Graphic design is without doubt a young but promising branch of the creative economy in Ukraine. With the growing demand for marketing needs worldwide, art-directors, designers and illustrators create compelling content to communicate key messages through visual mediums, both for printed work and also online.
One of the oldest and graphic design events in Ukraine is ‘The 4th Block’ international triennial in Kharkiv. It is a unique exhibition intended to reveal the latest trends and innovations in contemporary poster design, as well as other visual arts, which have an environmental aim or connotation. Inspired by the tragic events of the 1986 explosion on the Chornobyl atomic station (hence the name), ‘The 4th Block’ has gone on to become the most internationally impactful graphic event in Ukraine, with topics such as corruption, digital reality and mental health, and other ongoing global issues in the focus of its attention.
The annual Ukrainian Design: The Very Best Of creates a platform for designers to present their works in 5 nominations: Graphic Design & Branding, Digital Design, TV/Promo & Video Motion Graphics, Product Design та Environmental Design.
The team behind the ‘Projector’ creative community organizes the biggest interface design conference in Eastern Europe, which is Krupa. The topics of the conference are centred around interface design, UI/UX design, product & project management, product design, web design, art direction and future of design — all in relation to social innovation.
In recent years, Ukrainians won the hearts and minds of the jury of international creative competitions. For example, Banda.agency and Republique received the bronze award Cannes Lions and won Red Dot Design Award for branding Eurovision-2017. Another bronze winner of the Cannes Lions is the agency ISD Group with the AI Versus project which used an artificial intelligence (AI) system. Ilya Anufriienko and Kateryna Anufriienko received the Young Lions Silver Award in the Print category for a project for UNICEF and WWF.
Enjoy an amazing book design by Agrafka Art Studio. Their editions are recognized as the world’s most beautiful ones at the numerous national and international competitions and festivals in Ukraine and worldwide.
Should you be a true fan of printed media covers, get to know Kyiv based illustrator Sergiy Maidukov who is working for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Esquire.
“Just as Ukrainian identity, Ukrainian graphic design experiences today a stage of its active development. The process often reminds me of a rollercoaster.
Some Ukrainian graphic designers are internationally recognized and awarded, while others were left due to the lack of resources – both intellectual and financial. Best practices of the native old masters who performed mostly abroad are only now revisited by the professional community. Meanwhile, the significant influence of the international environment is experienced. Preserving the authentic uniqueness in the vivid global context’s stormy conditions has become one of our primary tasks.
Another critical cultural question is how to combine the bright naïve sincerity that Ukrainian art is well-known for with the corporative strictness the modern world sometimes requires. A predominance of the emotional over the rational also characterizes our branch – perhaps, this artistic anxiety keeps us alive and sometimes even successful.
Ukraine’s modern graphic design scene can be seen as a young yet promising countercultural phenomenon with a constant clash of opposing views.”
By Yurko Gutsulyak, Ukrainian designer, European Design Awards, Red Dot Awards, Pentawards, Dieline Awards, Epica Awards, Graphis Awards and Communication Arts winner