Aleksandar Todorović

Serbian graphic designer from Bosnia and (Eva) Hercigova.

opener

Aleksandar Todorović
Serbian graphic designer from Bosnia and (Eva) Hercigova.

If you’re interested in creative exchange, sharing impressions or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me.

vrata

The Great Escape

In Spring 2010 I quit living in the Western world and run off to the deep Russian East. I ended up living in an orthodox monastery called Kirillo-Belosersk, almost 1000 km north of Moscow. Being there for more than two months with monks and strict believers changed my point of the modern and civilized world. Besides the enlightenment, I also got the great opportunity to help reconstructing an old church from the 16th century.

cologne

The Lion's Den

During my studies in Düsseldorf, I started to work as a gofer at the graphic department of the biggest European broadcasting network in Cologne (Köln): the fabulous RTL. Some accuse it of its brainwashing qualities, others see it as the best gap filler between hard work at the assembly line and sleep.

To be honest, for me it was one of the most authentic experiences in the field of graphic design. And it was great! I’ve never been closer to an accumulation of mass media culture, the ultimate peak of almost every contemporary artist’s inspiration.

ariel

Dedication

When I emigrated from collapsing Bosnia and Hercegovina to uniting Germany, this little cute red haired fish showed me how emotional, passionate, and self-sacrificing the Western World is. Dear Ariel, this spot is dedicated to you! Thank you for everything!

By the way, enjoy one of the best links on Youtube by clicking here!

effects_drei

effects_drei_1

Lightning Effects

This is just a visual study (thus, no conceptual, profound or ideological approach). For the Open Day at the Rietveld Academie, each design student had to re-create one name from the graphic department. For this, we all were assigned one Photoshop filter, whose effect we then had to transform and work with in analogue reality. I was assigned the “lightning effects”.

To create the letters, I used different light-producing media like floodlight, cat’s eyes and a scanner. Here you see a typeface made out of scanned red and white paper cut outs.

gent

Human Computing

Will Holder, a graphic designer from England, is not only extremely intelligent, he’s also an excellent fortune teller. Without telling us the aim, the procedure or the purpose of his workshop, he lead us towards expected and planned results, without interfering directly into our discussions.

Just by giving small hints, it was only a matter of time till someone proposed ideas which he had foreseen. The whole project was about simultaneous documentation of a specific happening.

At the end, we developed a method to simultaneously document the lecture series given in Gent, Belgium.

shigeru

shigeru_1

Bright Stereotypes

In Summer 2004, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban came to Cologne to give a lecture about his famous emergency accommodations in disaster areas, which are made out of paper tubes. Later on I had an interview with him, which is documented in the first issue of RAKETE magazine, a students’ publication, designed at the Fh Düsseldorf.

This is the visual outcome:
a poster based on Japanese stereotypes — bright neon colors, lightning, monsters and threatened Japanese. At that point I was affected by trendy, superficial and hyped styles which were state of the art at that time. Fortunately, soon after that, I found enlightenment.

leadership

leadership_1 leadership_1

Google Phenomena

Once upon a time, (well, ca. 2005) almost any conceptual graphic designer was indescribably fascinated by the sudden overload of arbitrary images, listed in certain web search engines, like Yahoo, Lycos or Google. Therefore, it wasn’t a big surprise that web search engines’ aesthetics were used for several publications.

leadership_1 leadership_1

As you can see, I was influenced by the Google phenomena as well: Look at my small booklet with a Google cover and Google images about arbitrary images. Phew.

dolls

World Domination

Don’t cha think I designed this poster. Don’t cha! But when I walked by the billboards for the recent Pussycat Dolls’ tour called World Domination Tour (superb title!) taking place in the great Arena of Belgrade, I had to stop and take a flick. On the poster you see them arriving on big motorbikes and producing a lot of dust.

Well, at first glance, there’s nothing special about it. But at closer examination, the picture reveals much more than you would expect. Believe me, such a poster wouldn’t have been imaginable at all in Belgrade a couple of years back ago. After years of war, crime and dictatorship, Serbia is still a country in permanent conflict between the overlapping West and the traditional affection for the East.

However, (and here it comes) there couldn’t be a better proof like the “invasion” of the Pussycat Dolls that Serbia is becoming an inherent part of the Western mass culture. If you want to westernize a country or you’re afraid of sceptic Eastern countries, just send them the Pussycat Dolls and they will do the rest. No wonder their tour is called World Domination Tour.

history

Through The (Browser) History

I have always been annoyed by the circuitous history documentation of all internet browsers. The only way you could browse through your history, were cryptical web links and if you were lucky, you could recognize a website by its favicon, only in case the page had one.

While I was playing around with Mac’s iPhoto application, I realized that this actually could be a great system for a web history. Icons, which are resizable, can display a certain amount of visited websites and create an easier overview. I came up with this idea in spring 2008. I guess, there’s such a thing already out there now, isn’t it?

I’d like to thank Luna Maurer, for being a great teacher and an inspiration. Cmok!

scab

scab_1

SCAB

Due to the weird war in Bosnia, my family couldn’t go back to their homes anymore. In December 1994 we found someone who was in the same situation, but from the other side of the front, who was interested in switching houses.

Since then our new house, which is located in the small town Bijeljina, is supposed to be our new home. Unfortunately, not much renovation has been done, because my parents have lost any ambition or strength to re-built a new cosy home. The garden, the facade and the interior are still decaying. By the way, Bijeljina is situated in the North-East of Bosnia and can be considered as the dustiest cultural desert in Europe.

