Fondly nicknamed ‘The Wizard’ for her seemingly magical ability to push her work further than anyone else, final year Red & Yeller Carina Bonse has proven that she really is capable of extraordinary creative magic.
On 23 November, the AdFocus Awards crowned her Student of the Year for 2016, becoming the second R&Y Graphic Design & Art Direction student in 3 years to achieve this, after 2014 graduate Tarryn Chudleigh. The Award, sponsored by Nedbank, is open to nominations from all South African advertising and branding colleges (from all creative disciplines), and the winner is chosen from the top three finalists whose portfolios are assessed by a specialist panel of judges.
While Carina’s college career has been littered with award nominations and wins, she wasn’t always convinced that the advertising world was for her. Before beginning her studies at Red & Yellow, Carina ran a popular bar in Cape Town, and it was there that she got her first taste of what it really meant to be a part of the creative crowd. After hearing the stories of agency life and work from the bar’s clientele (most of whom were from local advertising agencies), she decided to pursue a career in advertising. And thank goodness she did.
“Perhaps it’s her maturity (Carina is older than her classmates), but she is one of the most hard working and committed students we have ever encountered, right from the first project in first year,” said senior lecturer Carmen Schaefer. While most Loerie finalists and winners are typically in their final year of study, Carina’s packaging design project “The Drill Sergeant” – a 2015 Bronze Loerie winner – was actually completed in her first year at Red & Yellow. In the same year, she won a second Bronze Loerie with fellow Copywriting student Simon Hyslop for newspaper and magazine advertising, “See The World The Garmin Way” – proof of a consistently high standard of work throughout her 3 years.
It seems Carina was destined to be a Loeries regular. This year, she took home another Bronze award with Copywriting student Gabi van Niekerk for their integrated cause campaign, “Sii – Swimming in it.” Living up to her wizardly status, Carina and Gabi took their campaign a step further by translating it into Afrikaans – quite an accomplishment for non-native Afrikaans speakers. Their hard work and insightful concept hit home with the Pendoring judges, earning them the only student Gold Award as well as the Overall Student Award in 2016.
“I think this course has been one of the hardest things I’ve done, but also the most rewarding. I went into it thinking I’ve got to give it my all or not do it at all. I’ve worked with the most incredible group of talented people, and had fantastic lecturers at Red & Yellow, with a great support system at home that I couldn’t have done without!” said Carina of her achievements.