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Graphic Designer and phototographer – Raphael Clack

 Graphic Designer and phototographer – Raphael Clack

Who is Raphael Clack and what do you do?

I am a South African designer from the small town of Port Elizabeth. Not the Italian High Renaissance Artist Raphael – I wish!

In 2007, I headed North to study a B-Tech degree in Visual Communication Design at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for four years. This is where the historical & contemporary world of art, design & creativity pulled me in to its hypnotic vortex! I began to avidly explore my passions for photography, illustration and handcrafts.

After my time at UJ I moved back to PE and hit the ground running as a Junior  for a small ad agency, and tackled part-time studies in web design to expand my skill-set. After a year & a half I took a position at a communications company as a Graphic / Web designer.

Eager for more growth & opportunity, I made my way back to Johannesburg and joined a strategic staff and engagement consultancy team as a Senior Graphic Designer / Photographer. It was a fantastic learning curve to work alongside a number of leading blue chip organisations. I was able to broaden my knowledge in brand, culture and people development, as well as e-learning solutions.  And to top it off, strategic creative sessions over a fresh cup of java thanks to the in-house Videographer / Director aka ‘The Barista’.

In October 2014, I moved to the incredible city of Cape Town; where I now work as a freelance designer & photographer.

Appellation SA

How would you define your style or art?   

I still wear my explorer badge when it comes to a defined style that I can call my own. Photography, illustration and handcrafts are my expressive mediums without a doubt. I tend to get ‘up close and personal’ with the subject matter. Cropped shots, attention to shading and detail, and meticulously crafting a hand bound artists book.


What inspires your work?   

I would say creative concept. This is where the magic happens. It’s so refreshing when you see a piece of design, art, or an ad that you can’t help but ask the question: “How the %#$! did they think of that?!?


What are you currently working on?

I’m working on an infographic for a client who ended their brief by saying: “You have free reign with creativity”. So I’m taking full advantage.  I’m also finishing up a pencil & charcoal illustration – A diptych piece commissioned by an enthusiastic motorcyclist.


What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?

The brief is key – clearly understanding who and or what you are designing for will save both yourself and your client valuable time. So design with a purpose in mind.

Pay attention to detail and take pride in your work, just don’t take it personally if your client hands you a plate of criticism. Listen to their input and speak to their points, don’t be afraid to give your professional opinion.

One more thing – Art Director, Sean Van Rensburg gave me some advice once: “Un-think the way you think”. Challenge accepted. Immerse yourself in this endless world of creativity that surrounds you. Be it on the street or at a conference, allow the influences to get you ticking!

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

Definitely taking the leap into freelance waters. I’ve gained so much more insight into our industry through meetings with new clients, pitching my own ideas, and connecting with fellow weird yet wonderful creatives.

Where can our readers follow your work?

You can view my online portfolio at

Or you can give me a ‘thumbs up’ on my Facebook page which I’ve recently started running again 🙂



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