Image gallery 1 2 3 4 5

But now, it’s time for a change! Finally, I took matters into my own hands and created a plan for this useless block. It will be called SCAB, which means Space for Contemporary Art Bijeljina, and it will be transformed into a leading art institution in the Western Balkans. The SCAB will offer three totally empty floors (plus potential sculpture garden) for cultural happenings, social activities and arty discourses. It will be the perfect spot in Bosnia’s outback. Also, it has the potential to become a leading sanctuary for the overcivilizied and spoiled West.

caledon

Continetal Caledon

Being a type nerd means loving to sit by yourself in libraries for hours, browse through dusty books and observe accurately shapes of sans serif, display or serif fonts. Also, while warming library chairs, a type nerd may come across a typeface which seems to be different, unknown, mysterious or which has been fallen into oblivion.

So the type nerd’s duty is to find out everything about the typeface and might consider digitizing it. In an ideal world, the typeface belonged to a bankrupt foundry, so there aren’t any problems with property rights.

For at least two months I was such a type nerd who found a quite interesting font called Continental Caledon, probably made between the industrial revolution and the beginning of the 20th century, somewhere in the UK. I digitized it and came across the successor foundry. They were interested in collaborating but due to the financial crisis they couldn’t offer me anything except an original film (which they found in their archives) as a present. At the end I didn’t agree and kept the font without using it even once.

section.a

Vienna Calling

I was commissioned to create a visual concept for the portfolio of the Vienna-based art and design consulting agency section.a, who organized the Austrian Pavilion 2013 at the Venice Biennale amongst other projects mainly in Austria and Europe.

grafi

im kultursektor

Der höher qualifzierte Grafik Designer mit intellektuellem Ansatz, tätig im Kultursektor, ist die Bezeichnung für einen zeitgenössischen Grafik Designer, dessen Visualisierungssprache sich hauptsächlich an vergangene Ideologien in der Kunst und dem Grafik Design [→Avantgarde, Moderne, Fluxus] anlehnt. Jedoch handelt es sich hierbei nicht um eine inhaltliche Weiterentwicklung bzw. Fortsetzung dieser Ideenwelten, sondern um eine rein visuelle (und somit oberflächliche) Bezugnahme. Auf den ersten Blick nicht erkennbar täuscht der kulturell ausgerichtete Grafik Designer meist ein direktes oder ernsteres Interesse an einer inhaltlichen Auseinandersetzung nur vor [→Egomanie, Selbstdarstellung, Facebook].

Die Assoziation Kultursektor im Zusammenhang mit Grafik Design wird oft als Aufwertung gesehen.

Die Verbreitungsgebiete solcher als besonders qualifiziert geltender Grafik Designer befinden sich hauptsächlich in kulturell stark ausgeprägten Ballungsräumen [→Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris], wo es zu hoher Konzentration kommen kann.

Hierbei teilt sich der Berufsstand in zwei Gruppen auf:

Gruppe Eins ist neben Arbeiten im kulturellen Sektor auch im niedriger qualifizierten Konsumsektor tätig, der aufgrund von Mangel an intellektuellem Ansatz oft kein hohes Ansehen genießt. Jedoch kann eine Tätigkeit im Konsumsektor meist nicht vermieden werden, da der Kultursektor praktisch als nicht rentabel bzw. selbstfinanzierbar gilt. Um einen unerwünschten Bezug zum Konsumsektor zu verhindern, verwenden solche höher qualifizierten Grafiker Pseudonyme und verzichten auf ihren Namen im Impressum.

Gruppe Zwei lehnt den Konsumsektor offiziell ab, hat gleichzeitig aber auch keine höhere Anerkennung oder Einkommen im Kultursektor. Der daraus resultierende Misserfolg führt zu einer ausgeprägten Identifizierung mit den Vertretern der oben genannten Ideologien [→Bohème, Selbstreferentialität]. Meist erhielten Künstler dieser Epochen erst nach vielen Jahren eine Anerkennung für ihre Leistungen und wurden erst im Nachhinein als “avantgarde” bezeichnet, welches Gruppe Zwei dazu verleitet, sich in ihrem Misserfolg als neuzeitliche Avantgardisten bestätigt zu fühlen. Der wesentliche Unterschied liegt jedoch im Umgang mit Grafik Design. Gruppe Zwei fällt eher durch das Auftreten auf Freizeitveranstaltungen wie Partys, Ausstellungs- & Galerieeröffnungen [→Berlin-Techno, zeitgenössisches Museum, Free-Drink] auf als durch eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit der Profession.

wallpaper

Dreams

I always wondered how Disney actors like Mickey, Tinkerbell or Ursula can really live their life's dreams within the script of commercial Disney movies. Well, we all have shitty day jobs to pay our bills, but I’m sure our colorful Disney friends also have secret dreams, to be part of serious contemporary dance, opera or modern theater one day.

Go on, show them some love and support, these wallpapers you can download here prove they could live up to their dream: Ursula in Verdi’s I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Micky and Minnie in Igor Strawinsky’s The Firebird Jasmine in Glen Tetley’s Le Sacre du Printemps and Tinkerbell in Brecht’s The Condemnation of Lucullus.

meta

META

I was commissioned to create a visual concept for the website of the Berlin-based art and science magazine called Meta. Visit www.meta-magazine.com

gold

Gold

And once again, I was asked to design a poster for the recent issue of design magazine RAKETE from Düsseldorf. It was about a famous product designer, who’s the inventor of a new fancy technique to create new fancy and expensive products (called “ready mades”) shown in some glossy magazines made for pretty and stylish people. Being quite a bit annoyed by the massive hype that surrounds this guy (some magazines even compared him to Duchamps!!), I really didn’t feel like being a consequent graphic designer and translate the given content into a coherent, conclusive and interesting visualisation. To be honest, I couldn’t care less. Thus, I did something that I had always wanted to do: design a golden poster!

jennifer

jennifer_1

Deformed Jennifer

In Spring 2008, designer Bart de Baets held a workshop at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Everybody was invited to experiment with the Jennifer Aniston cover of W Magazine (The Art Issue).

