shirts and caps printed.

That's a win in my book.

PS: If you haven't already, please sign up for my monthly Nic Symes Newsblast at I promise not to spam you.

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