Post A: A Deeper Insight into Design

A-Z-BOOK-Front-3

(Satria 2010)

It is inevitable that to some extent, design is certainly influenced by its local context in some shape or form. As such, design should always cater to achieve a social, political and cultural understanding of the local context in order to convey a message or meaning. Interestingly, in Gautam and Blessing’s article, they pointed out the difference in culture whereby western cultures view things by “dissecting objects into components” whereas in Asian cultures, they tend to view “objects in holistic terms” (Gautam & Blessings 2007). It’s an important fact to remember as designers, and with Indonesia being such a fascinating subject, it’s no doubt something that has to be considered when designing for them.

Unfortunately, the work of Indonesian graphic designers has often been overlooked, despite their focus on contextual factors “which social and cultural beliefs and attitudes can be seen ‘reflected’ in graphic design” (Barnam 2005). Although now almost lost in history after Indonesia was liberated, various designers have teamed up to create a book called the ‘Desain Grafis Indonesia dalam Pusaran Desain Grafis Dunia (Indonesian Graphic Design in the Whirl of World Graphic Design)’ in an effort to archive all of Indonesia’s graphic design past. (Zhuang 2016)

One particular design that was especially thought-provoking is the ‘A-Z of Archipelago’ typography book designed by five different Indonesian designers through intense research for over ten years. LeBoYe Design won the Indonesian Graphic Design Award in the Typography category for their beautifully crafted book that pays homage to Indonesia’s different areas which are filled with rich history and culture, which is very similar to my experience in what I have seen in Banjarmasin- the celebration of traditional values and their pride in it. Reminiscent of batik designs in the font which I personally experienced myself through the sasirangan printing workshop in Banjarmasin, LeBoYe Design cleverly weaved their experience with Indonesian culture and adapted it into a very modern yet decorative font that is relatable for locals and appeals to foreigners alike. As such, the ‘A-Z of Archipelago’ is a perfect example of how “geographical context may influence the practice and results of design.” (Julier 2006).

LeBoYe Design explains their concept where:

“We can see these symbols applied as exquisite patterning on textile, architectural details and other items of practical use. The specific embellishment are telling us many things including the cultural area, the technical method, the social use and other related meaning. Such as Lokcan pattern from Tuban, East Java, which is ornamented with Chinese phoenix bird as an emblem of beauty; and valuable double-weave Patola silk out of Gujerat is well known as prestigious inter-island trade during Dutch colony. Some patterns even have ceremonial/religious functions, or indicate the power/status of the owner. For example, Aso or dog-dragon head motif of upper Mahakam entitled only to high nobility members. Those glorious traditions to ethnic craft are testimony to cultural diversity of Indonesia and superlative craftsmanship.”

Through this, it is clear that Indonesians are extremely proud of their culture and traditions- with this design piece aiming to respect it in a very intricate and multifaceted manner. Furthermore, in order to appeal and relate to a more modern society, LeBoYe Design used “vivid colors like blazing red, bright turqouise and purple-ish silver, the graphic style direction is to display Indonesian culture in a contemporary way.” (LeBoYe Design 2010).

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(Satria 2010)

Graphic design in Indonesia doesn’t seem to have held a large popularity, yet the designs that are produced there are refreshing and meaningful- paying homage to their own society and culture at the heart through meaningful metaphors and messages. In an effort to keep graphic design alive in Indonesia, DGI’s bureau chief Ismiaji Cahyono says, “The history of Indonesian graphic design is a record of the evolution of ideas and values produced by the nation’s people…Having a knowledge of our profession’s roots projects a sense of pride and identity, a foundation for future development. For an industry often overlooked, we hope that the book is not too late to inform and inspire current and upcoming generation of designers.” (Zhuang 2016)

References:

Barnard, M. 2005, Graphic Design as Communication, Routledge, USA & Canada

Gautam, V. & Blessing, L. 2009, ‘Cultural Influences on the Design Process’, Human Behaviour in Design, Vol, 9, No. 12, pp. 115-122.

Julier, G. 2006, From Visual Culture to Design Culture, Design Issues, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 64-76.

