Back in mid-2011, Dorota Stachowicz from Hesign Publishing & Design in Berlin got in touch with us about sending in an entry for a global compilation of iconic designers. After that we were so busy with our work that we forgot, so it was a delightful surprise when this beautiful book appeared in the mail.

“One by One” is a book on global graphic designers that showcases country by country starting with the letter “A” for Argentina and ending with the letter “V” for Venezuela. It’s an encyclopedia of selected graphic designer representing 47 countries, 477 designer, and 3477 pieces of work. Each designer is allocated one page, resulting in a total of 643 pages in this well-crafted and wonderfully finished book! Countries like German, Switzerland, the USA, France and the Netherlands dominates the list and China (mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan) and Japan dominating the Asian sector. LeBoYe, surprisingly, was the only one representing Indonesia, a big honor to be showcased along all these outstanding designers.

The book has a great, diverse selection ranging from Legendary like Saul Bass, Milton Glaser and  Massimo Vignelli to the younger generation like Stefan Sagmeister, Karlsson Wilker, Erik Adigard and Sato Kashiwa. It’s wonderful to see Iranian designer Majid Abbasi’s  beautiful contemporary work alongside that of the talented young designers of Russia, Switzerland, and Finland.

“One by One” publisher Hesign is a design firm based in Germany. This idealistic project is dedicated to graphic designers around the world. Through its pages, we can see what other designers in the world are doing today and what kinds of problems they are all facing as a graphic designer today. I highly recommend this book to other graphic designers.

Long live graphic designers!

Introduction “ One By One “

Written by Jianping He

Every time I visit a book fair, I feel restless for the next two to three months. The books being published this year is only a small part compare to the tons of books being exhibited. Indeed standing in the book fair being surrounded by the sea of endless books, I clearly felt the insignificance of an individual. I was exhausted and no longer wanted to design or to edit any more books.

Worldwide designers who helped gather all the information supported One by One and got it published. I’m pleased but couldn’t help being a bit nervous. Will my readers be just like me no longer wanting to look at graphic design when they see so much information about designers? Just like me feeling exhausted from the book fair. There are millions of designers in the world. Look at all the Universities “producing” piles of designers each year. I was shocked by the rate of growth in numbers. With more and more graphic designers, facing an increasingly shorter time to design, we almost lost our time to think. Indeed having technological tools helps control the designs but graphic designer still face similar design issues. Graphic designs with national identity and border features are both being demolished by the advanced information technologies, there’re no longer traditional “Swiss style” or group features like “Japanese style”.

Graphic design is now simple and lost its technical respect when under the rapid expansion of demand and popularization of information and technology. Indeed because of the unitary craftsmanship in printing and the repetitiveness in mass production, graphic design is discriminated by both technology and art. The sense of crisis in graphic design is getting stronger. For general designers themselves, being ignorant in theories, history and other knowledge system, etc. They’re not interested in supplementary academic knowledge. Graphic design became vulgar, unilaterally being seen as a pursuit of commercial profit, losing its status in academics and arts.

On the other side, for graphic design today, the quality of design is not changed by the increasing quantity of designers. In fact, we are still seeking for the appearance of outstanding graphic designers, great graphic designs are always too less.

Apart from the need of aesthetic improvements of general society, the formation of an ideology system is important for bringing graphic design back to the academics and to regain it’s dignity. Those who underestimate the value of graphic design are those who neglect thinking and creative values. For internal professional developments there’re few attempts we can try: closer integration with fine arts, closer integration to theory studies and history, personal expression of ideas and aesthetics.

As we rarely see good posters on the city streets we exclaimed, “Poster is dead!” While the new dynamic medias are flourishing we exclaimed, “Paper media is dead!” When e-books and e-magazines are coming out one after the other. What’s important is, designers without thinking is the same with designs without creativity, shall all be eliminated. Designers can’t prevent the change in media and the advancement of technology, nor to be confronted against it. I always think of the story of Sha Er while the new media is challenging the traditional media.

