Winners of the competition "EUROPE 2020 – Today for Tomorrow" in Zagreb (HR)
see the Call for entries,
the original web site
and the web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and European Integration of the Republic of Croatia for more information:
Thirty-seven designers from eleven countries and all the continents took part in the contest, which began on April 13 and ended on July 4 this year.
Their diverse ideas about the future of Europe resulted in 56 posters, which will be exhibited in the Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts from the 12th to 02th October this year (or from Sept 12 to 25, 2005, according to the Museum's site).
These are the winning posters:
1. Prize (6000 Euro)
2. Prize (3500 Euro)
3. Prize (2000 Euro)
Nebojsa Ugljesic and Marko Cizmesinkin
All posters can be seen at europe2020.mei.hr/lulu.html
Comment about the competition by Boris Ljubicic, initiator of the idea and president of the Croatian Designers Society
Europe needs to design its future, or rather to redesign its history so as to be competitive in the future that has already begun.
Within the context of the international changes that are occurring globally and throughout Europe, with the creation of free citizens of Europe as their ultimate goal, I have initiated and launched a design project "Europe 2020". I have promoted this futuristic project while passing over a slow and painstaking political integration and division of the countries into those inside and those outside. More than a hundred designers from the majority of countries have presented their design for the all-European community at two exhibitions in Zagreb entitled "EUROPE 2020". Their harmonious and highly professional works have confirmed the existence of a "unified" design language and created awareness of its European and global distribution.
What was the task of designers for the competition "Europe 2020"? Posters by European designers in their standard B1 format (70x100 cm) for an imaginary European community. Carrying the joint title "EUROPE 2020", represent an event of wider magnitude. These posters are virtual ones, because nobody has ordered, paid for or selected their creation (there was no selection, the authors were invited according to their reputation); therefore the effort of the authors to offer their vision of Europe's tomorrow cast an entirely new light upon graphic design and its role in the contemporary shaping of the world, our country, its capital.
High quality continues through both exhibitions, attesting to the international character of the language of design and aesthetics. However, as this is design without design, or more precisely the patterns for a potential ordering party, the designers were in an artist's position to express their attitude towards the subject by making their posters. The topic has been a complete success, which is reflected in the number of the works: a total of 205 posters on the given subject is a scale which has not been attained at international competitions with general topics, such as posters for the planet Earth, AIDS, world peace, etc., offering much higher financial prizes and attracting designers from all the continents as participants. For the sake of comparison, and with regard to this remarkable response by professional designers, let us imagine what the response could have been if the same task, to write a work in prose about the very same Europe, had been placed before writers... Yes, intellectuals ought to be the ones to make their contribution to the shaping of our continent. Designers have shown that such a contribution is possible: it will take time to see the results, which may bring the peoples, cultures and states on our continent closer.
The integration of countries also implies an integration of their identities into a single image on which designers have yet to work. Design is in every way in an advantageous position in relation to other intellectual work because it does not look back into the past but designs the future. Design can cross all types of borders, from cultural to economic, with the greatest ease. East and West, North and South are losing their traditional polarisation and are becoming a unity. This is an exhibition of design, and its message is directed to all of us.
Another special feature of these works lies in their "objectivity" in relation to the message's recipient; they are very rarely personal expressions. Even when that is the case, they are in the form of generalities and may therefore apply to all of us. Both exhibitions show, regardless of their formal and aesthetic alignment, varying views and varying attitudes towards the topic. A few authors expressed their fears and scepticism about the fulfilment of the idea of a free Europe and the equality of citizens of all the former countries on its continent, and this is, after all, a reflection of the current situation and the intellectual fears. A large majority of the authors have accepted Europe as the habitat of their civilisation and culture and the economic space for their development and progress.
In this regard, the works may be divided into five to six groups. The political group marked by pathos uses the smile as its motto, so often misused by politicians. However, it is precisely those posters that speak about communication as a way of communicating a message. The works with figurative motifs and illustrations present a social image or the diversity in Europe, as well as questioning its "roots" or identity. The political image is questioned by the works speaking about the "EAST" and the "WEST" of Europe and the created differences. The political divisions are still visible, the only difference being that they are emphasised by some authors and covered up by others.
Some have decided to level the entire space into a single image. A social and somewhat private vision is given by the authors who have no inhibitions about presenting personal details from their own life as a concrete and humanistic point to be counted with in the future as well. The fifth group may include the so-called "builders", who perceive Europe as a house being designed and built. There are also a few "Doubting Thomases", uncertain about the aim with which Europe rushed into its new future when it introduced the EURO. It is interesting that some designers outside Europe have also presented their works, thus representing in fact the European Diaspora.
I as the initiator of this idea see our continent as a unity having a clear visual identity. I therefore made a project for its NEW flag back in 1990. The European Athletics Championships in Split and the Eurovision Song Contest in Zagreb held in the same year were my design projects which questioned sport and light music as the most benign models for unifying and questioning the identity of the "Old Lady's" multinational and multicultural space.
The 1990 Typography Forum in Stuttgart also had typographies in Europe as its topic. Out of the 12 lecturers from all over Europe, I was in charge of Central Europe. My title was the letter "E", which I modified throughout Europe, thus indicating the similarities and differences in typography shaping. Europe is also the continent of Gutenberg... Europe is also the continent of Da Vinci; the leading figures of European culture are the foothold of its identity. Europe is the space in which Western civilisation has been formed. Furthermore, that Europe has been civilising the world for several centuries. That Europe does not have its own single image, its identity, its single currency for the entire continent, and many other things... Europe has its North and its South, and especially its East and its West. The Western European politicians are making efforts to unify Europe, whereas the Eastern European politicians are striving to come closer to it. What matters for a final unification of Europe is vision: what kind of a union we want. Various historical experiences and events, particularly from the 20th century, are not positive. Design is a new cultural, civilisational and economic attainment which focuses on the future rather than on the past. Europe needs visions of its future, and the designers of this continent must be and are capable of designing that future.
I hope that the design project "Europe 2020" has set in motion the first and important driving force for creating a unified European visual communication, not for the sake of totalitarianism but for the sake of humanism!
This is a design project (Europe 2020) open to ALL (East and West, North and South), the quality and the competitiveness of ideas will open up new horizons and perhaps visions so far unknown. The twenty-first century is a new challenge for the whole world, especially for Europe, because it is in the process of taking shape. The shaping of Europe is the task of design in the widest sense of that wide-ranging word, or more precisely a medium which changes the world. A respectable response both in number and in quality at both competitions provides a guarantee that design may be a synthesis for our continent. I am convinced that this will not be the end and that European graphic designers will find strength to continue fulfilling this or a similar project on a two-year or three-year basis by the projected year 2020!
The project must be revitalised with an always new thematic framework and a critical attitude towards the situation of today and tomorrow. The first exhibition was a mere "referendum" "for" or perhaps "against". The second exhibition established a dialogue between the project and reality. I believe that the worst examples should also be presented critically in the future, for instance the EURO, which has only a political level. What about the cultural level that Europe very much possesses? We are expecting more support both in Croatia and in Europe, and it seems that we are going to receive it, because the project "EUROPE 2020" is MORE THAN JUST DESIGN.