My first version ended up as an accidental homage to Cousin It
(a character from The Addams Family).

form

Form follows formality

Nein! Hier geht es nicht um die Form! Sondern um den Verfall (zur Formalität)! Und übrigens, die Dokumenta, dieses seltsame Etwas, das immer wieder in der Provinz stattfindet, weil es dort fernab vom Markt sei, und jämmerlich versucht avantgarde zu sein (Stand 1912), ist die Stiefmutter aller Formalitäten.

bosnia

Eva for President!

Once a Brazilian friend complimented on the name of my country of origin. She told me she liked the name Bosnia and Herzigova, and even suggested to skip the first part and only call it “Herzigova”. Unfortunately, she didn’t know that the second part is not identical with Czech supermodel’s name Eva Herzigova but is actually called “Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

Somehow I liked her light-headed and naive thought, especially when you consider all the reasons for the conflict-filled past of this small country in the South of Europe. Actually, all the conflicts resulted from desires to change existing political and religious symbols and names. My friend’s sweet suggestion gave me the reason to play around with the heaviness and importance of a country’s name.

Another two posters which are also listed somewhere on this website, evolved from this project.

ilija_zwei

No Glamour!

This is not exactly my own work. It is made by my Alter Ego, called Ilija van Doengen-Blitz.

Recent work 1 2 3

While most graphic design seems to be obsessed with glamour, van Doengen-Blitz’s work is conceptual and political. He’s an artist, who observes the mass culture, creates work dealing with mainstream objects, criticizes mass consumption, likes to surprise himself, is more interested in the process than in the result, believes in the victory of contemporary art, thinks he’s avant-garde, doesn’t commit himself to a specific medium, hates the art market, gets drunk at art openings, likes to expose himself and adores success. In short: an ordinary artist of today.

hcb

Outstanding Letterhead

In collaboration with fellow student Luisa Heinrich, I designed a letterhead for the recently founded association Het Centraal Bureau. Gijs Müller, head of the asso, wanted to have something experimental for the new CO, which stands out from any regular letterhead (sure thing) with a little sex appeal.

The idea: We took his request quite literal and developed a customized sheet of paper which is just a little bit bigger than a regular A4 sheet but still fits into a regular laser printer. At first glance, the difference isn’t noticeable, but as soon as you file a HCB letter into a regular folder, the coloured frame and logo Het Centraal Bureau, which is printed in the area that’ll stick out due to its larger size. The frames are printed in two different colors, blue and red.

philipe

philipe_1 philipe_1 philipe_1

Left Overs

While I was working for the SFW (Sexy Fashion World) in Paris, I designed Phillippe’s portfolio. At that moment, he was becoming the fashion director of the Parisian magazine L’Officiel. I didn’t know him before but he is supposed to be or still is an important figure in the SFW. One part of his portfolio was just showing a huge collection of miscellaneous fashion photography to demonstrate his sense for style, fashion and taste. When everything was finished, I could keep the whole image collection, which was great. However, since I’m not attracted to traditional beauty anymore, it’s just taking too much space on my hard disk.

kissme

Fuck You Kiss Me

Fuck You Kiss Me is Eva Marie Rødbro’s graduation work. In June 2008 she asked me to design the book for her work.

I have to say, it was one of the most relaxing and easy going collaborations I ever had – except that Eva Marie was a bit nervous because it was her end exam. We understood each other from the beginning and we could proceed fruitfully and without any moody egoist bitching till the very end. I guess that’s how it should be!

avh

No Comment

I had the pleasure to work on Anne Valerie Hash’s shopping bag.

masks

masks_1 masks_1 masks_1

Ready For Carnival

Once, me and my classmate Stefan Nauert organized a workshop (making masks out of paper) for homeless and drug addicted people in Amsterdam. We didn't do it because we were worried about our socially disadvantaged townsfolk. We did it as a school assignment supervised by Saskia Jansen.

In the beginning, it was hardcore to communicate with the homeless guys, not to mention working with them. Indeed, it was one of the weirdest and most difficult assignments I’ve ever got in my life. But it was really worth it. Of course, not because of the end result, but rather because of the things we went through.

flags

flags_1

Show Your Flag!

Nationality, an old-fashioned relict of the 20th century imperialism, has always been a source of endless fascination to me. Symbolic items like hymns, flags or any other obvious attribute are considered as pillars of an intact nationality. Especially the flag, which is one of the oldest abstractions, plays a major role in the presence of a nationality. An immediate recognition value and a strong symbolic meaning (at least that’s the intention) are transformed into simple color combinations and simplified shapes. However, due to the amount of countries and color combinations, it’s not a big surprise that many flags resemble each other.

flags_1

After residing in Paris for a while, which was followed by my immigration to Amsterdam, I noticed that my countries of residence (The Netherlands & France) and my country of origin Republic of Srpska (Serbian part of Bosnia & Herzegovina), have the same flag colors. It is funny (in a ridiculous way) that all of them are quite exchangeable and arbitrary, as soon as you change their angle of composition.

flags_1

Thus, my idea was to create new flags, emerging out of those three flags and out of my own graphic principals: The first one is composed out of all three flags, which are sewed together. The second one only consists of the blue parts of each flag and the last one is a reply to the various light reflections on a flag. After a while I realized that all of a sudden, almost every artist with roots in Eastern Europe play with the same methodology. Damn, I wonder, is there something, which can be done without subconscious or conscious influence?! This assignment was initiated by designer Floor Kommen.

effects_zwei

effects_zwei_1

Lightning Effects

This is just a visual study (thus, no conceptual, profound or ideological approach). For the Open Day at the Rietveld Academie, each design student had to re-create one name from the graphic department. For this, we all were assigned one Photoshop filter, whose effect we then had to transform and work with in analogue reality. I was assigned the “lightning effects”.

