Tag: Design Archives

Russia’s First Design Museum is Racing to Preserve its Greatest Soviet-era Treasures

Discarded financial documents, burnt archives at dachas [countryside houses], and metal closets missing keys for more than a decade. A Russian spy drama? It’s actually the true story behind the building of the Moscow Design Museum’s archive.

The institution, founded by two graphic designers, a journalist, and an architect (Alexander Sankova, Stephen Lukyanov, Nadezhda Bakuradze, and Valery Patkonen) has been racing against time to recover the quickly disappearing artifacts of Soviet design history. For a period that stretches from the 1920s to the dissolution of the union seven decades later, this means sifting through what has become discarded as junk and tracking down elderly designers who are surprised to be remembered at all.

“When we started collecting Soviet design artifacts, many designers cried out, ‘Where were you two months ago? I’ve just burned all my archives at dacha!’” explains Sankova over an e-mail interview. “They couldn’t believe that someone would ever want their archives for the museum.”

Read the rest in AIGA’s Eye on Design

How One Woman’s Search for Malaysia’s Design History Became a National Archive

The Malaysia Design Archive actually began in Havana, Cuba. In 2007, founder Ezrena Marwan visited the city for the Icograda World Design Congress, where, as she listened to Cuban graphic designers share how they were limited to creating propaganda by their country’s politics, Ezrena was struck by how different it was from her own experience as a graphic designer back home.

“We only design for commercial stuff, and we don’t really pay attention to anything else,” she says. “I was really inspired by how much they think about design, and how much it’s linked to politics and the land.”

She started collecting and documenting everyday graphics in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and shared them online. That marked the beginning of the Malaysia Design Archive, a website that traces the history of this Southeast Asian nation through its visual culture.

Read the rest at AIGA’s Eye on Design

How Singapore Became the Unlikely Poster Child for Good Government Design

Save precious water. Floss your teeth. Buckle up for safety. Those are just some of the truisms familiar to generations of Singaporeans. Since gaining independence five decades ago, the Southeast Asian city-state has seen countless government campaigns aimed to mold citizens who could live up to the nation’s leap from Third World to First. Design has played a central role in these efforts, as evident in the 6,000+ posters preserved in the National Archives of Singapore.

Since its establishment in 1968, this state institution has archived posters as part of its collection of material culture—including government records, maps, photographs, oral history interviews, audiovisual, and sound recordings—that are significant to Singapore’s history. Most of its posters come from government campaigns, with a small number created for cultural events, movies, and corporations.

Read the rest at AIGA’s Eye on Design