During my four years at Pratt Institute, I studied various styles of graphic design and their history. I noticed that we associate art movements, architecture, typefaces, fashion, and design with specific nationalities, geographical locations, or political ideologies.
A designer can take inspiration from the past to create new work, but the new work will always display the origins of the inspiration, thereby revealing the nationality attached to it. With the advent of technology and the internet, it has become a lot easier to be exposed to different cultures and their styles. This results in an era of graphic design where identity is no longer founded in nationality alone, but rather in the designer or the design studio.
In modern Russia, many designers believe that a specific Russian approach to design does not exist. But what if they underestimate the influence of culture, history, and surrounding reality on the style and aesthetic guidelines of those who shape our visual environments? How would someone describe Russianness? Is there a Russian aesthetic? What is the difference between the Russian aesthetic and the aesthetics of other countries and cultures?
Runikum is a template system that has as it’s starting point an exploration of the history of Russian vernacular design through typography.
Running parallel to this formal tool is an investigation of the globalization of graphic design through interviews and questionnaires.