To create the letters, I used different light-producing media like floodlight, cat’s eyes and a scanner. Here you see a typeface made out of golden easter egg foil, while the scanner was moving.

homeless

homeless_1 homeless_1 homeless_1

Getting A Treatment

Sooner or later, a graphic designer will think of making a publication based on his own childhood, including traumatic events, hoping to obtain acceptance from it, which subconsciously works as therapy.

Well, a couple of years ago, I made a photo book dealing with the Yugo post-war struggle in relation to my own experiences. Probably, it even could have been a good publication (the subject isn’t that bad), but only if I would have skipped the personal view on it. Nowadays such egocentric publications simply run under the name of ‘fanzine’.

alexander

Alexander The Great

There aren’t really many parallels between Alexander the Great and me, except our names. Gary White, a frequent visitor to a homeless shelter who I became friends with, and who’s a big fan of the Renaissance paintings, saw more similarities in me and the great warrior. The painting was made by Gary, while he was giving me classes in traditional painting in one of Amsterdam’s homeless shelters. It’s showing me (quite identical), wearing an ancient armor plus a very serious and concerned expression on my face. I still wonder how he came up with the muscled body, that really isn’t me!

farenheit

farenheit_1

451 Fahrenheit

I guess everybody knows the story of Fahrenheit 451: a hedonistic and anti-intellectual society opposes books, the symbol for the source of knowledge and enlightenment. Referring to the plot, me and my colleague extraordinaire Aline Weyel redesigned the book and its chauvinistic ideas. We reversed the text, inverted the letters and printed everything on crude orange paper to hamper the reading. The cover shows a bone, bait for the hounds which are chasing the much hated folks who still own books.

The project was initiated by graphic designer Radim Peško as part of a collaborative project made at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2008.

weekender

THE WEEKENDER MAGAZINE

I proudly present: The Weekender Magazine. An beauteous publication about travelling, living and nature. For their current issue, I contributed a story about my adventures throughout Russia. Have a look and maybe order your copy at
The Weekender’s website.

ost

A poster

Aleksandar liked this poster on a wall and suggested you to buy a copy (750x594mm) and like it too.

rtvld

Fashion Show

This is the poster for the Graduate Fashion Show 2009 of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. It is based on the catalogue I did for the fashion department, which only shows models with their pretty faces cropped off. Away with affected faces and forced posing!

awto

Awto

Aline Weyel and me constructed our favorite car: a Citroën AX made in 1986. After an amazing hitch-hike trip through beautiful Europa we didn’t want to make a pretentious arty farty catalogue, documenting everything. We just wanted to build a car!

Image gallery 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

pattern

No Idea!

Sometimes you’re so attracted by something and you just don’t know why. This exactly happened to me and my colleague Aline Weyel when we found a crazy looking sewing pattern. Without having a concrete idea we were searching for a method or purpose to implement it into something new and different. However, at the end we gave in and just reprinted the pattern in nice colors. To make it even more spectacular we printed it on an A0 sheet. No arty farty, but at least we made a nice poster for the wall!

father

Coming up soon: Excellent footage of great gymnastics excerises performed by my very sporty father!

hypnose

Some Corny Stuff

The perfume Hypnôse by Lancôme is one of the most successful fragrances in the world. To keep up that status, Lancôme developed a new version called Hypnôse Féline. I was commissioned to do the design. Looking back and reflecting on the whole project, I did quite a corny, commercial job. It was fun but I just wonder if I’d like to do something like this again. And if so, I wonder, how would it look like after my glorious studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie?

mainson

Joys/Choice Of Living

New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Moscow, Berlin – every city sports a specific appearance in order to attract a certain group of people. Some cities seem to be so cool that some people would drop everything and do everything to live or be part of that city.

Image gallery 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Walking through Belgrade, a rather unattractive example, I realized that dozens of empty mansions from the past centuries were left abandoned and rotting away. After the socialist regime and the country’s collapse in the 90s, the city has got a lot of unused spaces. Standing in front one of those beautiful mansions, I wondered why we are so drawn to the hipster spots and choose miserable life quality, just to be part of something which is actually quite abstract. I also wondered how many great and fantastic ideas, conclusions, enlightenments or even movements are actually hidden behind those walls and never will be discovered, just because no creative mind is ready to start a life in a hype-less spot. Well, maybe I’ll do it one day!

disney

Reunion

In spring 2007, my greatest wish came true. I took this picture to celebrate the reunion with the best childhood friends I’ve ever had: Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Minny.

ruscha

The Information Man

American artist Ed Ruscha was really keen on knowing what happened to his books, once they were published and sold. In 1972, he came up with a fictive solution for this in an interview with the New York Times, a figure called Information Man, a character who was supposed to tell him about the whereabouts and state of his books, once they had reached thousands of book shelves. The Information Man, according to Ruscha, would then list banal facts about the books, like which ones ended up in in libraries in a vertical position, which could be considered badly worn, or which books were simply abused as a device to nudge open a door.

Image gallery 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

It was a challenge to find a common and simple visualization for all those different and quite specific facts. At the end I created various compositions, which were meant to relate and emphasize the banality and absurdity of Ruscha’s accounting. This assignment was initiated by designer Julia Born.

I have to confess that the choice of using the colors blue and red appears a bit arbitrary, but I was so fascinated by this impressive combination that I went on with it for some time in my work.

costume

costume_1 costume_1

A Wearable Poster!

