Who am I?
I was born in Nuremberg, Germany. I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and lived there until my return to Germany in May 2000. I am many things – a mother, a designer, an artist, a friend… like each one of us, I am a unique human being, and like each of us, I have a shadow and a light side. I too have my own stories to tell, about how life has been kind and unkind. A couple of years ago, I asked myself the all-important question: “Is this it?”. I had had a reasonably successful career, but I was not feeling fulfilled, something was missing.

My journey – Spirit&Heart Art

I started on my journey of discovery and recovering my creative self, (one of the many inspiring books I read and worked through was “The Artist´s Way” by Julia Cameron). I asked myself many questions, dug deep, in an effort to understand myself better and what my true needs and values are. One of the things that kept coming up, was a desire to return to my time as a student, a time in which I had done a lot of painting and drawing. Having worked in a leading position as Design Director for many years, my time for free drawing or painting had all but vanished. So I took up the pencil again and started on my first free project in years. It was challenging and fun and left me with a deep sense of fulfillment and gratitude. However, I noticed that I needed to find a mentor to improve my artistic skills, if I wanted to realise my potential. In the Spring of 2014, I signed up for lessons at a small, private art school – Kunstschule Sybille Kreynhop, where I was introduced to a new methodology in approaching art.

The studies and discussions at the art school were thought-provoking, stimulating, philosophical, academic and inspiring. It provided a space of support and challenge, a safe space in which creativity could emerge. I was encouraged to search for questions and answers on my own. Through the new methodology, I gained confidence in my artistic ability, I learned to trust my intuition and to see that which is, without judging.

Since having embarked on this wonderful journey, not only have my skills as an artist developed, but also my life skills – art has helped raise my awareness and open up to intuition, and I have been able to transfer these experiences into my daily life. The journey is by no means always easy, often it is deeply frustrating, especially when I am impatient with myself, but the reward is well worth the effort.

I am currently taking part in a series of workshops, in which I am learning to trust the creative process and to honour all that is made with acceptance – it´s not about the result! An intriguing, challenging and rewarding experience. Please see my blog for more details.

My journey – Design
I have over 15 years experience in advertising, promotion, design, and branding. I studied Graphic Design at Technikon Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1993 I started work in advertising as an Art Director and then moved into design and set up the design studio for BSB Bates/ Bates Worldwide in 1995. In 1996, after a short stint at a small design agency, I launched into freelancing. As well as working for renowned agencies, such as TBWA Hunt Lascaris and Ogilvy Mather, I also acquired a number of clients including RAI Exhibitions International, Cowbell International and Brandadd Marketing. At the same time, I partnered with a designer colleague and established a recruitment agency in 1999 (Freerange Designs), specialising in the placement of professional freelance designers, either at agencies or directly at the client.

In November 2000, I joined Landor Associates in Hamburg as Design Director and Executive Committee Member. Here I was responsible for leading the team in the creative and strategic implementation of the corporate design for major clients such as RWE, Thames Water, Salamander, Hochtief, and Hoerbiger. Towards the end of 2003, I took on responsibility as Design Director for the Procter & Gamble account, working on brands such as Always, Alldays, Oral-B/ Blend-a-Med, Fairy, and Wella.

My Philosophy
Today, I work as a freelancer specialising in corporate and consumer branding & design: “I believe a brand, much like a piece of art, has a unique story to tell. A story touches peoples lives, resonates with them, inspires them and remains in their minds, because the story is telling the person something about themselves and that which they value.” It is my firm belief, that a unique brand positioning, in which the brand´s values are clearly defined, offers a strong foundation and a clear direction for the branding and design development.

Whether I´m developing a design strategy or a logo design, the following 5 principles serve as a guide during the process, I call them the “Five-I´S”

  • Investigate (audit & analysis)
  • Insights (learnings)
  • Imagine (creative, concept, strategy)
  • Intention (testing the concept)
  • Implementation (adaptation, artwork, production, and guidelines)



Birte Thurow

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” (Seneca)