Kireina R. Masri
Mahdi Albart, Ilham Bahri
Special thanks to
Grafis Masa Kini
News — 17.05.2023
Grafis Masa Kini: A Need for Thorough and Invested Design Media
It is in the nature of graphic design to never cease evolving. With that in mind, these developments should be nurtured through thorough and invested media coverage both for the benefit of design practitioners and the design audience at large. Awareness of the growth and prominence of design must start somewhere and this is where Grafis Masa Kini steps in.
In 2011, the same year he founded Visious Studio, Rege Indrastudianto started a blog at grafismasakini.com documenting his view on notable design projects in Indonesia. As an established designer and a studio founder he felt he had a voice to promote and highlight fellow designers in the country.
At the time, and arguably still today, most practitioners looked towards beyond the confines of the country for design inspiration or notable design practitioners. Often using foreign design media outlets like UK-based It’s Nice That and Creative Boom as well as US-based AIGA Eye on Design, which has earned their gravitas as respected design media outlets, as a compass to navigate the industry. This, however, did often mean that finding notable design projects and achievements from within the archipelago an uphill battle. Inadvertently, this also meant local studios and practitioners struggled to gain the limelight they deserved.
“Awareness of the growth and prominence of design must start somewhere and this is where Grafis Masa Kini steps in.”
Art and design coverage by mainstream Indonesian media outlets usually only skim the surface. Usually highlighting events like the opening night of an exhibition by already well-established artists or, more recently, large scale projects involving the government. The designers or studios themselves are rarely ever afforded the chance to fully give their side of the story regarding the process and weight of their work. This is the gap that Grafis Masa Kini aims to fill.
Proper media coverage of design is essential in its advancement. The very obvious benefit would be to raise awareness for local design studios and practitioners, affording them more gravitas in their regard. An industry thrives when its audience understands, even minimally, the complexity behind the craft. This manifests not only for designers and studios whose work is properly highlighted and contextualized, which can open many doors for them in terms of clientele or projects, but also as a greater awareness and appreciation from the public for the medium of design as a whole. This is then able to evolve into more direct economic benefits such as local designers and studios being able to retain the attention of local clients but also attracting the attention of international clients.
“Proper media coverage of design is essential in its advancement. The very obvious benefit would be to raise awareness for local design studios and practitioners, affording them more gravitas in their regard. “
Media coverage also contributes and helps bolster the legitimisation of the design industry. In Indonesia in particular, it’s not unfair to say that the progress of the design industry is a fairly recent phenomenon only occurring in the decade or two. A great portion of the credit must undoubtedly be attributed to those at the forefront of the industry as well as the Indonesian Graphic Designers Association (ADGI) who often liaise with the government regarding proper and healthy ways to engage with the Indonesian design industry as well as high profile government briefs like the G20 logo selection and IKN logo selection just past. On the other hand, the role of design media is to signal interest in the industry—to show that people are paying attention to this thriving medium, that there is a significant audience for it.
Design media’s responsibility is to ensure accurate and honest delivery of the designer’s story to this audience. Not to say that there is no room for design criticism but more often than not, designers aren’t given the space to fully explain their vision and narrative. With its revival in June 2022, Grafis Masa Kini takes this to heart by speaking straight to the source. Design studios and practitioners are given ample room to state their case and explain their process—to lay out the brief, the process, and the outcomes as they are from start to finish.
Grafis Masa Kini makes it their responsibility to be the first on the scene regarding the developments of the design scene in Indonesia and beyond, highlighting not only the industry bigwigs but also the fresh design graduates full of potential, giving the reader (design practitioner or otherwise) a look into the industry that is whole and and thriving.