Graphic designer Aline Weyel, photographer Mariska Kok and me created a costume for the Rietveld Graduate Show 2009. We decided to use paper, a material more familiar to us, because we weren’t skilled to design and sew complicated outfits out of cloth. We developed a shape, which, once cut out, is ready to wear without further sewing and can be wrapped around the body. Well, we didn’t expect that the outcome would look like a typical Chippendales outfit, but still, it makes everyone wearing it look awesome!

volga

The Motherland Calls

I think I was ten when I first saw the The Motherland Calls statue located in Russian city Wolgograd in a book called Mega Buildings in the Wallmart book section. Back then I had no explanation why the American Statue of Liberty could be seen everywhere, when this was the even bigger, crazier and freakier one, somewhere in far far Russia. Looking at the picture, I got a bit sad because I thought I would never get so far. Well, in summer 2010 I finally visited the gigantic lady standing on hill in far far Russia.

rakete

The Pink Rocket

This is the first issue of the student’s design magazine RAKETE, produced at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf in 2005. It consists of a variety of posters, all of them dealing with one particular topic. I did one of them on the architect Shigeru Ban (it’s listed somewhere here). In 2006 RAKETE won an if-award.

trick_drei

Magician’s Trick

This project is about a fictive Serbian magician called Aleksandar and his trick, which was done during my exchange semester at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

Being an exchange student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie can lead to social and creative isolation, at least when you first get there. Your way of thinking doesn’t confirm with the Rietveld way, which can result in profound frustration and struggling with yourself. But then, after months of hell and agony, you finally get to the enlightening turning point, where everything seems to be so easy and clear. Eventually, everything turned out to be completely fine (of course).

Three posters evolved from this project. They’re listed somewhere here as well.

rts

rts_1

RTS

There’s no such thing as good taste in Serbian television’s decor. Extremely colorful interiors made out of cheap materials, mostly packed with sponsored logos, plastic flowers, a flat screen which is supposed to symbolize up-to-dateness and visible rough corners between the blue screen projection and the real world, are elements of an average Serbian studio.

Compared to flashy graphics or elaborate corporate designs seen on CNN or any other Western TV station, Serbia’s TV appears very unprofessional, inexperienced or simply totally inadmissible. On the other hand, this unconscious unprofessionalism creates a certain charm.

Observing the first national channel called RTS (Radio Televizija Srbije) or in Cyrillic PTC, one absurd fact attracts attention: Five differently designed number ones represent the channel’s logo, which I collected here. There probably were several graphic designers assigned to design a logo, and in the end, they used every single draft. But Serbian viewers don’t seem to care or even notice the difference.

ljotic

The Boring Book

Some time ago I found this book in an old library in Belgrade. The book was extremely boring, but I really liked the font on the cover, so I decided to digitize it. In case you like it as well, let me know and I’ll send you a latin version. It’s for free, of course.

holandija

Eva for President!

Once a Brazilian friend complimented on the name of my country of origin. She told me she liked the name Bosnia and Herzigova, and even suggested to skip the first part and only call it “Herzigova”. Unfortunately, she didn’t know that the second part is not identical with Czech supermodel’s name Eva Herzigova but is actually called “Bosnia and Herzegovina“.

Somehow I liked her light-headed and naive thought, especially when you consider all the reasons for the conflict-filled past of this small country in the South of Europe. Actually, all the conflicts resulted from desires to change existing political and religious symbols and names. My friend’s sweet suggestion gave me the reason to play around with the heaviness and importance of a country’s name.

Another two posters which are also listed somewhere on this website, evolved from this project.

cubes

At Least Good Looking

During my exchange semester at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, I designed a game, which wasn’t playable at all, at least I didn’t put so much effort in making it playable. At that point I was too much affected by superficial aesthetics, not paying attention to consequent and smart concepts. But at least it was good enough to take sexy pictures. Consequently, being blended by the typical arty and pretentious setup (white background, scanty description), almost nobody would question its concept or meaning. For some people a superficial and fake presentation totally does it. Everything above or beneath this fact is not relevant. Dear graphic design, how could we do this to you?!

deutsch

Desperate Effort

In 2004 I had the marvellous idea to apply for an unpaid (stupid me) internship at the upcoming SFW (Sexy Fashion World) in Berlin. Eventually I was stranded at the so called Deutsch Magazine, which just had published its first two issues at that time. Actually, I didn’t like the design so much, but I was intrigued by its potentials as a new magazine, which I thought would allow me to risk things and experiment a lot. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Looking at the magazine now, it hasn’t become an alternative to already existing fashion magazines, it is rather another desperate German effort to play in the upper league of high-end fashion magazines.

Dear Germans, I really don’t know why, but this just doesn’t work for you. Please leave it to the French, Italian (or maybe Swedish) or really start to think about a smart and brilliant alternative to all the glossy boredom out there. Maybe just stop being so German for a start!

ground

short interview

Graphic designer Roman Gornistky from St. Petersburg had some questions. And I had some answers.

What, in your opinion, makes a designer a good designer? What is of utmost importance in this profession?

If you ask me, good graphic design can never follow down the path of least resistance. Always doubt your decisions. Force yourself to do things you wouldn’t normally dare to do. Don’t ever feel confortable about your work, even if it has reached a wider acceptance, keep questioning its relevance. Basically, don’t expect anything from your achievements. Don’t try too hard to be original, instead, try to be consequent, clear and honest to yourself. Don’t ever base your work solely on visuals and aesthetics. Don’t refer to or base your work on famous great artists or movements, create your own logic. Don’t aspire to be avant-garde. Don’t perceive graphic design only as a service to satisfy a client, and don’t ever work to only surprise your client, always try to surprise yourself. And most importantly: Don’t ever take things too seriously!

Sounds like this approach can produce really unpredictable outcome — from brilliant solution to total failure. And the path to the final result is always unclear. But are there any general rules or formulae in your practice? If design is unpredictable, what is design theory and what should students be taught in design schools?