LeBoYe Design. 2009, A-Z of the Archipelago, weblog, WordPress, viewed 1 February 2018, <https://leboye.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/a-z-of-archipelago/&gt;

Satria, A. 2011, A-Z of Archipelago, Jakarta, viewed 1 February 2018, <http://cargocollective.com/agrasatria/A-Z-of-Archipelago&gt;

LeBoYe Design. 2010, A-Z Archipelago, Agra Satria, viewed 1 February 2018, <http://cargocollective.com/agrasatria/A-Z-of-Archipelago&gt;

Zhuang, J. 2016, Saving Indonesia’s Graphic Design History Before It’s Lost Forever, AIGA Eye On Design, New York, viewed 1 February 2018, <https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/saving-indonesias-graphic-design-history-before-its-lost-forever/&gt;

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Post C: Interview with Dipa on foreign music in Indonesia

Since coming to Banjarmasin, what I have been repeatedly reminded of was how different my lifestyle was in Sydney in comparison to Indonesia, as well as how deeply rooted they are into their traditional culture. However, interestingly, I discovered through my interview with a young girl named Dipa, who is currently studying a Mathematics course, was the surprising similarity that we shared in terms of music in Indonesia.

While chatting with Dipa, I learned that modern music in Indonesia is actually greatly influenced by mostly outside cultures. In particular, for people in Dipa’s age group and younger (around 20 years old), the most prevalent and popular music is known as ‘Korean pop’. Dipa informed me that Korean pop (known colloquially as ‘k-pop’) is hugely popular in Indonesia, especially amongst young girls. Historically, the pop industry in Indonesia has always been influenced by foreign music (Shim & Jung 2014) and that “Since the mid 2000s, K-pop has become a ‘cool’ and ‘modern’ sensation in the local pop market, a phenomenon driven in large part by the power of youth fan networks on social media” (Shim & Jung 2014). Furthermore, “Indonesia has been identified as the fastest-growing K-pop market in Southeast Asia” (Jung 2011). Judging from this, it is clear that k-pop is hugely popular and widespread in Indonesia.

Dipa also informed me that she found that girls in high school especially were very dedicated to their idols. Their huge popularity is highlighted in Samantha Hawley’s article, where Indonesian girls believe that Koreans are “very cute in terms of appearance, the colour of their skin, the colour of their eyes…” (Hawley 2016) and so Dipa’s social media would be completely full of posts relating to k-pop idols. She mentioned how heavily influenced they were by this phenomenon better known as the ‘Hallyu Wave’ and how abundant this was across mass media. This is further reinforced by Sun Jung who discovered that “Indonesian media, including television programs, pop music, books, and magazines is heavily influenced by the world beyond its borders…in the last two decades of the twentieth century, satellite and digital technologies, and the related financial integration of the world have made it infinitely more difficult to keep foreign cultural products outside national media borders” (Jung 2011).

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Mashtia 2016 | The Fandom for Idols – A Survey Report on Kpop Fans in Indonesia

Notably, as I researched further into this topic, I discovered that “one of the key attractions of K-pop, according to many Indonesian fans, is its modern, cool attributes” and that it is a “carefully manufactured hybridized pop product that combines both East and West as well as global and local cultural aspects.” (Jung 2011) Dipa also mentioned that due to the massive fanbase in Indonesia that is following K-pop, concerts that are performed in Indonesia have also been drawing huge fans from all across Indonesia. As such, it “is clear that the new form of Korean Wave is adding significant cultural experiences to young Indonesian and creative industry in the country.” (Anwar, P. R & Anwar W.W 2014)

After discussing with Dipa and hearing her opinions on the influence of k-pop on modern music in Indonesia, I have discovered just how much Indonesia is continuously influenced by foreign music and styles. Through this interview and research, I have learned that the foreign music scene plays a dominant role in Indonesia’s music scene and how much mass media is able to create such a cultural globalisation. Judging from this, to what extent will this cultural globalisation affect Indonesian youths and their traditional lifestyles?

Reference List

Anwar, P.R. & Anwar, W.W. 2014, ‘The Effect of Korean Wave on Young Generation and Creative Industry in Indonesia’, Modern Society and Multiculturalism, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 65-89.

Hawley, S. 2016, Music, fashion, drama: Indonesians ‘falling in love’ with South Korea, ABC News, viewed 25 January 2018, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-04/indonesians-in-love-with-south-korea/7899628&gt;

Jung, S. 2011, ‘K-pop, Indonesian fandom, and social media’, Transformative Works and Cultures, vol. 8, no. 1

Mashita, F. 2016, The Fandom for Idols – A Survey Report on Kpop Fans in Indonesia, Jajak Pendapat App Blog, viewed 25 January 2018, <https://blog.jakpat.net/the-fandom-for-idols-a-survey-report-on-kpop-fans-in-indonesia/&gt;

Shim, D & Jung, S. 2014, ‘Social distribution: K-pop fan practices in Indonesia and the ‘Gangnam Style’ phenomenon’, International Cultural Studies, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 485-501.

