#009

Towards the launching of his website : spacelessmind.com , we shared some perspectives about how we leverage ourselves as a person. Beshot is his childhood name, and this is an intimate interview session with him.

Alby Padmakusumah : So, what is this all about? Why you invest so much on Personal Branding? What is your intention?

Aulia Akbar :

In the sphere of branding, personal branding can actually be formed from things that are already natural without awareness and some are done in a planned orientation. As a graphic designer, I positioned myself as it is. I mean, myself as an “experienced person” in this profession should contribute widely to the public for the sake of gaining the design process itself, where I think many of other people outside the design field keeps any curiousity too for design. In order to, at least answer for my own questions in the past. Honestly, when I was in college (in Bandung) I couldn’t find enough information about this field locally, geographically. For some reasons, it is rare for me to find graphic designers who have strong identity and recognition back then (Instagram & Behance wasn’t as popular as nowadays). But somehow, today after the social media being more popular to use, more and more people are being skeptical and too quick to judge a person. Most of them (designers who were there but not being recognized at the time I was in college) did not seem to have the courage to expose themselves to the public. I try to expose myself as a party who hope to give any contributions to society and also concerned about the richness of information about local designers. It is such a pity for me if my journey and my generation couldn’t archive this moment into a media, for that would be a learning substance for young designers in the future. All my voice, vision and mission as individual and designer summarized in a personal branding which being realized through a website in this moment.

In addition, the design of my own personal website is motivated by the basic fulfillment of my desire to help & record the journey of this profession in my time now, where I think the ideal situation is to create a digital portal that can be accessed by everyone (Accessible) and there can be found informations on other designers in my surroundings (Involvement) that would be cultivated to build a better ecosystem (Enhancements) in order to get to know each other on the adjacent neighbourhood, to assess and criticize it, and also to appreciate that, starts from the smallest circle. My own role models like Bruno Munari, Paula Scher, Milton Glaser are designers who’s being recognized for their ability, not just because of the place where they work, but as exemplary design individuals. I’m sure, amongst many hidden workers in design agencies and/or in design studios spread across Bandung and Indonesia, they have the same desire to continue to hone their expertise on themselves as a designer. And I begin to dream of where it will take me (for example in the field of illustration concept), Darbotz x DC Shoes becoming MUJI x spacelessmind or Penguin Books x spacelessmind. Haha.

First, I always believe that there is no ambiguous goodness. I am convinced that whatever I do for the common goods will not produce a bad thing. Second, Einstein said that once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. I believe everything has its own portion. After I have accepted myself being a designer and that’s enough, I also want to go beyond by helping others with what I have.

Spacelessmind Design 02

Portfolio Page
Source : spacelessmind.com

Alby Padmakusumah : How was your first contact with design? Why do you fell in love with it?

Aulia Akbar :

Everything started in 2008-2009 when I was in high school. At that time I was with my chair-mate, Luthfi Rahinal (Now, Art Director/Animator in BonBin) have the same habit as other high school kids, like drawing and using Adobe software, and consistently hold collaborate in the work. As time went on (when I still didn’t know what I wanted, my second year of high school), along with Gilang Purnama (Now, CEO of 3HA Imagery) and other friends gathered together and create an extracurricular photography named 25Graphy, and there I met Rajamulya Gigantara (Now, Account Executive at Ogilvy Jakarta). Luthfi and I were very fond of surfing the internet to collect cool pictures back then (because at that time a typical high school kid is in the trend with the growth of “distro” in Bandung). I always have my own “graphics whiz” and that figure was Machine56 whom I didn’t know his real name in high school. After I got busy at organizing photo contest and photography activities, my friends and I liked to stay at Gigan’s house, and then I realized that he is the younger brother of Rajaya Yogaswara, who is the man behind Machine56!! I just get stunned everytime I went there and visited his house more often just to see the graphic posters there. After the event was over, I finally met my idol, and the first thing I did was to get acquainted and asking for a signature on my high school Binder. Haha. After that, I realized more and more that I completely fall in the beauty of graphics work. Then, the work of Machine56 has inspired me and I chose to study at DKV.

Spacelessmind Design 03

Achievements Page
Source : spacelessmind.com

After 2 semesters in my first year at DKV Itenas, I realized that I was just a tiny bit of dust in the midst of my brilliant friends whose ability were super good in drawings. In fact, in every construction drawings study back then I often got Typhus because the lecturer often gave me punishment to make a full-of-lines-duty without a ruler in dozens of big Plano paper! But with an effort to stay patient and always face the challenges of lectures, I finally enter in the 3rd semesters when the courses in that semester have explained me about the big picture of “design” itself. All principles, findings, creative methods, designer thinking are the things I love most, because through this “way of design”, I personally—as an individual human being—can accommodate all my explanatory psychological needs, and continue to shape myself better. From that time I always believe in this field until now. I always look forward to be a “Machine56” in my own version to inspire the next generations, just like how I got inspired by him.

In every design process, at least there is something I always remember about life itself. First, when we start the design process we need to learn to understand someone. Second, when we do prototyping, we must always remember someone (either for as history, reference or case study), and third, when the design has been made, we must be more courage to criticize our own designs and circumstances. It’s like a life learning through the design I possess.

“The Design is the only thing I dedicated my life to. Everything has its place, has its meaning, and as its rights to be treated rightfully.”

Alby Padmakusumah : What is your perspective about design industry nowadays? And why it has to be you that do the act? Is there no any higher authority that could fix this?