In my opinion, theory is just a desperate effort to keep up with an artist’s indefinable and unseizable mind. The artist is the uncontrollable figure of action and the theorist is just trying to implement logic and explain the artist’s decisions to a wider audience. Nothing else. Theory shouldn’t be taken too seriously and it shouldn’t be decisive for an artist’s work. I’d like to see that students are taught to be aware of this fact. Of course, they should learn about past ideas and movements in art and design. But at a certain point, students should also develop their own way of thinking and proceeding, maybe in a way which doesn’t appear necessarily conclusive and is not based on past achievements. And no, I don’t have any general rules or formulae in my practice, expect that I try to contemplate every possible direction of a work.

In your design practice you probably make some designs that you consider “bad” and some that you can call a success. Can you tell in general, why good design that you made turned out to be good and why your bad designs happened to be so? What reasons in the process, in your opinion, influenced the outcome?

To be honest, I don’t ever know if a new work is going to be good or bad. I think an artist can’t ever be sure if something will succeed or fail (an artist’s dilemma.) Sometimes, I’m really convinced about a work and then nobody likes it. And sometimes I create the biggest bullshit and people think it’s great, and there’s no real explanation to this. Still, I think an artist should be brave and dare to break out of comfort zone; and instead of aiming at good or avoiding to create bad design, the work should rather bring up the question of what is actually good, and what could possibly be bad.

If you’d be absolutely free to choose any commission you’d like, what would be your criteria for judgement? What a perfect assignment looks like in your opinion? What applies of graphic design do you consider good and which are dull?

I’m fine with any kind of project. I just need the freedom to think in any possible direction, good and fruitful talks with the client or the collaborators, which in the best case lead to a genius idea. A perfect assignment depends more on the given conditions than on the given subject.

usti

usti

Le Corbusier 3.0

Google maps is an incredible application. It is the perfect playground for creating megalomanic or nuts city concepts à la Corbusier, Archigramm or Albert Speer (from above, of course). No money, annoying civil movements or boring monument protection are keeping you from your great plans and fantasies. Here you see the city of Ústí nad Labem (Czeck Republic) which recently went through some radical digital changes (first picture).

mini

December 2012

Every year, car brand MINI Cooper launches their calendar, each calendar sheet designed by a different artist, supervised by Meiré & Meiré. For MINI’s 2012 calendar I was asked to partcipate and create something for their December model. December 2012, I guess you know what they say about that month, right?! See en gros

paris

Chu Chu La Praline

From January till August 2007, I lived, worked and had a good time in the capital of France.

abstract

Abstract Or Not Abstract?!

Standing in front of this famous painting in the Central House of Artists in Moscow, I felt a bit sorry for it. Somehow the abstraction in arts, which in the beginning was filled with conceptual meaning, intellectual ideas and revolting ideologies, became totally worn out like any other style in arts. Super-boring: the ‘I-make-something-which-you-don’t-understand-at-first-so-you-start-making-your-own-intepretations’ concept. Well, at least I don’t feel intrigued by it.

trick

Magician’s Trick

This project is about a fictive Serbian magician called Aleksandar and his trick, which was done during my exchange semester at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

Being an exchange student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie can lead to social and creative isolation, at least when you first get there. Your way of thinking doesn’t confirm with the Rietveld way, which can result in profound frustration and struggling with yourself. But then, after months of hell and agony, you finally get to the enlightening turning point, where everything seems to be so easy and clear. Eventually, everything turned out to be completely fine (of course).

Three posters evolved from this project. They’re listed somewhere here as well.

belgrade

The White Cube

My unofficial, handmade gift for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia. It can be perceived as a seasonal Land Art sculpture, which completely adjusts to its surroundings; here, the object becomes a symbol for the unity of the natural and unnatural. Or it might be just a melting snow cube standing in a park.

abn

abn abn

Typo Trojan Horse

Without having a specific idea, me and my companion Stefan Nauert wanted to do some arty work in one of those impressive, empty buildings in Amsterdam’s business park Zuidas.

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Unfortunately, we couldn’t get closer than to the front desk. They were really strict and only people with permission were allowed to enter the upper floors, of course. Nevertheless, this wasn’t a reason to give in. If we couldn’t get into the building, someone with a permission had to do the job for us. So, we came up with the idea to write a text in huge letters, which asked the people on the upper floors to take a picture of it. It perfectly worked. We received over a dozen of images from different floors and without even entering the building, making it one of my most favorite projects.

bosnaa

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I lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina till the funny Bosnians wanted to mark 20th century’s history once again by starting the war in 1991. Here you have some impressions of this tiny country in the East.

lostinfo

lostinfo_1

Lost Information/
Lost In Formation

Wherever we turn our web cursor, we see fake polished, shining metal surfaces, blinking in various colors. Almost every website has at least one button which fulfills those criteria.

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By deleting the images and the texts of approximately 100 miscellaneous websites (from Aral to Zara), I gathered a huge collection of rudimental, useless websites, while at the same time I gained an interesting insight into contemporary webdesign. Regardless whether it’s designed for entertainment, news, sports, or arty stuff, it’s easily identifiable for which purpose the website is made. Only the origin is not recognizable: From China to Chile, everybody is using the same visual patterns.

beo

Bèo Magazine

Did you ever design a magazine, book, or any other publication which is not written in a language you read or understand at all? Well, I did it. It was the Vietnamese youth magazine Bèo.

network

Düsseldorf’s Destiny

Even though I stopped studying in Düsseldorf, I was asked to design another poster for the school’s student magazine RAKETE. As far as I can remember, it was about a brand new networking company talking about networking. Hm. However, looking at it now, I only see extremely badly ragged text! Gosh, why did not anybody prevent me from doing this?! See what you’ve done!

montenegro

Belgrade Calling

In summer 2005 I went to Belgrade (Serbia) to work as an intern for a small graphic studio. At that time I was more intrigued by getting a taste of graphic design in the mysterious East than being well payed in the spoiled West. Well, I expected too much: it’s semi-professional, not ready to risk and it doesn’t think outside the box.

