“The most common stereotypical occurrence I have is when clients who haven’t met me assume that I’m a man. So it has become one of my little joys to disappoint and correct them.”Precious Yeesuf
The adjective ‘multi-talented’ may be overused, but in the case of our creative on The Big Showcase today, it is a perfect fit. Precious Yeesuf is not just a self-taught graphics designer and experienced animator, but she applies a multidisciplinary approach to visual communication.
This dynamic woman draws inspiration from four significant artistic expressions: writing, music, art and design, and their influences are reflected in her visual representations. So it is little wonder that Precious Yeesuf’s Behance profile is a reel of visually-appealing bodies of work ranging from branding and design to animations, motion graphics, and sketches.
Without further ado, learn more about Precious Yeesuf, a Visual Designer, founder of Neon Designs, and owner of Merch Leviticus, a merchandise business based in Abuja, Nigeria.
Self-education and Exploring the Design World
It is no longer news that people study one thing in school but pursue an unrelated career after graduation. Precious Yeesuf studied Quantity Surveying at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, but she was inclined to follow a more creative path.
“I am a Still and Motion Designer, and my work involves assembling images, typography and data into a visually-appealing result. When I made the ‘jump’ to design instead of Quantity Surveying, I wasn’t aware of other creative options. So, I simply followed my passion for creating, and at that time, designing was the obvious medium to express my creativity.”
The story of Precious Yeesuf is one of intentional exploration and eventual clarity. In simple terms, she was fearless about exploring her creativity, but she eventually became aware of a specific career to pursue. Precious Yeesuf started her design journey as a self-taught graphics designer, but she also upskilled herself to become an animator.
“I began my career with basic design, and shortly after, I found animation. For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in animation because I grew up watching many animated movies. So, diversifying into animation wasn’t much of a hassle, and I knew I would always end up in the animation space.”
When starting small, especially in the creative industry in this age and time, it’s essential to proceed with what you have. Your resources could include free courses, access to someone already doing what you want to do, or even your mobile phone. With time, you can purchase tools and premium resources. Precious Yeesuf explains how her early stage taught her priceless lessons that formed her career’s foundation.
“Yes, I took up a few design and animation courses and some YouTube tutorials.
However, I would not have been better in the sense of performance if I had taken up training earlier in my career. Sure, I would have learnt faster and, perhaps, a few more design applications along the line. Still, being self-taught allowed me to fall in love with the process and the way I interpreted information. I found early on that no two designers are alike, much like our fingerprint – every design is unique to the designer. As such, self-learning was crucial in building my self-esteem and confidence.”
The Bond Between Multiple Creative Expressions and Brand Identity
Brand identity is not just putting out visuals with your logos or brand colours; it’s more about leaving a lasting impression on your audience. Precious Yeesuf takes the time to explain what branding means and how she uses her skills to improve brand identities.
“Branding is perception. It is the distinct identity that others perceive about a brand. As a designer, I always seek ways to improve a person’s perception of a brand. I call it a never-ending process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets that shape how people perceive a brand. Although the human mind is ever-changing, a good brand always stands out and grips one’s attention.”
Precious Yeesuf further ties this definition to her creativity and artistic attributes that improve her design and identity branding skills.
“Writing, music, art and design are all mediums I use to express my creativity. I am a huge lover of all art forms, so I immerse myself in them. Working with these mediums balances my work and, frankly, protects my sanity. Having other forms of inspiration provides me with sufficient stimulation and inspiration. Hence, the overall improvement in my creativity.”
Speaking on her creative process, it is clear that everything Precious Yeesuf does is interconnected, and she proves that below.
“I enjoy drawing, and I still do it occasionally. Drawing introduced me to design, so it will always be a part of me. Being an artist helps me see the end of my designs before I begin designing. As such, drawing enables me to maximise my time, effort and productivity during my design process.”
Precious Yeesuf generously walks us through her creative process:
“As an artist, I adopt more than one creative process. However, each process typically entails having an intent for your design, research, and sorting through available assets. The next step in this process is incubation – this is my longest step and almost always happens in my head. Incubation is followed by compositions, clarification, changes, and completion.”
The beautiful thing about this creative process is that you can replicate some stages in different creative careers.
Precious Yeesuf on Bringing Her Chair to the Design Space
You must have heard the words, “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair”, or its revised versions. These were the words of Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to congress in the United States. Although the visual design/tech world is gradually promoting women-inclusion, there’s still a long distance to cover to achieve gender equality. Precious Yeesuf suggests measures to take to speed up this goal.
“There’s still a lot of ground and discussions to cover to ensure gender equality. We can’t deny that women bring fresh approaches and offer unique perspectives when included in any area. It does take courage and some degree of discipline to pursue a career in a male-dominated industry. In addition, the more female role models young women have, the better the chances of women-inclusion.”
Furthermore, Precious Yeesuf talks about her merch business, how branding influences it, and the economic challenges she faces as a business owner.
“Merch Leviticus was inspired by my love for words and aided by my branding skills. I can only talk a little about sales and returns because of how young the business is. However, there’s a potential for sales improvement in the nearest future. Running a merch business in Nigeria with economic instability is definitely not a joke.”
She also shares one of the stereotypes she faces as a woman in a ‘man’s world’.
“The most common stereotypical occurrence I have is when clients who haven’t met me assume that I’m a man. So it has become one of my little joys to disappoint and correct them.”
Precious Yeesuf has proven that she has indeed brought her chair to the creative visual design sector, and she’s going nowhere despite existing stereotypes. She rounds up her enlightening interview with these encouraging words directed at fellow women in the design sector:
“Make mistakes early, enjoy the process, and embrace the challenge. And if you can think it, you can do it.”