Durbanite Dali De Swardt’s sweet victory at Heritage Design Competition

Dali De Swardt’s winning packaging design. SUPPLIED

Dali De Swardt’s winning packaging design. SUPPLIED

Published Sep 30, 2023


Durban’s Dali De Swardt recently scooped up the Huletts Sugar Heritage Design Competition for limited edition packaging celebrating Heritage Day.

“While I always believed in my work, the victory did come as a pleasant surprise. It’s a validation of my dedication and creativity, and I couldn’t be happier about it,” said De Swardt.

“I feel incredibly thrilled and honoured to have won the competition.”

De Swardt is a third year digital design student at IIE-Vega School in Durban. She said that despite being in her final year, the competition served as a stress-relief method for her, allowing her to express herself through design and creativity. “Art and design have always been my go-to ways to unwind and express my creativity,” she said.

Dali De Swardt. SUPPLIED

De Swardt competed against 19 others across all IIE-Vega School campuses nationwide and emerged victorious with a R5 000 cash prize. Her designs could be features on next year's limited edition Hulett packaging.

“This victory has had a profound impact on my academic journey, significantly boosting my confidence and igniting a newfound passion and motivation within me. I now have a stronger belief in my abilities, and receiving recognition and encouragement is truly heartening and affirming,” she said.

De Swardt said the project came together at the eleventh hour, not because of, but because she had a brilliant last-minute idea that she couldn't resist pursuing. She drew inspiration from the iconic South African colour duo, green and gold.

“I believe green and gold are quintessentially South African. To create balance, I introduced hints of red in select areas. Regarding the illustrations, I had initially started with an entirely different concept for the packaging but made a last-minute decision to explore and experiment with cross hatching and incorporate rich textures and patterns. I included various elements that resonate with South Africa's essence, including taxis, proteas, happy, vibrant people, intricate patterns, our unique wildlife, South African coins, and iconic leaders like Nelson Mandela,” she said.

“This competition revolved entirely around Heritage Day, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating because I consider myself one of the most patriotic individuals I know. My love for my country is unwavering, and I make it a point to infuse elements of South Africa into everything I create.”

“It is always great to see talented students' abilities being recognised from the advertising industry while they are students. I feel really proud of the work that she produces and am glad to see that the industry is willing to give students a chance to partake in competitions where their talent gets recognised,” said Jody Simpson, Digital Design Navigator at IIE-Vega School, Durban campus, and De Swardt's lecturer.

Simpson expressed that he wished there were more participants but acknowledged that there were many tight deadlines ‒ resulting in 20 participants.

The Independent on Saturday