Chinese writer Feng Jicai created a character called Sha Er in one of his fictions. It’s about a young martial artist Sha Er from Tianjin city using his excellent skills in Queue Kung Fu conquering the martial scene in the Qing Dynasty, there he won the reputation of “Divinity Whip”. After entering the era of the Republic of China, people no longer wore queues, Sha Er lost his queue but still he was determined and focused on practicing his skills in spears, while facing his past enemies staring at his bold head he made the famous saying, “The queue is gone, spirit still here!”

Creativity is unlimited; the pursuit of creativity and innovation should be the motivation to extend the vitality and development of graphic design. Designers are invincible only when they have clear thinking and distinctive creativity. Technology, form, means of expression, media and audience psychology are factors that will change, but to designers, I think the most significant factor which has to remain unchanged is design ideology. That’s the spirit of design, which has to be persisted.

With so many excellent designer in One by One, regardless how social media and technology changes, or what other difficulties they’re facing, are all chances to show the charisma of this industry, these designers are writing history, establishing self-esteem for the profession and career they love.

This book is also dedicated to every unknown graphic designer.

Jianping He



Written by Ignatius Hermawan Tanzil , LeBoYe

Comprising a variety of civilizations, Indonesia, as the largest archipelago in the world, has a strong and diverse heritage of art and cultural traditions that dates back over 2,000 years.  Arabic traders, Chinese and Malay settlers, Polynesian voyagers, Indian merchants and European settlers all left their marks along the way, which are still evidenced today in Indonesia’s varied traditions and the diversity of its art forms.  Indonesia itself contains over three hundred ethnic groups, hundreds more distinct languages and uncounted species of flora and fauna, some indigenous to the archipelago.

The resulting sensitivities and values are stil very much evident in modern Indonesian life. Colors, forms, symbols and shapes play an important role in everyday activities: they can be seen in the offerings to the Gods left out in the rice fields, in the shapes of weddings ornaments. the colors of traditional textiles worn at important events, and certainly in the presentation of special floods.  Thus, Indonesians in general have a keenly developed sense of aesthetics and are highly artistic and are highly artistic people by culture.

In a modern context, this has translated into a great enthusiasm on the part of young Indonesians of graphic design and contemporary art in general.  Spurred by the availability of global information and influences through the internet, television and other forms of modern communications in the last decade, the young generation has begun to explore and innovate within the medium of graphic design in particular. Prior to 1990, just six universities offered graphic design courses, compared with seventy today, representing an increase of some 1100% in the number of students (statistics from Dr.Hastjarjo Boedi Wibowo).

As such, the Indonesian design movement is still in an exuberant stage of early development, groping to find its place and identity.  Young designers are experimenting imaginatively and energetically to find their own vision and voice within the global context – a setting which has both positives and negatives.  On the positive side, as the world becomes more connected through modern technology, the exchange of ideas has become more rapid which in turn fires creativity.  Across the globe, including in Indonesia, one sees the resulting evolution in design from 2D to 4D; from creating objects to creating experiences; from making compositions to producing choreography; from fixed creations to fluid creations; from craft-based to technology-based; from pure artwork to strategic and conceptual thought; from the neutral objectives to the personal.

On the negative side however, there is a danger of losing one’s identity markers in the vast global landscape.  Thus, the challenge for the Indonesia graphic design movement is how to place themselves in a global context while preserving and rooting themselves in the Indonesian cultural heritage. Fortunately, I think many of our designers implicitly understand this.  As example, one of our recent creations, A-Z of the Archipelago, attempted to recreate the Roman alphabet using letters designed on the basis of traditional cultural ornamental motifs from all over the country.  It met with a warm response from the domestic design community, who appreciated both the design and the concept behind it.

As Harmutt Esslinger, the noted German – American industrial designer, said “Good design should reflect a sense of human history – some aspect of where we’ve come from.”  Ultimately good design reflects some aspect or our universal humanity combined with one’s specific culture back to us, and in that sense the Indonesian graphic design community, while still maturing, is well on the right track to becoming a truly amazing movement from which we will be able to expect great things.