From creating your brand persona to enabling it to work for you, Anton Pople talks brands, strategy and forging powerful emotional connections with customers

Falling in love. Creating your own destiny. And touching people’s lives. Design Infestation senior graphic designer Anton Pople shares his insights on brands, strategy and how design can help forge the emotional connections that help your business achieve its goals.


Born and raised in Bellville, Cape Town, Anton was always about finding deeper meaning in life – yes, even from a young age. Exploring boundaries and expanding his mind was important to him all throughout childhood – something he does to this day: You’ll still find him on a good day wrapped around a great new book and considering how to realise his true self in today’s world.

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And it all made for a full and rich human experience (which would come in very handy later in life), including during what he considers his most vivid memory of youth: falling in love. 

“I remember thinking, how is it possible that someone as beautiful as she could see something beautiful in me? I would’ve done anything for her. Of course, we broke up,” he recalls.


After high school, though, Anton discovered his passion for design through some inspired thinking: “It was suffering through all the subjects at school that had nothing to do with the arts or individual expression that showed me exactly what I didn’t want to do with the rest of my life,” he recalls. And it led him to enrol in a graphic design diploma course almost on a whim.

“I remember my girlfriend creating the bulk of my admittance artworks, to help get me accepted because I’d never actually painted before. But don’t tell anyone that.” 

The gamble paid off, though. Anton soon discovered that if he explored how the strategy behind design could take him further than just making things look good, he could do so much more. And that’s how he eventually became a leading strategic creative at Design Infestation.


Since 2011, Anton has been generating remarkable creative at Design Infestation by applying his mind to the process of joining audience needs with business goals – something that always works in our clients’ favour. Being able to really listen and learn from both the business and the consumer allows him to make real magic.

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And he’ll tell you that it almost doesn’t feel like work to him at all. The type of analytical thinking that’s necessary to use design to solve business problems works well with his internal desire to attain knowledge and understand the world around him. Not to mention that he just loves helping people do great things.

Currently living in Bellville, close to his immediate family and fiancé, Anton shares his insights into brands, strategic design, content and digital transformation:


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What is a brand really, and why is it important?

A brand is like a persona for your company. If your company was a person, what would their values be? Their morals, ethics. And, based on these, what choices will the brand make? Who will they align with, what will they look like?

And, most importantly, once you have those values locked down, you need to establish the one thing that makes that persona stand out in a crowd.

Creating and implementing that brand persona is not just about marketing. Yes, it allows the customer to engage and relate to the brand. But it also helps you define your business’s core purpose, which helps keep all your stakeholders, including suppliers and employees, aligned with your company.

Who should invest in defining and building their brand?

Anyone who needs to touch people’s lives. For example, a person who won’t compromise on high standards of quality wants to align with a brand that shares the same values. So, for a brand to build trust and loyalty with that person, it needs to consistently show that its core purpose aligns with what’s important to them: quality.

But it works the same with any principle or characteristic that speaks to the ideal customer. Whether they’re looking for fun, spontaneity or more security – whatever strikes a chord with the customer – building your brand around it helps people connect with your business on an emotional level. 

So, what is a brand strategy?

Everything that needs to be developed and established pre-design. This set of decisions gives the design process a clear direction. But it also guides a lot of decision making. From choosing the messaging for your marketing campaign to which supplier to use for the manufacturing of your product line.

How do you develop a brand strategy?

Ask all the right questions. The first of which is: Why? Why does this business exist? What’s its overarching purpose, beyond making a profit. Once you have that, all other answers will come naturally or with little effort for the team.

Are there any recent examples of your brand work you really liked?

Locally, we did some amazing work for The Cape Town Museum. And, internationally, we helped reposition Indonesian fashion department store Matahari

On a global scale, we recently helped launch a brand in various markets around the world. See the work we did for 361 Degrees.


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Now, what is brand design, and who needs it?

It’s visually showcasing that public persona for the business, complete with human attributes that its target audience resonates with.

And everyone needs it, because today’s consumers demand brand transparency with regards to topics that are important to them. For example, sustainability, social and ethical practices. If you want to touch people’s lives, you need to show that you also walk the walk.

So, you’re saying design is part of your overall strategy

Yes. If you keep the brand’s externally and internally facing design and messaging in-line with its values, you’re using design to serve your business goals.

What’s the process when you’re developing strategic design for a client?

Establish the outcome first. Consider the landscape. Then identify possible obstacles. And then, ask why. Why is this happening? You can repeatedly ask why and delve deeper and deeper, and then analyse your answers each step of the way until you find a solution that will cut through everything to lead directly to your desired outcome.

Do you need an agency for it?

Often, yes. Because so many businesses today still use the archaic method of one-way communication with their audience. Agencies versed in design thinking know to start the other way around. An agency will start by allowing the audience to share their experiences and get powerful insights from there. Think of it as a conversation, listening is often the hardest part. And a good agency will help you learn to listen first.

Interview with:

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Anton Pople
Senior Graphic Designer at Design Infestation

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Get even more pro marketing insights with brand agency production coordinator Sheena Crowie. And discover all of our brand experts.


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