I Ecuador Poster Bienal

«Modern designers need to remember that the brain is the most important thing that they need to develop»

On march 16, 2017 it was an exhibition opening of the first Ecuador Poster Bienal in Lublin at the house Spotkania Kultur, the President and the chief convener of which was Christopher Scott, world-famous social awareness poster designer. Taking the opportunity I have written to Christopher and he decently agreed to answer some of my questions.

Christopher Scott is an internationally recognised social awareness poster designer. Born in Northern Ireland, he received both a bachelors and a masters degree in Design and Communication from the University of Ulster, Magee.

The concepts of his posters are paramount to his visuals, and his work communicates strong and meaningful messages with humanity at the core of his designs.

His work has been exhibited in Mexico, Russia, Ecuador, Germany, Poland, Italy, Peru, Korea, the United States and many more countries worldwide, including the Louvre in Paris, France. He has been a member of multiple international juries and he is also the President and Founder of the Ecuador Poster Bienal, Co-Founder of Poster Poster and the Founder of Designers Speak.

Currently he is a Professor of Graphic Design at the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial.

Hi, Christopher!
The first Ecuador Poster Bienal took place this year. Could you please tell a bit about where from the idea to organize it came and what was the initial impulse to arrange this event?

There was a few reasons to why we started the Ecuador Poster Bienal. During the start of 2015 I had a meeting with my good friend Santiago Gómez in a restaurant in Quito, Ecuador. Here in Ecuador we have so much talent that often they no one get the opportunity to showcase that creativity on a global platform. So the principal idea was to make something Ecuadorian and at the same time international that the country could be proud of. In my case Ecuador and the poster medium have both giving me so much and this is my way to give back to such a beautiful country and to such a perfect evolving medium of communication ‘The Poster’.

How many posters were received from all over the world? I noticed two posters from Ukraine at the exhibition. And how many paricipation requests did you receive overall from Ukraine?

For the first edition we received an astonishing 9620 from 84 countries. The reception to the Ecuador Poster Bienal has been amazing so the point were it has left me very humbling and extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us so far. The reaction from Ukraine has been great. We received 78 posters from Ukraine of which 3 designers where selected: Oleksandr Protsenko, Nikolay Kovalenko and Marina Kostanda. So thank you Ukraine for helping to make this dream come through.

I know that the jurors were all very famous and competent professionals, respected in the world of design. Could you please tell about the main criteria that you used when selecting particular posters to participate in the exhibition?

The Jury selection process was very difficult for the first edition because throughout the world there is so many wonderful poster designers that I admire alot. In relation to the criteria there was a many important things we considered; but the main thing was their contribution to the poster art on a personal and international level. Personally I believe it was a very strong jury that combined iconic names like Lex Drewinksi, Andrew Lewis, Jessica Walsh, Stephan Bundi and many more. One of the objectives of our jury was that it grabbed the attention of the public and that it inspired the young designers to participant in our competition.

You have been working with posters for the whole of your life. From this vantage, what does the poster mean to you? What is it, in your opinion, that is the most important to take into account when working on the poster and could the poster have its after-life beyond the borders of the exhibitional space?

The poster means everything to me. It is a place where I can play. It is a place where I can express my opinions in a visual format. It is a place where I feel all kind of emotions from being happy to sad, stimulated to frustrated, confident to nervous and many more. The poster is so simple and that is why it is so difficult. The most important aspect to a poster for me is that it communicates something to the world. It has been evident in the last 10 years or so that the poster lives beyond what we normally conceive a poster to be. The future of the poster format is going to be very interesting to observe such as the motion graphics, gifs, interactivity and more. While other mediums die the poster always seems to surprise us and it is for me the ultimate form of visual communication because of its adaptability and lastability to how the world evolves everyday. Something that is interesting is how the poster can use the other senses that we have not just the sight (vision) but how can we touch the poster, hear the poster, taste the poster and smell the poster.

I know that you hold the chair of professor at Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial. Could you tell about your teaching experience and practice? What is the main idea in this profession, the one that you would like your students to accept and develop? In your opinion, what are the most important problems when it comes to the education of graphic designers in your country and what would you like to change?

I have been a professor in Quito, Ecuador for nearly 5 years and I feel privileged and humbled to guide the young designers of this beautiful country. It is a huge responsibility however I would not change it for the world. My principle idea as a professor is what I always tell my students in the first class that I cannot teach you to be a designer but I can inspire you to become what you want to be in life. The problems we have in the education system of graphic designers in Ecuador is that we often compare it to other careers in the academic process. We have to realise that graphic design is not like other careers and that a more practical approach needs to be given to the students. For me design is about practising again, again and again until you find your way. Sometimes we focus too much on the theory and less on the practical aspect of our career which for me is a huge mistake. I would change many things in the academic system of graphic design in Ecuador which I believe will make Ecuador a powerhouse of design internationally.

How do you think which traits of character a contemporary designer must possess? 

A contemporary designer must remember the past but also adapt to the future. They also need to remember that technology is important but it is not everything. Technology is a tool and nothing more. Modern designers need to remember that the brain is the most important thing that they need to develop.

Could you give a piece of advice to beginning designers?

To be obsessive. To observe the world around you. To travel.

What would you like to change in the field of design in your country? Do you have a vision of graphic design in your country in the future?

That we understand the value and important of design for the development of our country Ecuador. The vision I have for graphic design is that we have many exhibitions, events that give appreciation to all the talent we have in Ecuador, because here we have so much talent however often the designers do not have an opportunity to showcase that creativity to young designers, professionals and the general public.

What is the main rule of your life?)

To work hard.

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