At the end I was making really stupid commercial design for a Serbian beer brand, dictated by a sleazy marketing director from Montenegro. Luckily, I went back to the West, where everything is EXACTLY the opposite.

hands

hands_1

Interactive Class

The interactive class at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie is something special, something you wouldn’t experience in any other school. Two enthusiastic teachers are forcing you to come up with fabulous ideas. At the beginning, you’re so overstrained by the enthusiastic expectations, but in the end, you realize everything was just bound to happen like this.

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In our case, we had to come up with rules, then to be executed by different people, so called human computing. I think it was about creating new and unexpected content, with consistent guidelines but individual interpretations. For the first class I asked everybody in my mailing list to take a picture of their own four fingers in front of a blue background. The result was okay but slightly boringish until I received an image from someone who really sported four fingers only. For real! Well, always expect the unexpected.

alielli

Together with illustrator Elisabeth Moch, I founded Ali&Elli Inc. We create fabulous logos and flamboyant atmosphere for high-class clients!

madonna

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Global Style

No, I didn’t work for Elle Magazine (yet). And no, I’m not a Madonna fan (she has some good dance songs, though). But I was amazed when I found this interesting website, showing almost every cover of the February 2006 issue from different countries.

I mean, isn’t this a great documentation of our today’s society? A globally successful musician meets a globally distributed magazine meets a globally used typeface.

If you’d like to see the whole collection, please click here.

srbija

The Unbearable Lightness
Of Being
A Graphic Designer

Sometimes we are intrigued by objects without knowing their purpose — without even knowing if it represents something good or evil. Here you see the perfect example. Once I found this old poster, beautifully faded throughout the years. I hung it on my wall. However, I think this person was considered as dangerous and ruthless in WWI. Oopsies!

trick_zwei

Magician’s Trick

This project is about a fictive Serbian magician called Aleksandar and his trick, which was done during my exchange semester at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

Being an exchange student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie can lead to social and creative isolation, at least when you first get there. Your way of thinking doesn’t confirm with the Rietveld way, which can result in profound frustration and struggling with yourself. But then, after months of hell and agony, you finally get to the enlightening turning point, where everything seems to be so easy and clear. Eventually, everything turned out to be completely fine (of course).

Three posters evolved from this project. They’re listed somewhere here as well.

names

Interesting Artists
I really like:

Carrero Meming-Gartner
Ravil Rez
Antun Stätten von Brauch
Mirowin Leatovich-Lev
Uno Benec
Ilija van Doengen-Blitz
Vila Rubia Krk
Saber Urška
Giacomo Alencov
Evert Vern
Adrio Bella Rui
Erling Vennett-Hjalmaar
Eyoel Beko
Prvin Schennedag
Davorin Šuma-Pust

sofia

Sofia Design Week 2011

For the Design Week in Sofia, capital city of Bulgaria, I was invited to talk a bit about my work, things I do next to work and my relation ship with the Balkan countries.

castle

Mickey Supports Culture

To be honest, I don’t have such a strong opinion on the Berlin art scene. However, there’s one thing going on which might be the greatest happening in art ever: the reconstruction of the Prussian castle in the heart of East Berlin. I do think that’s a remarkable idea because it also punches the arrogant and crusted contemporary architecture scene right in the face, those people who are totally superficially obsessed by the “new”, considering this as the only possible solution.

Unfortunately, the project is on hold due to skyrocketing costs. I suggest to contact Mickey and Minney alias Walt Disney Imagineering – they make hotels, theme parks and cruise ships – and co-finance the whole project. I mean, they have a lot of experience in building castles looking like this anyway. Maybe the facade will be rosé but hey, the only purpose will be the same anyway: to attract millions of tourists every year.

statement

statement

kozara

lostinfo_1

Artist In Residence

In August 2010 I was asked to participate in the artist in residence project organized by the Bosnian city of Prijedor. Eleven artists, all of them painters except me, were invited to make art, basically paintings in the forests of the Kozara Mountain which is famous for a battle between the Yugoslav Partizans and Nazi Germans in 1944.

Being the only one who’s not a painter I had to come up with an alternative to create a painting, which would also satisfy my own demands towards myself. At the end I made small stencils and stenciled twenty “paintings” re-intepretating the famous 70s concrete monument, built for the winning Partizans on the top of the mountain.

Here 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 are some impressions from the bizarre Kozara Monument.

lostinfo_1

By the way, while I was thinking about an idea in my hotel room, I rediscovered one of my favourite tv programms of all time The Nanny! Oh, bliss!

effects

Lightning Effects

This is just a visual study (thus, no conceptual, profound or ideological approach). For the Open Day at the Rietveld Academie, each design student had to re-create one name from the graphic department. For this, we all were assigned one Photoshop filter, whose effect we then had to transform and work with in analogue reality. I was assigned the “lightning effects”.

To create the letters, I used different light-producing media like floodlight, cat’s eyes and a scanner. Here you see an installation made out of cut-out letters and a huge reflector. The series consists of seven posters.

cats

No Glamour!

This is not exactly my own work. It is made by my Alter Ego, called Ilija van Doengen-Blitz.

