Gjorgji Despodov's book is a must-read for taking mass consumerism out of graphic design
“My creative approach to design is to create a strong impression of the external form with an implied narrative,” says the North Macedonia-based multidisciplinary designer.
- Joey Levenson
- 7 April 2022
Gjorgji Despodov’s colourful and exciting take on the world of graphic design is a much-needed breath of fresh air within the industry. Mainly working out of a range of disciplines such as graphic design, art direction, 3D visuals and illustration, Gjorgji creates work that challenges mediums as much as it does celebrate them. “Graphic design in particular is exciting to me as a medium because it combines the communication and philosophy of art,” he tells It’s Nice That. “It gives you lots of opportunities to help society, and graphic design is a language in itself; it is a means of communication.” No better is this philosophy exemplified than in Gjorgji’s deeply intellectual and mesmerising new book Skip Ad – the very publication which fixed our attention to Gjorgji in the first place.
“Skip Ad is a research project through which I rethink the role of graphic design as a tool for critical reading,” the designer explains. “The whole research starts from the premise that graphic design, today, is most beneficial for mass production, through which it shapes the world of our needs.” Starting from there, Gjorgji created a “playful” artistic method he called the “session for self-discovery.” It’s a process that allowed Gjorgji to point a critical finger at mass consumerism, opening up “the possibility for an alliance between the graphic designer and the users,” he tells us. “Graphic design uses particular mechanisms to address users' needs; this project uses the very same mechanisms to assist us in discovering our individual and essential needs.” It’s been made possible by sponsorship from the Prince Clause Fund for Culture and Development, and the publisher PrivatePrint – a testament to Gjorgji’s captivating and promising career.
As for the visuals of the book, Gjorgji points out that “the graphic language in the way of treating the entire space in the book can be defined as conceptual.” In this sense, the book maneuvers through the “space of the graphic designer” without any given need to create an advertisement or a product, both of which we’ve come to expect as a given for today’s contemporary and budding designers. “Hence it can be said that the graphic language in the book is completely free of content,” Gjorgji adds. “The reader or viewer is left to interact with the space of the book, more precisely, through the playful short self-discovery session, which is the only content in the book, to experience the graphic design in another form where the consumer himself creates the content through his needs.”
It’s a daring and bold task to take on, but Skip Ad truly delivers on the promise and Gjorgji proves himself as more-than-equipped to do so. “The visual experience is as if the whole idea of the book is inverted in its meaning, we browse the book but at the same time we move through images that do not lead us anywhere exactly,” he explains. “On the other hand, the time we spend leafing the pages are becoming our time without ads and the daily invasion of images, and that explains the title Skip Ad.”
As Gjorgji continues to seamlessly move through physical and digital environments, and create truly inspiring graphic design, we wait with bated breath for his next moves. “My work is always inspired from the bizarre late-80s films, television and advertisements, strengthened with digital techniques and colour composing,” Gjorgji summarises. “And my visual vocabulary is influenced by pop art, 80's cinematography and drag culture.” Now, Gjorgji is preparing his debut solo exhibition, and hopes to push the limitations of North Macedonia's art scene – one genre-defying piece at a time.
Gjorgji Despodov: SKIP AD, Book spreads (Copyright © Gjorgji Despodov, 2021)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.