 

 

Post B: ‘Scared Smokeless’

Campaigns for tobacco control have used design as an effective medium in delivering confronting messages about the effects tobacco can have on your health as well as others. But to what extent do these design initiatives have to go to in order to bring awareness? The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) responded by implementing “extensive tobacco regulatory strategies, including the enactment of comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship activities. Such bans have been shown to be effective in reducing tobacco consumption, both in developed countries and in developing countries” (Kasza, K. et al 2011) It seems that being passive about this problem isn’t how some design agencies decide to solve the problem; which in turn leads to very provoking designs.

Let’s take a look at one of the most famous shock advertising anti-smoking campaigns; the 2007 ‘Get Unhooked’ designed by the advertising agency Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy in London. Funded by the UK Department of Health, this ad was a series of confronting images and videos of people with fishhooks in their mouths in which a clear comparison is drawn with the addictive nature of tobacco and encouraging smokers to quit. The controversial nature of this design initiative was hugely successful; becoming “one of the most famous advertising campaigns during the entire year, attracting a whopping 90% awareness among smokers and the highest ever volume of response from any anti-smoking campaign previously run by the Department of Health.” (Haynes 2012) despite it being recalled due to the 774 complaints it received with its shocking and graphic nature. This “five-week campaign sparked hundreds of complaints from people who found the images offensive, frightening and distressing, particularly to children.” (BBC News) yet the Department of Health argues against the Advertising Standards Authority in believing that the campaign helped to deliver a clear message to smokers.

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According to BBC News, the Department of Health said an “anti-smoking helpline and website had been contacted more than 820,000 times during the Get Unhooked campaign” and added “that he believed the adverts had achieved the right balance between raising awareness of the dangers of smoking and its addictive nature, with the need to do so responsibly and in line with industry codes.” (BBC News) The transdisciplinary creation of this campaign that was developed “with health professionals…had not meant to cause distress”. (BBC News) yet its success supports the idea that “Antismoking messages that produce strong emotional arousal, particularly personal stories or graphic portrayals of the health effects of smoking, tend to perform well; they are perceived to be more effective than others, are more memorable, and generate more thought and discussion.” (Durkin J.S et al 2009).

 (Jaramillo 2007)
 (TheAdMonkey 2007)

Likewise, Laura Wallis in her article ‘Scared Smokeless: Graphic Antismoking Ads Increase Quitting Attempts’ claims that “According to one new study, ads that evoke strongly negative emotions like fear or sadness, or highly graphic images of diseased lungs and other smoking-related illness, are more effective than other types of ads in getting people to try to quit.” This is reinforced by the New York Adult Tobacco Survey which analysed 8,780 current smokers over the age of 18 (2003-2010) and found that “greater exposure to highly emotional or graphic ads to be positively associated with quitting attempts in the previous 12 months, whereas exposure to ads that focused on advice on quitting, offered encouragement to quit, or highlighted the dangers of secondhand smoke had no such association.” (Wallis 2013) Indeed, “some experts have criticized fear-based anti-smoking campaigns, saying they go too far or that their short-term benefits fade once their audiences become inured to the images, but the evidence in this study makes a strong counterargument that such ads do in fact work.” (Wallis 2013)

Ultimately, it seems that these type of ‘in your face’ design initiatives are able to grab people’s attention despite its gruesome nature, as the ‘Get Unhooked’ campaign’s “phenomenal success amongst its target audience…went on to win Marketing Week’s Best Campaign of the Year award in 2008.” (Haynes 2012) So who’s had the last laugh now?

Reference List:

BBC News. 2007. Hooked Smoking Ads ‘broke rules’, UK, viewed 14 December 2017, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6658335.stm&gt;

Durkin, S.J., Biener, L & Wakefield, A. M. ‘Effects of Different Types of Antismoking Ads on Reducing Disparities in Smoking Cessation Among Socioeconomic Subgroups.’ American Journal of Public Health, vol 99, no. 12, pp. 2217-2223.

Georghiou, N. 2007, Get Unhooked, adeevee, viewed 14 December 2017, <http://www.adeevee.com/2007/01/the-department-of-health-anti-smoking-message-right-hooked-woman-left-hooked-print/&gt;

Haynes, R. 2012. Design Insight: The most shocking anti-smoking posters ever made!, solopressblog, weblog, viewed 14 December 2017, <https://www.solopress.com/blog/print-inspiration/design-insight-the-most-shocking-anti-smoking-posters-ever-made/&gt;

Jaramillo, R. 2007, get unhookedvideo recording, YouTube, viewed 14 December 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMRFIU_sADI&gt;

Kasza, K. A., Hyland, A. J., Brown, A., Siahpush, M., Yong, H.-H., McNeill, A. D., Cummings, K. M. “The Effectiveness of Tobacco Marketing Regulations on Reducing Smokers’ Exposure to Advertising and Promotion: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol 8, no. 2, pp. 321-340.

