Covered Up Blog

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Design on the other side of the world…

I came across the work of Indonesian designer Sandy Karman while vacationing in Hawaii. I am sure there is a more reliable site for his work out there, but this was all I found. The work is very modern and I would say follows a strong modernist design aesthetic with an obvious Asian flare. But above all I am attracted to the unique type treatments and playfulness of the illustrations. From his profile I pulled this list of his favorite designers/artists and presumably influences:

Favorite designers: Ralph Schraivogel, Kazumasa Nagai, Wim Crouwel, Wolfgang Weingart, Niklaus Troxler, Cyan, M/M

Favorite artists: Piet Mondrian, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, Agus Suwage

Also, an interesting article on the History of Graphic Design in Indonesia.

 

There are certainly countries that are known for producing great graphic works. And then there are those places that fall into a rutt design-wise. Being in Hawaii for 15 days, I have to say that there is a design rutt going on. Everything looks the same graphically. And every other piece of graphic design seems to be a bad copy of the previous. I started my career in Hawaii at Clarence Lee Design and Associates. At the time, and I would say even today, they are probably ahead of the curve of most of the design firms on the Islands. Clarence himself got his start with legend Lester Beall. and design this poster at the time:

 

I think what I like most about Sandy Karman’s work is that there is that strong underlying modernist set of rules governing his approach, but then there is the obvious indonesian playfulness in the work that makes it fresh for me. Utilty with a strong sense of personality and place. I think that is important, esspecially in poster work. I think it’s what many cover designers struggle with: content and utility vs. personal artistic expression. How do you make something beautiful and original and artistically expressive while fullfilling a very commercial need in an increasingly conservitive market? I am sure for many book cover designers out there this industry is proving to be a boring outlet for their creative side.

Speaking of posters, a nice piece on the Polish Poster here.


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