The Female Design Movement (FDM), founded by Omobolanle Arinke Banwo, who is a brand identity, motion graphics & UI/UX Designer, has engaged hundreds of women in graphics design.
The workshop, which was organised with the collaboration of the VAV Art Organisation, held at the MacArthur Building, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, featured the use of technology applications to create designs and participants were given certificates at the end of the session.
Banwo, who spoke on how she developed her passion for designing as far back as primary school, explained that “For me, design was the way I could express myself. In primary school, I used to draw, not just for myself but for my classmates as well, and my teacher would see their works and immediately know I was the one who did it. I didn’t attend any design school.”
Answering the question on how FDM came to life, Banwo stated that “The Female Design Movement began in March 2018. At the first class held in Lagos, when we released the registration forms online, within two weeks, more than 200 women had expressed interest. The notion that women are not interested in design is not true. For this particular design class in Ibadan, more than 100 women expressed interest to attend. We have plans to take this nationwide, as we have been invited to various states across the country. We are working on getting more funds, so that we can make more impact. We try to reach out to different organisations. We have had contributions from family members, friends and well-wishers. There are also organisations we partner with.
“Participation so far has been amazing. So many people are interested. We are looking at having three more classes before the end of the year. There is a major one targeting around 500 to 1,000 women in August.”
On how the Nigerian environment has fared in graphics design, she said: “I can confidently say that there are graphics designers in Nigeria whose works stand out in their fields of expertise. We need more designers for apps, technology systems, and the like. I know we are getting there though.”
Speaking on the reason for the focus on the female audience, Banwo states that: “I want to encourage people to follow their passions. I have had women, who have children, call me to express interest in design. Design is not meant for men alone; women can design as well. The classes are free so that we can provide opportunities for many people to attend.
“In some developed countries, seeing women in graphics design is not uncommon. However, in Nigeria, when you see a tech company, there seems to be more men. There is the assumption that more women would rather embrace professions relating to fashion and beauty than technology, and that is a misconception. We have women in graphics design. Designing is not difficult. I’ll advise women to follow their dreams. The field is quite flexible and it is a great way to follow your passion. Any woman interested in design can design.”