Designer, illustrator and reigning Namibian typography queen, Edith Wasserfall is an artist to watch. She is not your regular artist, the likes of which grace gallery spaces. Edith is the people’s artist and her creative vision can be seen on larger-than-life walls as murals, in brilliantly designed brand identities for an impressive portfolio of clients and with the odd doodle on her page @edithdidthat.
A career in visual communications design has long been on the cards for this Windhoek native. Growing up in the household of two architects, good design has followed Edith around most of her life. She reminisces about her childhood home and the attention to design and detail that inevitably shaped the artist in her. That, and family gatherings including prolific Namibian fine artists like Hilda Wasserfall. The artist existed long before the artwork did.
With a gentle nudge from her creative elders, Edith chose a graphic design job-shadowing opportunity in her mid-high school career. Just a day of attentively peering over a designer’s shoulder, and she was hooked, instantly filling her toolbox with design programs and proceeding to create unthinkable amounts of sweet 16 birthday party invites and profile pictures for her friends.
After obtaining a BA degree from Stellenbosch University, Edith garnered a handful of freelance clients while working full-time in the advertising industry. While Edith always knew that she would pave her own way as a graphic designer, understanding the Namibian creative space was an essential part of building her own business. After three years in the industry and increasing demand from her freelance clients, Edith finally made the move to working for herself full-time in April of 2022, a career shift she found to be rather effortless. She says of the ad industry, “Your creative vision goes through many channels; by the end it’s not really yours anymore.” For Edith, freelancing was initially a much-needed creative outlet and she considers herself lucky to now be designing for brands and individuals that embrace her uncanny creativity.
Edith emulates an aura of Gandhi’s mantra, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” The designer has channelled her kind-hearted nature – tangible over the cup of coffee we’re drinking at Livega in Windhoek – into good-doing efforts. Centred around the principle of community, the designer developed Do Good Namibia, an Instagram page and adjacent database of charitable organisations in the Land of the Brave. The founding of Do Good Namibia sprouted from her friends and clients asking where they could donate or volunteer. Edith saw the gap for a one-stop destination for corporates and individuals to find organisations to support, while creating a platform for all the good done by charities. With this project, Edith hopes to spread good vibes by highlighting positive news stories in the increasingly negative social media space and facilitating support for the unsung charities and foundations of Namibia.
Her favourite project to date is a technicoloured mural design for the paediatric oncology ward of the Windhoek Central Hospital, an artwork she thoughtfully created to stimulate curiosity, play and hope for the tiny humans that call the space home. Proving once again that design can do good, especially when the designer is committed to stimulating positivity and hope in their environment and the communities that shape them.
One of Edith’s electrifying murals can be seen in the Post Street Mall in Windhoek, with the words “nothing is impossible” in bold letters. Whether intentional or not, the placement of this mural is across from a community of informal stalls – men and women selling hand-made crafts. If a large-scale public art piece can invigorate the people hustling in its vicinity, there is no doubt that Edith’s more formal design jobs inspire, encourage curiosity and play its part in making Namibian design ever more good-doing.