Business & Beats

Known for their unique marketing packs for musos, Green Robot Design is a beat ahead of the rest Kgomotso Mautloa may be a college dropout, but that certainly hasn’t prevented him from making waves in the design arena. His background may have something to do with his creative ability; both
his parents are artists and his sister is currently a graphic designer – so, artistry seems to run in the Although he tried, Kgomotso knew that college probably wasn’t for him. When studying visual communications, he wasn’t too keen on being told how to be creative. He dropped out twice.

After the second time, his father told him he was on his own. Kgomotso believed far more in experiential learning and while working, he began exploring the design space, including web design. His philosophy is that hard work and planning have made the difference – he has no formal diploma or degree and hasn’t relied on any handouts. His advice to anyone: just do something. While holding down a full time job, Kgomotso started working on the side to supplement his income and that’s where he found a gap – musicians who needed a unique way to package and market themselves. He started out using a computer borrowed from his sister and would begin working at around 7:30pm after work, right through until 4:30am. In these midnight hours Kgomotso managed to master design programmes such as Photoshop.

A music lover, Kgomotso attended a lot of events and met with many musicians, especially in the hip-hop scene. After designing a CD sleeve for a couple of artists, Kgomotso became the preferred design go-to person for CD sleeves, iTunes cover and the like. But even though he wanted as much work as possible, Kgomotso also turned people away if they wanted something that wasn’t unique – he feels that keeping your integrity is far more important than merely looking at Rands. Every creative person has their own process; Kgomotso says it’s always about the visual for him. He’s constantly scouring books and surfing the web for visually stimulating inspiration. He says he’s really privileged to work with a great team of individuals, Lungelo, Tiro, Kelebogile and Mduduzi, who all live in a space of constant creative thought. They spend a lot of time coming up with concepts, even if they’re not for a specific client. These concepts are often banked for use later, when a project comes along that’s the right fit. Every project is a communal effort. With visuals, the question ‘does it work’, must be asked – how to make the visual send the correct message.

After five years, Kgomotso and his team have created a unique, identifiable style without it begin branded and they’re now making the move into the FMCG space with branding and marketing. Although there’s a whole lot of work out there, and they bringing in projects that would ordinarily be given to larger agencies, Kgomotso wants to keep the growth of the company organic. The aim isn’t to have an empire, it’s to continue to produce really good work – basically being creative and having fun while being able to pay the bills.

THE HEART OF IT

Kgomotso has managed to create a fantastic business and it’s his focussed energy that’s been at the heart of it. His daughter was born just a few months ago and Kgomotso says it’s been a life-changing experience. He finds he’s looking after himself more and has a greater sense of responsibility, as well as a new source of inspiration. The business has taken on more gravitas as he intends to leave a legacy for his daughter that will inspire her.