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Durban-based illustrator and graphic designer, Hylton Warburton has won the Russian Bear ‘Urban Expressions’ Design Challenge, which ran earlier this month amongst ten specially commissioned artists/designers countrywide.

The artists were encouraged to represent their understanding and influence of urban culture, using black-coated Russian Bear bottles as their canvas. After a two-week public voting process, a trio of shortlisted designs were identified. Warburton’s winning design will be produced as a limited edition run within the first quarter of next year. He also takes home a R40 000 cash prize.


The design challenge brief encouraged the artists to interpret the theme ‘urbanisation’ in whichever way suited them. Design is an important element to creating solutions in our lives and is evident in our communities, which are influenced and built by different forms of design. The ten artists were therefore encouraged to bring the theme to life in the form of illustrating the environment as it is, or offer a futuristic perspective, or design spaces never imagined before, or showcase a representation of a different era in time and the change in living spaces.

Warburton’s design portrayed the growth of human living and the ability for fascinating design to transform urban spaces, where people can express who they are in different ways in their life. “I tried to show, through words and images, the mix of cultures, languages, music, and style under a great big African sky,” he explains. “Our urban culture is unique, beautiful, inspiring and rich in diversity, and definitely worth celebrating! It’s ours and we should own it. I was extremely happy and felt blessed to be the winner of the challenge. The positive public reaction and support was overwhelming – it was an amazing experience.”

Schalk van Wyk, marketing manager at Edward Snell & Co. Ltd, one of the country’s leading marketers of international and South African liquor brands, commented, “It was really difficult to pick one winner on the backdrop of so many great design efforts. So after much deliberation, we picked Warburton’s interpretation of our theme. We thought his design was incredibly creative, in-tune with the Russian Bear Brand essence and ultimately answered our competition brief best.”

The campaign did well to reinforce Russian Bear’s brand line, ‘The Next Level’, which personifies ‘progression’, whether it be in one’s personal style, creativity, aspiration or even one’s choice in Vodka, and it celebrates those who take things to the ‘Next Level’.

Runners up to the competition were Frances Frylick in second place and Rasty Knayles in third place. For more information, go through to the website;


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