Design activism is about using the incredible power of visual communication as a tool for making a positive transformation in the world. In the eighties, the collective Wild Plakken was an outspoken example of how to integrate political activism and graphic design. Lies Ros, one of the three founders, will be interviewed about those years with visual support from the archives of the Wim Crouwel Institute. Afterwards, Roosje Klap, Raul Balai and Yuri Veerman will present their work and Ruben Pater will conclude the evening with a column. Design rebels united!
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In the eighties, the collective Wild Plakken was an outspoken example of how to integrate political activism and graphic design. Engagement, idealism and feminism were the main pillars for their eclectic and raw poster designs. Lies Ros, one of the three founders, will be interviewed by graphic designer Chris Vermaas.
Roosje Klap is a studio for visual communication, mainly graphic design. The studio researches the experimental boundaries of custom fit design, collaborative yet peculiar. Recent work includes the Planet Hype exposition in MOTI, a more than 60-metre long wall which displays dozens of hypes from the past few years, and a series of stamps for PostNL with Dutch historical feminine portraits.
Yuri Veerman is an independent artist, designer and performer. His work deals with cultural symbols: words, objects or images that that function as a bridge between the physical en the metaphysical. If you remix a flag, are there still traces of home in each colour? If you grind a coin to dust, where did its value go? If you translate the Dutch anthem into Arabic, who does it address? By reconstructing these elements, Veerman’s work creates space for a new narrative.
Artist Raul Balai is specifically interested in cultural clashes, hybridity, culture and politics, music and art. Coming from a multi-ethnic heritage, his work often challenges conventional stereotypes. It pokes fun at the burden of history, makes it lighthearted even, with a nod and a wink. Raul is constantly refining his visual and conceptual vocabulary that emerges through points of intersection between painting, graffiti, photography, illustration and graphic design.
Under the name Untold Stories, Ruben creates visual narratives about geopolitical issues. Through tools of visual communication, he creates new relations between journalism and design. Ruben will close the night with a column about the urgent role of activism in graphic design. “Design is not some magic force that will solve the world’s problems, and assuming this is dangerous. However, designers can try to lessen the negative impact that design has on the world and turn it into something positive.”