TheAdMonkey. 2007, NHS anti smoking – hooked, video recording, YouTube, viewed 14 December 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anFK9SA5kKw&gt;

Wallis, L. “Scared Smokeless: Graphic Antismoking Ads Increase Quitting Attempts”, The American Journal of Nursing, vol. 113, no. 2, pp. 16.

 

 

Post D: Batik’s Battle against Modernisation

Usually when we think of traditional Indonesian fashion, we think of colour…and lots of it. With over 300 ethnic groups present in Indonesia, each one has their own regional costume that is unique to them. However, due to the pressures of fast modernization, are the ancient methods of textile production such as balik being lost?

Batik is the oldest form of textile decoration present in Indonesia, which uses a dyeing process where “melted wax is applied on the cloth with a special pen called ‘canting” (Haake 1989). This would reserve the white areas of the cloth, which is then removed post boiling. Thus, the repetition of this technique would lead to beautiful patterns and vibrant colours.

The batik is very significant in Indonesian culture and history, where it has both a local and international role. Locally, batik is a representation of their identity and cultural heritage, which is used in a range of different areas including religious and ceremonial rituals, to more domestic areas such as indoor furnishings and decorations. Internationally, Evi Steelyana W believes that, “The role of batik in international diplomacy…gives significant meaning for batik as a commodity which preserve Indonesian culture.” (Steelyana W 2012) Teruo Sekimoto also supports this notion, as “In the fields of textiles and fashion design, batik has an international reputation” (Sekimoto 2003)

 

However, in contemporary society, traditional Batik production is now facing the influence of rapid globalization of Indonesia. Especially in Java, “batik making is deeply rooted in the history of Java and Indonesia” (Sekimoto 2003) There is now a dichotomy between economic and cultural practices of this technique which has been increasingly modernized due to foreign European and Asian influences, including the imports of different cotton, chemical dyes replacing traditional dyes as well a decline of skilled batik artisans and shortage of buying power (Hitchcock & Nuryanti 2016) As such, the batik industry has suffered a huge blow, namely due to the screen printing industry, which does not involve the traditional wax-resistant dye. Although this didn’t have much influence at first, the print industry developed so rapidly that it was difficult to decipher the difference between a printed batik and a wax-dyed one. Traditional batik makers also took a toll from huge mass production firms. Thus, Sekimoto believes that “the golden age of batik lies in ancient times and every change the modern era has brought to batik has been negative: modernity always means the decay of tradition” yet ironically, it is due to this decay that we have developed such a traditionalist view to it. After all, it seems that modernity has allowed batik making to survive into a “modern industry representing Indonesian tradition” (Sekimoto 2003) without being completely lost in its battle against globalization.

mapping-02
Presence of traditional batik artisans in 1950 on the island of Java (Jin, M. 2017)
mapping1-01
Presence of traditional batik artisans in 1980 on the island of Java (Jin, M. 2017)

 

 

References:

  • Cohn, F. L. 2014, Traditional ‘canting’ technique, From Bali to Bala, viewed 7 December 2017 <http://frombalitobala.com/art-work/traditional-batik/>
  • Expat Web Site Association Jakarta. 2017, Batik, the Traditional Fabric of Indonesia, viewed 7 December 2017, <http://www.expat.or.id/info/batik.html>.
  • Haake, A. 1989, ‘The role of symmetry in Javanese batik patterns‘, Computers & Mathematics with Applications, vol. 17, no. 4-6, pp. 815-826.
  • Hitchcock, M & Nuryanti, W. 2016, Building on Batik: The Globalization of a Craft Community, Routledge, UK.
  • Oxford Business Group. 2017, Modern role for Batik in Indonesia, viewed 7 December 2017, <https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/modern-role-batik-indonesia>.
  • Sekimoto, T. 2003, ‘Batik as a Commodity and a Cultural Object’ in Yamashita, S & Seymour Eades, J (ed.), Globalization in Southeast Asia: Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives, Berghahn Books, United States.
  • Steelyana W, Evi. 2012, ‘Batik, a Beautiful Cultural Heritage that Preserve Culture and Support Economic Development in Indonesia’, Binus Business Review, vol. 3, no.1, pp. 116.
  • Strand of Silk. n.d, Screen printed batik, Strand of Silk, viewed 7 December 2017 <https://strandofsilk.com/journey-map/batik/production-technique>.