Homegrown Creatives: Meet Graeme Bettles

So, today is my birthday everyone – I really won’t be bleak if you all chip in and buy me a Shy Lamp from Graeme Bettles? -But wait! Scratch that. I’d like a Shy Lamp AND a Sitting Lamp – too much genious I say! Lighting with personality – and so much more! Read on…


Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?

My name is Graeme Bettles. I’m a product designer based in Cape Town and we make, to date, character inspired products with more exciting ranges to follow.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?

Not at all. I actually have a degree in brand communication and have been an Art Director in above the line Advertising agencies for the last 7.5 years. That being said, I have always had a passion for ideas and I suppose the two disciplines are not that different-  fresh thinking to solve some sort of problem. Be it an advertising client or designing a new light the similarities are there.

What makes your work / products / services unique?

The creative process is something that’s constantly evolving. You may have a certain interest or source of inspiration now. In two years time what inspires you may well be very different. Currently I’m intrigued by the idea of mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar. Finding a point at which two seemingly unrelated ideas meet to create something new and exciting. At the moment, I suppose the unique aspect of our work is bringing a human/character element into everyday products. We want the client to feel a familiar emotion through a different form.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I tend to find my inspiration in people and new ideas rather than wading through magazines full of products.

Ted talks, Design Indaba speakers, my kids, watching people interact with the world everyday… it needs to become second nature. What we do is not only about making something beautiful, it should be about putting forward a new idea, something that may then go on to inspire someone else to create something of their own. Creativity is funny like that. It all feeds off of something and then back around again.

Who are your creative idols?

I really respect and admire the people working hard trying to make it. The big design names are established, and have proven themselves. But there are some great young South African designers that keep me driven and excited to see some big things coming out of our country.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?

Kalk Bay is a great place to chill in the summer months, Otherwise getting out of town to Betty’s Bay or Stanford is fantastic.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?

My happy place would be the most remote parts of the world. The most untouched, unfamiliar places. Antarctica, Kilimanjaro, The Okavango Delta.

How does a typical day for you play out?

Wake up, get ready, take kids to school. Head down and work. Realise its 5pm already, fetch kids, crazy hour(s), relax a bit. Work more. Sleep. Repeat.

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?

Buy a factory and just make all the products pinned on my wall probably. Or maybe take a quick trip to space. Either will do ;)

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?

Exactly what I’m doing now.

Where can we stalk you?

My website address is graemebettlesdesign.com
email graemebettlesdesign@gmail.com
Twitter @GBDesign_sa,
Instagram Gbettles
and you can follow me at Graeme Bettles on Pinterest.

What does your workspace / studio look like? 

Lets just say my house looks more like my workspace/studio right now. Sorry family.

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?

The sitting lamp has done fantastically well but we have just launched a new lamp called the Shy lamp. Check it out on the site.

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4 thoughts on “Homegrown Creatives: Meet Graeme Bettles

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