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Weekend Heller: Insight Into Indonesian Innovation

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Nigel Sielegar, principal of Corse Design Factory NYC, is an Indonesian-born designer with a special interest in promoting design in his native country. Towards this goal he recently published “Collected: Contemporary Graphic Design of Indonesia” co-produced with DGI Press in Jakarta. The book opens yet another window to the international scope of graphic design and typography (order here). I asked Sielegar to speak about the the book and design in Indonesia too.

As for the Government involvement, BEKRAF (The Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy) has shown interest in this project, and wanted to use it as a media to promote the graphic design industry in Indonesia. We are currently still in the beginning stage of discussions to see if that’s a possibility to explore.

Since the whole goal of this project is to highlights Indonesian graphic designers internationally, I thought it’s very important to have both outside and inside perspective within the curation. So, DGI and I decided to ask 2 designers from New York City (Eric Baker and Rafael Esquer), as well as 2 senior design figures in Indonesia (Sita Subijakto, and Gauri Nasution) to be the curators for the book. These four curators then given the task to select the 35 designers to be included in the book.

What were some of the biggest surprises in putting this together? This project certainly comes with a lot of surprises. I, personally did not realize how spread out Indonesian designers are. We received submission from around the globe. I did not realize how rich and diverse the work are either. Although, like a true Indonesian (and New Yorker), I really embrace this diversity. It makes the book interesting, and really paint a picture of the state of contemporary Indonesian Graphic Design.

It seems that design is healthy, which must mean business is healthy too. Am I right? Logically yes. I would love to think that the growth of the economy can be reflected in the growth of the design sector. However, one of the things that I learned from this project that, the design industry in Indonesia faces many difficult challenges and undergoing what businesses called “the growing pains”. But I have faith that if the design community (both local and abroad) can support each other, the design industry in Indonesia will certainly flourish.

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