Editor’s Note: In this Edition of Applause Most Influential, Blossom Ozurumba on a visit to Lagos, booked an open house tour of Cregital Design Agency and was lucky to join the team to celebrate with their founder and Chief Executive Officer, Evans Akanno on his birthday. Beyond the cakes and drinks, she got him to talk about everything and some more. Please enjoy the story-telling which comes complete with original photos from the Applause Nigeria brand.
Approaching the work area of Cregital Design Agency can be somewhat likened to bursting into an oasis at the peak of an elongated quest for a cool drink. There is the first sight that greets you of an excited bunch of young people lovingly gazing into their computer screens and an inviting large pouf by the corner that beckons to the tired soul with its ambience. There are potted plants dotted across the room, which provides a sharp contrast to the white walls, which we reckon, is aimed at providing a blank slate for creativity to run undisturbed. What a combination! Green for undiluted productivity and white for pure and unblemished creative springboard.
From an online distance, we have always known that the Cregital brand is indubitably unique and offers a rare sense of style with a delightful blend of simplicity in its offerings at all times. It was a truly inspiring experience for Applause Nigeria to spend some time with team Cregital, not intruding, just observing and taking notes and photos. There was a birthday in the house and cake and drinks came in handy as well. Cregital (coined from Creative Digital) brands itself as an organization that helps other organizations to make smart impressions. In about 21 months of existence, the brand has owned up to its core strength and focus which is building brand identities, website designs and technical support for digital marketing.
The strikingly handsome design magician that doubles as the founder and all round provider of leadership direction, Evans Akanno in his infectious humble manner was quick to point out that his team step into work each day to learn something new and improve their skills. He is renowned to have a knack for hiring attitude over skill, as he believes that skill can be transferred but attitude is organic. The 13+ individuals that create and weave magic at Cregital each brings exceptional value which they enjoy sharing with each other to ensure that team play is enshrined. Evans is driven by excellence in both form and function and passionately insists that if we must grow Nigeria, then mediocrity should never be embraced.
As a young man, Evans’ humility comes to the fore as he insists he is still on the path to becoming exceptional. This is probably as a result of the competitive attitude he embraced growing up in a home where being in the second place is not an option. He had to intentionally and consistently improve on each new record, each step of the way. Evans loves apples and when he is not busy taking a bite, he is certain to stock up loads of gadgets from the semi bitten Apple array that technology unveils. It is the Apple of everything for Evans from mobile phones to laptops, tablets all the way to Apple TV. He further advocates that the best investment any design professional can make is to invest in Apple technology products, as it understands design.
On completing his study to becoming an Industrial Chemist at the Imo State University in 2009, Evans started out with computer repairs and subsequently moved on to cut his teeth in the graphic design sphere. He swears by Adobe and believes that they understand design just as Apple does. With an added stint as a basic website designer, Evans pulled all his passion and strength together when he worked with Jumia Nigeria as a Social Media Specialist/Design Strategist and on the side, registered Evans Akanno Design Agency drawing inspiration from Saatchi & Saatchi. This moonlighting got him a first design gig with MNet’s Africa Magic. Konga Online Shopping Ltd. later poached Evans as a Creative Strategist and the job stint clearly opened him up to understanding how design connects with marketing. In 2015, he finally gave in to the strong pull that his passion, dream and entrepreneurial drive had on him and that was how Cregital Design Agency was born. Trust the team to inform everyone with a truly remarkable “Finally, We Launched” post. The Cregital vision is to build a great team and business in an open and accessible environment. The core values of Cregital can be seen in their brand identity colors of a blend of green and blue indicating growth and trust, respectively and black which provides the much needed balance.
When Evans finds time to shutdown his computer, unknot his tie and change into T-shirts, he usually curls up on his favorite settee and settles in to watch romantic comedies. We also agree that this is a perfect way to wrap up a superb workday.
Several months later, the magic that is daily churned out at Cregital Design Agency with sterling leadership direction provided by Evans Akanno, has come under great acclaim. In February 2016 during the course of The Social Media Week, Evans received a Certificate of Recognition for his Contributions to The Nigerian Technology Space by Y!Naija. In November 2016, Cregital clinched the Nigeria Technology Award for the Best Website Development Company of 2016. You can read all about it here. Evans being awarded as the Creative Professional of the Year by The Future Awards Africa closely followed this. You can read the Cregital take on this enormous feat here. The awards are far from over as only recently, Rufus Oyemade who was appointed to the newly created role of Cregital’s Chief Technology Officer is on a journey to becoming listed for his Contributions to The Nigerian Technology Space by Y!Naija. You can take action by throwing him into the nomination basket when you visit www.crg.ng/ytech100. Some insider information that you need concerning Rufus can be found here.
Pumping with some form of excitement and pride, Evans name-checked Andela as an Organization that he keenly follows their update while stating that he is yet to see a design agency in Nigeria that makes the perfect cut with regards to global standardization. On the global scene, some major organizational inspiration for him includes Focus Lab and Adaptable. On the entrepreneurial drive, Richard Branson is a major creative boost for Evans with the Virgin Brand. Reading books authored by Richard on business development have continued to play a huge role in the life of Evans. His people first culture and bootstrapping processes have become reinforced over time and he is keenly focused on building a sustainable brand and not necessarily focused on following the money. Evans’ approach to enshrining a people first culture has seen him intentionally embrace the attitude of ensuring freedom and flexibility in return for high performance.
A quick conversation with Adanna William, a female Developer intern in the team who assists with web hosting, site backup and migration, revealed that teamwork is a key focus for Cregital as a brand. Ada who studied at the Babcock University with a major in Computer Science and Information System, got to know about Cregital from a former intern and consequently went through the recruitment process. Ada has since spread her wings and has only recently, secured a job at Mobil Nigeria Unlimited.
Habeeb Sanni was just a second away from where Ada sat and he was gracious enough to raise his head for a quick chat. He is excited about several things in Cregital and he is super impressed with the perfect blend of work and fun and even super proud of the napping sofa corner that the firm encourages staffers to go to, catch up on lost sleep and wake up refreshed. Habeeb is a Creative Designer at Cregital and studied at the University of Ibadan with early intentions of becoming a Geologist. That has since been reviewed as he is perfectly at home tinkering with codes.
Kanu Derek was all curled up on the large pouf by the corner while nestling his laptop and reviewing a recent project that he was finalizing. He started out as a Design Intern at Cregital and has subsequently joined the team fully as a Digital Designer. With an educational background in Estate Management obtained from the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies, Kanu is quite impressed with the learning process that Cregital offers. He is at home listening to Trap Music while zoning into his work and will love to see Cregital improve incrementally and become a sustainable brand.
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