Robert L. Peters

29 October 2007

Design/Culture: 2007 Icograda Congress in Cuba


Havana, Cuba

The past 10 days have seen a blur of activities here in Havana, the “international capital of graphic and communication design” this past week by dent of its hosting of the 2007 Icograda World Design Congress and 22nd Icograda General Assembly. Over 550 attendees from 57 countries converged in this amazing city to participate in several conferences and to take in the many design-related exhibitions and ancillary events.

For the first time in nearly two decades I was able to attend an Icograda World Congress without official responsibilities (I did end up chairing the summary panel discussion on day two of the International Conference, was interviewed by Cuban national television at the opening of the Exposición Internacional CARTELES POR LA DIVERSIDAD CULTURAL at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and attended the General Assembly as an official observer—but that’s a very light load compared to the past). Highlights for me were the chance to reconnect with old friends from around the globe (including 9 other previous presidents of Icograda in attendance), spending time with Cuban design colleagues, taking in the numerous cultural attractions, a private garden-dinner reception with the Cuban Minister of Culture and the Icograda board, and yes, numerous late-night swims in the pool.

Stu Alden has posted hundreds of photographs of the week on flickr. Maggie McNabb penned her take on the events for DT&G Magazine, and the official congress website has a full listing of the week’s events. A PDF of the “Cuba Si! Life and design on the embargoed archipelago” feature article that I wrote for Communication Arts magazine in May 2006 can be read or downloaded here.






Above: Black flags of mourning block out the propaganda messages streaming from LED reader-boards in the windows of U.S. embassy; ten Icograda presidents (and new president elect Russell Kennedy of Australia) salute Ahn Sang-Soo; graphic detail of a police call-box; old-school Cuban ingenuity (orange-peeler); yours truly.

22 October 2007

Cuba Gráfica



Havana, Cuba

A retrospective exhibition of Cuban graphic design opened this evening at the Casa de las Americas, attended by hundreds of delegates to the Icograda World Congress here in Havana. I felt honoured (and at the same humbled) to see the final paragraph of the “Cuba Si!” feature article that I had written last year for Communication Arts magazine featured on one of the exhibition walls… download a PDF of the feature article here (3.6 MB).


15 October 2007



Winnipeg, Canada

I’ve just agreed to formally serve as a member of Geez magazine’s editorial advisory group (I’ve supported Geez unofficially since it’s start two years ago). If you’re interested in “…a place for wannabe contemplatives, front-line world-changers and restless cranks…”and feel that it’s time to “…untangle the narrative of faith from the fundamentalists, pious self-helpers and religio-profiteers…” then Geez may be for you.

The Joy of Abseiling



Minaki, Ontario

Our friend Silvie Engel from Freiburg, Germany has been visiting for the past week. On Sunday, Ev, Silvie and I enjoyed a day of fine autumn weather and some rock climbing at the Gooseneck crags NW of Minaki. Silvie especially enjoyed the rappelling (“abseiling” in German), as you can see…

10 October 2007

Left brain or right brain?


Do you see this dancer spinning clockwise, or counter-clockwise? If clockwise, you tend to use more of the right side of your brain. If counter-clockwise, you tend to use more of the left side (like the majority of people). Most designers travel easily from left to right and back… in fact, it’s this (relatively) unique disposition and ability that helps us guide our (mostly) left-brain clients to creative solutions while maintaining affinity with our (often) right-brain artist kin.

At Circle, we consciously practice “whole-brain thinking” by combining left-brain traits (analytical, logical, functional, focused, strategic) with right-brain traits (creative, intuitive, perceptive, passionate, tactical).

(Image source: The Courier Mail, Australia [thanks to Guy Schockaert])

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