Archive for April, 2013

Getting in touch with the local fauna

Guest post – Pierre Fournier

Landing on March 25th at 4.30 pm. Here I am, going by car on the huge streets of Bucharest, dived in Romania. Immediately, buildings look so high. The architectural cacophony doesn’t stop striking me: traditional houses, big communist blocs, huge, unfinished, abandoned… Few weeks later, the surprise is still the same, even if the streets don’t seem like a labyrinth any more. What hit me the most? All these wild posters. All these crazy lays glued everywhere, these beautiful renovated buildings, adjacent to the old blocs. Now, I want to walk in the streets, with my camera, looking for all the aspects of Bucharest.

But let’s talk about work! I’m about to answer to this big burning question: “What is Romanian graphic design ?”.  Unknown in France, Romania is not considered a country known for the graphic design field. Here, everything is changing. The conscience of the graphic design’s necessity is rising up. Everything seems to be possible. Working in the studio, we are experimenting, and graphic design is not mainly a question of money. Building a network is a priority. As soon as I arrived, I started working for an exhibition and prepared my speech for Advice’s workshop at Acuarela about being a student in France and making an internship in a studio from Romania.

That’s all, for the moment! Welcome in a country where there’s no kind of – and I hope, for a long time – “graphically correct”.


State of local design


As it has been said in the opening article, this series of articles will be structured around the theme of local design, Romanian design to be more specific. We certainly don’t want to give any verdicts, but we would like to make better sense of the local market, why it behaves the way it does and how can it be improved. Clearly, there are things that we will miss, but that’s where you, the all-knowing reader, will have the chance to intervene. After all, a debate is a two way thing. As we said from the beginning, this is a mere collection of impressions which will act a starting point to an analysis.

First, there’s a chance (and our impression as well) that the problems we face on the market are the same global problems that design faces, but taking a shape adapted to the local culture and habits. Why is this important? Because we can get over the (lame) excuse that many make to justify their lack of inaction.

Everyone has the natural tendency to complain and to feel gloom directed towards themselves only. At the beginning of the year we managed to stumble upon nightmare clients. It was reading this AIGA article and seeing how similar things were when we managed to get over the bad taste an awful collaboration leaves you with.

Local environment is usually not the reason why things are going so bad (only in cases where your city is being bombed or something similar). It happens everywhere, the only difference we think is relevant is that there’s not enough of the good stuff going on to counter-balance it.  And the good stuff includes design events, institutions, a consistency in evolution and other things which are very important to the local community and to the client-designer relationship.

We had the bad habit of comparing markets. Someone truthfully told us that it doesn’t lead to much being done. Yeah, there might be hundreds of thousands of people working in the creative market in the UK alone, probably making more money than most of designers here. But that doesn’t add any solid argument to the need of catching up. After all, if there’s something to be done, it’s not supposed to be driven by a nationalistic pride instinct, but to make things more acceptable for us and the people that follow.

We’ll try to dissect various small problems to their core in the articles to come. Even if these might seem a little bit serious and not really the entertaining stuff you usually find on the internet, we’ll try to keep it as interactive as possible. If all else fails, we’re stick to “10 tips on how to be a good designer” posts.