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‘I want to be an inspiration to next generation’

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Sopeju

Nigerian designer, creative professional and brand consultant, Ifeoluwa Sopeju has recently announced the winner of the 2019 African Union ‘Innovating Education in Africa Expo’ Logo Design Contest. A brand strategist, public speaker, and founder Onedabrand Design Agency, Sopeju was recognised and awarded at the expo, which held in Gaborone, Botswana.

“As a Nigerian, winning the competition meant so much to me as it more than validates the fact that there are amazing, professional, world-class, talented creatives and designers in Nigeria, who can compete well and fair enough with other counterparts across Africa and the world at large. It also means that great, good and quality designs can come out of Nigeria and that Nigerian designers can deliver a world-class design that meets international standards. Therefore, there is the need to engage notable designers and creatives whenever there are national projects of scale that require design expertise and exceptional results. For example, what happened with the Nigeria Airways logo design, which was commissioned and outsourced to a design agency in Bahrain, could have been commissioned to a Nigerian designer with proven records and credentials,” he said.

On how much the award means to him, Sopeju said, “I personally want to be an inspiration to the next generation of designers; I want to inspire upcoming designers and show them that it is possible to live a decent and comfortable life as a designer. I want to show that with dedication, focus, and determination, the sky can only be their starting point. I want to prove to others (non-designers) that Nigeria is a great nation and only you and I can make Nigeria earn her respect on the global scene.”

Proudly Nigerian, Sopeju had the national flag around his neck as he received the award.

“I’m first a Nigerian before any other thing; be it an African or a global citizen. I’m proud of my roots despite the many vices that have circulated the social media space with instances of Nigerians involved in one fraudulent activity of the other. The time I had been waiting for arrived and I was all geared to make my country proud, as well as other Nigerian creative designers and professionals. The fact that I was representing Nigeria on an international level only made sense to rep the Nigerian flag. I wanted everyone I came across on my trip to Botswana to know that I am Nigerian. Irrespective of present national and economic challenges, I am proud of my country,” he said.

Education and training remain among the bedrock of tools for human empowerment inclusive prosperity and progressive development. However, this powerful agency of education does not happen by chance. It has to be planned and strategised through the adoption of innovative practices in education.

To this end, the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Government of Botswana and its partners across and beyond Africa staged the second edition of the Innovating Education in Africa Expo 2019, which held from August 20 to 22, at the Gaborone International Convention Center, Gaborone, Botswana.

The event, which was held under the theme, Harnessing the Capacity of ICT to ensure Inclusion, Quality and Impact in Education and Training in Africa, in line with Strategic Objective 3 of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa, showcased outstanding innovations in education, which can be scaled to improve delivery, access, and management of education in Africa.

Prior to the expo, the African Union Commission had put out a Call for Logo Design Entries that captures the essence of Innovation in Education, in the context of Africa. They had stated that entries would be judged for the style, expressiveness, ease of understanding and interpreting, creativity as well as the versatility and usability of related materials.

In an email addressed to Sopeju, who made a submission, the African Union wrote: “Thank you for your submission for the Innovating Education in Africa Expo Logo Competition. We sincerely appreciate your time and willingness to participate in this contest. After careful review of over 400 submissions, which were received across Africa, we are happy to inform you that your Logo has been selected as the official identity to be used for the Innovating Education in Africa Expo. As stated in the Call for Entries, you will receive $1,000 US Dollars and a Certificate of Recognition. You will also be invited to the Innovating Education in Africa Expo 2019, to be held in Gaborone, Botswana where you will be officially awarded. We will be in touch in the coming weeks with relevant information for your participation in the Expo. Congratulations on this achievement!’

During the expo, Sopeju was recognised and received his prize money for the emerging winner of the African Union ‘Innovating Education in Nigeria Expo 2019 Logo Design Contest.

In the same vein, the Federal Ministry of Education on their Facebook page also congratulated Mr. Ifeoluwa Sopeju for his exceptional creativity in the design of the official logo for the African Union Innovating Education in Africa Expo.

He was also hosted to a dinner by His Excellency, Mr. Umar Z. Salisu, the Nigerian Ambassador to Botswana, alongside other Nigerians at the Nigerian House.

An native of Remo North Local Council, Ogun State, and graduate of Visual Arts (with specialisation in painting) from the University of Lagos, Sopeju is the founder of Onedabrand Design Agency, a design, and branding agency on a mission to develop and create timeless and ‘onedaful’ brands for businesses, whilst positioning them for relevance and competitiveness.

The outfit has the vision to be locally and globally recognised as a leading, go-to design and branding agency that creates and develops ‘onedaful’ brands for businesses. They believe that businesses of all sizes and scale need to be strategically positioned for relevance and competitiveness, which they do through specific offerings such as brand strategy, brand development, brand identity, and visual communication.

Sopeju is also the Lead Facilitator, Onedabrand Design Academy, an academy offering tailored training on graphic design, logo design, UI design, UX design, editorial design, motion graphics, and branding.

Sopeju started his professional career as Senior Graphic Design Associate at The Guardian newspaper and later moved on to KPMG in Nigeria as a Graphic Design Specialist. He later joined Deloitte & Touché as a Senior Graphic Design Specialist before he was poached by Visionscape Group to be the Lead Creative Designer, leading a team of designers in the Lagos and Dubai office. 

His energy, enthusiasm, expertise, and passion for creativity are evident in the level of professionalism he brings to the table. After a thoughtful and deliberate decision to focus on his entrepreneurial journey, he founded Onedabrand Design Agency bringing on his years and wealth of experience into the agency.

His desire to impact, influence and inspire newbies in the design space towards becoming better designers has made him volunteer to facilitate and teach design at a couple of sessions like The Female Designer Movement, YPF Skills Acquisition Programme amongst others.

He is passionate about making a positive impact on the quality of designers in this country and has trained over 300 students (basically amateurs, novices, beginners and design enthusiasts) on the fundamentals of design as well as the use of relevant industry-standard design software.


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