The Competition for the Logo of the WGM Is Nearing the Finishing Line

The 15th of November was the deadline for submitting works in the second stage of the competition for the visual identification of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum that was organized jointly with the Association of Applied Graphic Designers – to which six finalists from Poland and abroad were invited. We present the statements of the artists and members of the jury assessing their work.

Heart, reason, and clarity of the message

For Francesco Ciampa from Rome, a graduate of the Sapienza University of Rome, a design must not only be creative but also socially useful. “The most important thing is to set goals before starting the design. They are: originality, clarity of the message, and aesthetic harmony. A project approach to design means that it can be strong with its aesthetics, and at the same time functional as regards communication. First of all, it will present the idea expected by the recipient in a compact way, and it will take hold in their mind, like a well-known face,” Ciampa emphasises.

Projects of various sizes, both small individual tasks and large, complex endeavours, requiring integrating many elements – they are all treated equally by Warsaw based Futu studio. “In each of these cases, we break down projects into prime factors and find simple ideas on which to build a whole story of a brand, business, or institution. Our favourite activities are those at the interface of design and quality content, where real value is built,” the studio purports. And what impacts the artists-designers’ way of thinking? For those from the international Little Greta studio, the greatest inspiration for their current way of thinking was university education – the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, and the Faculty of Multimedia Communication at the Tomas Bata University in Zlín, in the Czech Republic. For Wroclaw based The Codeine, the main source of inspiration is Instagram. “We mainly observe typography and poster designers. We like Swiss perfection.”

We asked Grzegorz Derlukiewicz, account director and branding and graphic partner of the Redcroft studio based in Warsaw, how online blogs and design tutorials have influenced the quality of graphic projects that are being created today: “In my opinion, blogs and websites presenting good design, but those that make research and choose interesting projects from the market, are very valuable. Many of them are interesting and inspirational. They give the opportunity to discover amazing talents, brands, and directions of thinking that designers from all over the world follow. However, conscious designers who observe the market and know projects published on blogs, certainly do not allow themselves to base on them. On the other hand, the tutorials have two sides of the coin. They have lowered the entry threshold to the industry. They made every person who has access to the Internet and often software without a license call themselves a “graphic designer” and is looking for customers to offer them their services. Unfortunately, by the same token the same people reduce the professionals’ rates, standards, and the quality of what we can see every day. Such projects do not develop the market, they do not educate customers about the importance of good design in our lives. Tutorials teach you how to use tools, but that doesn’t mean that they teach design. Designing is solving some problems, and not just graphic software operation. They will certainly not create style or taste for anyone. On the other hand, in the hands of a conscious designer, the tutorial can help develop competences and push the project even further, which is very valuable,” Grzegorz Derlukiewicz said.

The greatest advantage of the Lithuanian DADADA studio is the ability to analyse and to adapt: “We approach each and every project in a holistic way, which is why every meeting with the brand is both fresh and consistent. We started our business activity in 2006. Communication design, branding, and environmental projects related to brands are our main fields of activity. We always put our mind and heart into what we do. That is why in our opinion, we can inspire people around us to strive to create significant, successful, and lasting brands. We are honoured and happy to be able to participate in the competition for the visual identification of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum. It will be an important and inspiring task for the entire team and we are looking forward to begin our work,” the graphic designers at DADADA told us.

Logo – brand`s DNA and its visual sign

One of the members of the jury evaluating the work is Philippe Boulakia, an Israeli graphic artist associated with the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, co-owner and director of the Neo Group. He believes that the logotype is a conceptual essence in the process of developing brand identification. “It is the iconographic DNA of an institution or company that contains and expresses the number of rules in relation to its shape, typography, and colour. The logotype should be seen in two ways: as a cognitive and functional layer: “What does this sign express?”, “Do I immediately understand what a company or institution does?” The second layer is emotional and intuitive: “I like this sign, it is intriguing me, I want to be part of it” (“I’d even like to have it on my body”). The designers’ efforts not to evoke the feeling of déjà vu, their desperate desire to create a new and original iconography often conflict with the need for a message that is clearly communicated. The use of abstract, minimalist, and sophisticated forms offers a more sophisticated or even poetic analysis of the topic. It can be said that in recent years transparency has become a secondary value. The audience is more educated and focused on the reception of sophisticated visual media. A message that is too direct is perceived as out of date and foreseeable. We want to get excited about the signs that surround us, even when we don’t always know what they are about.” The need for a modern visual message is highlighted by Małgorzata Naimska, Director from the Culture Office of the Capital City of Warsaw: “I would like this identification in a modern, aesthetic, aesthetics is very important for me, and at the same time symbolic way refer to the mission of this Museum, which is to disseminate knowledge about the ghetto created in Warsaw by the German occupier for the Jewish population. It is very important to me that the symbols used are legible to people from all over the world. It will be very difficult, but I have great hopes related to this competition regarding this unique sign.”

Professor Sławomir Kosmynka from the Editorial and Digital Media Typography Design Studio of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, we asked what visual language should a museum of martyrology communicate and whether its visual identification must be completely subordinated to the mission and exclude, for example, bold colours. “I think that a museum of martyrology, like any museum and institution, and especially a cultural institution, should communicate using a modern visual language that is absolutely understandable to the recipient. Mobile applications have a huge impact on the characteristics and transformation of the modern language of visual communication. Their recognition and functionality determine the dissemination of the mission and information. Mobile devices have enriched the language of visual communication with dynamic and interactive aspects. Therefore, a contemporary cultural institution, a modern museum should use dynamic visual language.”

In my opinion, the visual identification of a museum of martyrology should respect the institution’s mission. It is a carrier of culture-creating values. The colour, or rather the colour key, has a symbolic and semantic layer. Its choice should not be limited only to an aesthetic layer or an arbitrary decision. In contemporary communication landscape colours and colour keys are subject to strict rationing and annexation. It can be said that, as in heraldry, they define and identify an institution or organization. However, breaking the rules, applying unusual and risky, free from the accepted rigorous schemas, typographic, ideographic and colour solutions has always been a condition of progress and modernity.

Competition results – 21 November.

Anna Kilian

Ph. STGU (The Association of Applied Graphic Designers)