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The Society of Spectacles

The rise of digital platforms and social media has increased the awareness of visual designs, paving the way for more attention to the world of graphic design. In Indonesia, the visual arts of billboards and advertisements in the mid 20th century marked the public introduction to graphic design. Today, world citizens, including Indonesians, appreciate many things related to graphic design, from restaurant menus, packaging to gadget applications. Indonesia Design meets graphic designers Andi Rahmat and Nady Azry to discuss this topic.

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Internet, including social media, has given people references from all over the world. These let them see and explore many things, as all the information you need is practically available in this virtual world. In terms of graphic design, we see that designers and design enthusiasts use the internet as a means of exercising their eyes and learning from more advanced countries.

“Graphic design is somewhat a new discipline in Indonesia, so we, designers, are in search of the essence of our own graphic design, according to our histories and portfolio made by senior designers,” explains Andi Rahmat, principal of Nusae, a graphic design bureau focusing on environmental graphics.

He says that members of Indonesian Graphic Designer Association (ADGI) are triggered to go forward – by making advanced graphics – and also go backward – by taking inspirations from history and local culture. Going both ways alone would give an added value to their projects.

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Andi himself believes that graphic design is not a stand-alone discipline, so for their works they have been collaborating with different professions and subjects. For instance, graphic works can be found in public spaces as an integrated part of a project (following its architecture, interior and product design) such as restaurants, museums and office buildings as well as larger scale objects like airports, and traffic facilities. The cross discipline projects have given them thoughtful insights and nurtured them to make graphics that are useful for the public.

This sense of social responsibility is also nodded by visual artist and illustrator Nady Azhry, who recently made graphics for community and renewable resources projects. “Having cross discipline projects fulfilled me as a designer because by then I can put out my work for the on-going advancements,” Nady adds.

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From the designer’s angle, visual artist and illustrator Nady has been exploring different mediums, both for commissioned works and his own explorations. “At the moment, the number of digital interface enquiries are increasing, but I like to take the opposite approach. Some of my commissioned digital works are firstly made manually by hand. I think this contrast makes a unique appeal,” says Nady.

The similar approach was done by Nusae for our “Bandung” edition’s front cover last year, where they made a stamp, scanned it and arranged it digitally into powerful graphics with local wisdom of antique Sundanese font. At this moment, we also see how watercolour artists use digital platforms to exhibit their works that were made manually.

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