Blackberry Messenger welcome screen

South Africa has voted and chosen the ‘sticka’ ranges (chat icons) that most represent South African culture and experiences.  The winning designs created by the talented Wesley van Eeden, amongst other entries, will be available for download from the BBM Shop on Android, iOS, BlackBerry or Windows Phones.

Wesley, said that his designs represented his unique view of South Africa, captured on the BBM platform.  “I am inspired by African culture. I love the organic, hand painted signage that you see around most CBD’s in South Africa and it’s this freshness that inspires my illustration technique,” he said.

He went on to add that illustration was traditionally used in a very one-dimensional way in elements such as posters, logos, advertisements; meaning that the viewer could only interact with the illustrations by sight. “Now with these BBM Stickas, they use illustration in a way that empowers the users to be expressive in useful daily interactions,” he added. “To know that my sticka’s will help South Africans communicate is a very cool feeling,” he said.

Matthew Talbot, Senior Vice President, BBM said:  “BlackBerry has invested heavily into the South African market, not just as a technology brand, but in understanding the vibrant cultural tapestry of the local market to inspire a level of creativity that can enhance users’ experiences. We are in the business of creativity, and our ability to continue to push creative boundaries through a competition like the BBM Stickathon ensures our relevance as a brand.”

“I think the overall level of entries was very high,” said Industrial Designer and BBM Stickathon judge, Bradley Kirshenbaum of Love Jozi. “It’s amazing how South African culture can translate so perfectly into this new genre of iconography design. Stickas are not logos; they’re not illustrations – they’re a modern graphic communication tool and it’s exciting and challenging to design them,” he said.

Kirshenbaum went on to add that he was most impressed by the fact that the designers really understood how to create a series of icons, as opposed to lone icons. “Some are less original than others, but there is a definite common thread running through them showing a strong South African visual language,” he added.

Van Eeden wins an Apple iMac 21.5” as first prize, which comes with a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium drawing tablet, which he will put to good use as his current equipment is old.  Other prizes include a MacBook Pro and several Wacom drawing tablets.

You can view the locally-inspired BBM Stickathon entries at