Graphic Matters Festival 2017

Written by Craig Berry
Former Junior Designer at VBAT

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Graphic Matters 2017 Identity by Trapped in Suburbia

More Hugs

The first part of the exhibition we experienced was on our way to the design festival area and was unavoidable. More Hugs was a project by Hong Kong based graphic designer Ken Lo, founder and creative director of the design studio BLOW studio where he aims to spread positivity through playful and colourful illustrations of hugs. Illustrations of hugs between people, hugs between shapes, hugs between colours, hugs between buildings – basically hugs between everything. His flat icon-like style is distinctive and clearly recognisable as well as the fact he uses the same arms and hands for each illustration.

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Ken Lo – More Hugs
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Ken Lo – More Hugs

Clearer Words: Save Our Souls

This small installation was one of a 3 part series called ‘Clearer Words’ by the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD — Genève). This installation was one of the strongest and spoke the most to me. Upon walking up to it, it just seems like a pile of rubber rings and life-rings but through reading the messages written on of the rings you begin to understand the connotations of the two styles of rings; both are floatation devices, however, the rubber ring is used by tourists for to float around for pleasure and the life-ring is used by refugees to float around and survive.

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HEAD – Genève – Save our Souls
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HEAD – Genève – Save our Souls

The Design of Dissent

‘The Design of Dissent’ was an exhibition curated by legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser (famously the designer of the I NY logo and part founder of Push Pin Studios) and Mirko Illic.

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The Design of Dissent

Dissent:
verb
1. to differ in sentiment or opinion, especially from the majority; to withhold assent; to disagree.
2. to disagree with the methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government; to take an opposing view.

noun
1. the difference of sentiment or opinion.
2. the disagreement with the philosophy, methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government.

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The Design of Dissent Exhibition
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Sagmeister & Walsh – Pins Won’t Save the World
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Black Panther Newspapers
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Black Power Salutes – Black Panthers, 1968 Olympics, NFL Players

Dreaming of Mass Behaviour

I had previously learnt about Studio Smack during Dutch Design Week in 2016 where their music video for the band De Staat’s song Witch Doctor was being shown. This was my first time seeing this video which had apparently gone viral at the time and raised the awareness and hype around Studio Smack; giving them international attention.

De Staat (By Studio Smack) – Witch Doctor

“We were chosen to go crazy on the middle panel. So we did…”

Studio Smack – Paradise
Studio Smack – Branded Dreams

Speak Up!

‘Speak Up’ is the festival’s poster competition and exhibition of winning entries. The poster competition directly related to the festival’s theme of ‘Shut Up, Speak Up’ with the brief asking:

“Are you an activist warning us for the evil in this world?
Do you directly attack a company, party or person?
Are you a prankster opening eyes with visual jokes?
Do you create confusion with satire about current situations?
Or are you a good guy?
Do you stimulate the good in people from an ever-positive attitude?”

Over 2500 posters were submitted with just 60 being selected to be presented in an unconventional exhibition stand. Each poster covers a topic of speaking up for something – there are themes that re-occur such as American politics aka Donald Trump but there are also more light-hearted and positive posters which call for understanding, solidarity and celebration. Obviously these poster won’t change the world but they will encourage and inspire people to do something and take action.

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Graphic Matters – Speak Up!
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Kristof Szabo / Katarzyna Zapart / Felix Kosok (Studio069)
Thonik – Spot Real/Fake News

Corporate Warfare

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Foreal – Corporate Warfare
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Foreal – Corporate Warfare

Flags of Peace

Flags of Peace is an ongoing project and initiative by the Dutch experience design agency, Trapped in Suburbia. With this project they aim to explore what defines peace and whether a peace flag can achieve anything as over history there have been numerous attempts to create a definitive ‘flag of peace’ with no solid outcome. Sure there are symbols and icons of peace, for instance, the CND symbol, doves, the olive branch and V-sign hand gestures although no sanctimonious ‘Flag of Peace’. In today’s society the idea of peace is important.

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Trapped in Suburbia – Flags of Peace
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“White as a symbol of peace brought me to a white planet in the universe. This seems to me the most obvious starting point for a flag that everyone can accept.”

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Flags of Peace – Netherlands – Wim Crouwel

“The white flag is worldwide recognized as a surrender statement. It’s used to stop a conflict and it’s the beginning of a new trust between two opposite sides. Red is the colour that we all have in common with each other. It’s the colour of our blood. With this as a starting point, we designed a white flag over a red background, to signify trust in everyone.”

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Flags of Peace – Italy – Studio FM Milano

“My flag attempts to reflect on the complexity of our times. How important it is to change the notion of peace in this wild era. Peace should not be just a soft, ideal cliché but a resisting, persisting attitude. Peace as strong and tough as metal, as resistant as the heaviest material on earth, something unbreakable and timeless.”

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Flags of Peace – Peru – Jonathan Castro
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Trapped in Suburbia – Flags of Peace
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Craig Berry – Flag of Peace

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written by
Craig Berry, Creative at VBAT
edited by Connie Fluhme, PR at VBAT

A game of chess is like a swordfight. You must think first, before you move.

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