While most graphic design seems to be obsessed with glamour, van Doengen-Blitz’s work is conceptual and political. He’s an artist, who observes the mass culture, creates work dealing with mainstream objects, criticizes mass consumption, likes to surprise himself, is more interested in the process than in the result, believes in the victory of contemporary art, thinks he’s avant-garde, doesn’t commit himself to a specific medium, hates the art market, gets drunk at art openings, likes to expose himself and adores success. In short: an ordinary artist of today.

theory

Whatever

Idea art, concept art, minimal art, classical art, applied art, meaning of art, changing of art, sense of art, consequence of art, freedom of art, state-of-the-art, Museum of Modern Art, art theory, art academy, art master, art gallery, art director, art book, artificial. So many art forms and none of them helped me to understand art. During my end exam year I tried to dig into the art theory and art history of the late 20th century, just to understand why we are where we are. Conclusion: Keep your hands off! There’s no absurd timewasting activity like this!

magazine

RTVLD Mag

Start: Together with photographers Anika Schwarzlose and Jonas Lund, I was asked to design the fashion catalogue for the graduation students of the Rietveld Academie’s fashion department of 2009.

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Challenge: How can a Rietveld fashion designer stand out from the harsh, ambitious and extremely fast moving fashion world?

Solution: The unique conceptual Rietveld approach has to take center stage and has to be presented in a convincing way.

Idea: The school acts as a toolbox to create different set-ups for the shoot. From the building itself to the lockers and students as models. Everything could be possible.

Drawback: The head of the fash department doesn’t like the idea of using unprofessional stylists, and especially unprofessional models.

Procedure: Professional models and professional stylists, who are usually working for Dutch fashion magazines, are doing the job. The set-ups are reduced to plain walls and some colored pedestals.

Disillusion: The photos look good but also they could have been made for any known fashion magazines. The school’s building serves as a decorative element only. Thus, I don’t see the outstanding and critical idea anymore, which an art school should apply.

Revolution: I’m so annoyed by the chichi faces and the forced posing that I decide to (literally) crop it all out.

Disaster: The head of the fash department doesn’t agree at all. We're having an issue but I don’t give in.

Bare your teeth and carry on:
I decide to base the catalogue’s visuals on typical fash mag visuals to emphasize my radical point of view. Also, by critisizing a convention in fashion, I’m forced to question certain visual conventions in graphic design as well.

Result: People have difficulties in using classical words for the description (great, ugly, nice, beautiful, boring), because it’s just none of the them. It is just a weird thing, which is strong in its statement but doesn’t conform aesthetic expectations. And that’s what I wanted!

typemanual

typemanual_1

Typography Manual

The urge to express ourselves by leaving notes reaches far back into the past of human history. Drawing on walls, engraving signs in stone, scribbling on paper, printing and publishing all had similar purposes, depending on human believes, fears, ideologies and needs at that time. The following contribution, which was made by me and my fellow student Andreas Tscholl, shows a historical overview of how technical evolution changed the appearance of the written word, and how that influenced societies and their histories. It is an exclusive selection, which reaches from, obsession of power in the ancient world over medieval conspiratorial publications to modern forgeries.

Download the pdf-version here.

The project was supervised by graphic designer Laurenz Brunner and it is part of the typo-manual, made by my class in 2008.

armory

The Pro & Contra Show

Together with Stefan Nauert, I created a TV-show, for which we invited different guests from various art periods. Our aim was to bring on the eternal discussion about what’s art and what’s not (or what’s good art and what’s no good art) to a conclusion. Six students were impersonating characters from Andy Warhol to Zara Hadid, and almost every influencing artist, gallery owner, art collector, art historian or art critic was invited to take part in our round.

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The dialogues were made up, using quotes from the respective figures. In the end we edited them into a dynamic discussion.

The whole show is documented in a script, which we’ll continue on soon. Oh, and by the way, don't think this is something serious. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?!

rietveld

Gerrit Rietveld Academie

An academy, which might cause a radical, profound and enlightening turning point in the perception of graphic design — and it even might make you a fantastic man or woman.

beweg

Alexander/Aleksandar

Alongside taking part in Gerrit Rietveld Academie’s Next Top Designer, Season 2008/09 (final exam), I was working a lot with the Danish artist Alexander Krone. Here you see the poster for the exhibition ‘In Beweging’, organized by him.

todorovic

todorovic_1

Family Matter

One of my toughest clients definitely was my sister. After she did her M.A. in Astronomy, she asked me to design her website. I really thought nothing could be simpler. Poppy-cock! I didn’t expect so much awareness and sense for perfection from an astronomer. I was wrong!

But hey, someone who’s observing one of the most fascinating and intriguing phenomena of all must be aware of certain aesthetics, right?!

germany

Eva for President!

Once a Brazilian friend complimented on the name of my country of origin. She told me she liked the name Bosnia and Herzigova, and even suggested to skip the first part and only call it ‘Herzigova’. Unfortunately, she didn’t know that the second part is not identical with Czech supermodel’s name Eva Herzigova but is actually called ‘Bosnia and Herzegovina’.

Somehow I liked her light-headed and naive thought, especially when you consider all the reasons for the conflict-filled past of this small country in the South of Europe. Actually, all the conflicts resulted from desires to change existing political and religious symbols and names. My friend’s sweet suggestion gave me the reason to play around with the heaviness and importance of a country’s name.

Another two posters which are also listed somewhere on this website, evolved from this project.

portugal

West Coast

From time to time, I also do photography. Preferably, I create contemporary still life compositions, made out of random objects found in random places. Lovely, isn’t it?

Check it out here! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

flacon

Paris Calling

Unbelievable, but true: Once upon a time, I was asked to design the follow-up fragrance for the French cosmetics company Lancôme. To be honest, I didn’t have any clue how to do it, because up to that point I hadn’t considered myself as an industrial designer. But after I took a brief look at luxurious fashion objects, I just went on with the task without greater problems. At the end it was great to discuss, formulate and develop the design which should impress young, preppy and preferably French or American girls to buy this heady fragrance.

Unfortunately, the project was postponed for an indefinite time, due to radical changes in the human ressources department – the guy in charge got a better position at Victor & Rolf.

doggy

Strike a pose, doggie!