Aulia Akbar :

Need a lot of improvements and design movement of course. Because of this, we are well aware that designers plays an important role in economic growth nowadays, but the ecosystem in them, beyond good or bad design, is still groping. Sometimes we are oriented towards the western and eastern style. At least we have to find the threshold and continue to iterate our own way as designers in Indonesia. Involve the vernacular matters, and diverse but still united. As far as I’m concerned, today with many young people working in this field, I see it’s getting better, although the reality of welfare hasn’t been seen on a large scale yet. Efforts to keep improving quality are always done on a small scale and I hope it will be more integrated in the future.

As a practitioner in this field, I sometimes feel ashamed of not doing anything yet, knowing first (in Indonesia and Bandung) there is a very monumental movement like Decenta and Mazhab Bandung, plus, their age at that time are just like me now. Such a condition I always crave and always pursue where ecosystems criticize each other to see and improve a design generation. So from that time on, I continued to encourage myself to contribute in society about design, no longer show off to “force” people to know the “difficulty” of what designs are, but continue to work with better qualities to inspire each other, and for that, I think there is no higher authority than for us to lead ourselves to walk in our own destiny. To become the soulful graphic designer and to be a well-being human.

All the problems of overworking, underpaid, weakness of affection, and so on in this industry will only continue to form a culture if no one wants to change it.

Spacelessmind Design 04

Blog Page
Source : spacelessmind.com

Alby Padmakusumah : Let’s talk about spacelessmind, what is it?

Aulia Akbar :

Spacelesmind is a term or concept that I make to simplify an understanding that I’m trying to observe from the beginning I was in the field of design until now. So, as a human we have a paradigm. This paradigm is a set of ideas & beliefs that has been permanently embedded in us since we were born into the world. It entered through our immediate environment as we grow which became our main influences. The example is simple, if since the childhood we like music, surely until now we like music, or in a negative way, if since the childhood we have less attention or often being expected by parents, we will grow as someone with character that seeks attention and tends to be judgmental. Or about the parents who’s couldn’t shape a peaceful atmosphere because of divorcement, it must be hard to accept the concept that divorcement is a normal thing.

This paradigm affects all our perspectives, controls decisions, taste, which will be more honed later, as we grow and think from time to time according to our psychological growth as human beings. Changing the paradigm is as difficult as changing a person’s nature. From there my question arises, if I was not a designer, how I can have a mindset as a designer? Apparently, there must be a habit or set of beliefs that needs to be built. One of them, I call it, spacelessmind. As designers, we need to positioning ourselves into a solution-provider wherever the problem is lies. In his speech, John Maeda notes that the function of Art is for raising a question, Technology for making possibilities, Design for a solution, and Leadership for action. To still be able to present solutions in design, there is a way of thinking that we need to change from our own defaults. It must be difficult, knowing that our preferences for many things has been ingrained since childhood, so by applying the techniques of thinking or applying attitude thinking without the partition / without space, is certainly needed. I think that becoming spaceless means that we are not bound by the norm of ideas, so as designers we can have control to direct our own knowledge to provide solutions by staying neutral and thinking that everything is connected, which ultimately can always help us as designers in providing a solution to a problem, exploration, and implementation. So, I think, spacelessmind is one of many designers’ way of thinking.

“I always believe that once we become spaceless, we have an infinity mind.”

Alby Padmakusumah : How do you see your career so far? Any most highlighted moments? Best and worst.

Aulia Akbar :

Highest gratitude is still up to now, to always be given many challenging opportunities! From my graduation in 2014, more than 4 years ago, yes, it’s so many ups and downs to be a graphic designer. Indeed, 4 years is still practically the stage of my career development in graphic design, but with all the movements and contributions which being assisted by my friends also, at least, I always believe that we can always have solutions to every problem. The highest moment up to now, I think there are big 4. First, I can entering a very supportive ecosystem in the current workplace (where the freedom of creativity is there—at the same time still can help people who have cool ideas). Second, still having the opportunity to contribute and perform design movements in Bandung Design Friendly and ADGI Bandung. Third, doing a collaboration with friends at Krowd.id alongside with Didiet Maulana. Fourth, the latest moment is where my identity work with my team are curated and will be exhibited on 2018 CTA-HIDDEN GEM Invitational Exhibition, Taiwan which will be held soon in March.

The worst of course is there, like clients from hell or super-duper-ultra-deadline. But bad moments can always be a lesson to be learned because 2 things, either from personal readiness, or not wise enough to determine the right choice in the right moment. In the end, all must be a lesson for living a life, and in the future, we must be more capable and clever to learn from the enjoyments rather than taking a lesson from difficult moments. Because usually, we are often being “blinded” by the enjoyment rather than the stressful situation.

Spacelessmind Design 05

Merch Page
Source : spacelessmind.com

Alby Padmakusumah : Trivia – I see your particular taste in music in Emo, why? Hahaha.

Aulia Akbar :

Hahaha. Personally, I liked a lot of music that contains sadness & reflections rather than “party” and celebration music. Broadly speaking, I love all genres, from Oslan Husein -Tahu Tempe to Mount Kimbie – Made To Stray. People’s preferences must be different in music, and indeed my taste is heavier to emotional, orchestrative, post-rock and chillhop songs. If it being analyzed, maybe because Emo songs are often sensible from mental health issue times so it can touch my soul more often. Haha. Plus, music can’t be separated from the design in my opinion, because it’s one of “the gasoline” to be able to focus while working on design projects. Haha.

But what needs to be underlined is the emo music I mean is Emotional music. I’m sure that many of you will refer this to Emotional Hardcore bands. But I highly prefer to the frontman musicians who “met their turning point” and didn’t do screamo again in their songs, such as the maturity in Dallas Green music (Alexisonfire to City & Color) and Joel Piper music (Confide to Avery Pkwy) whose emotional side is already achieve a “balanced state of emo”. I guess, because their music evolved from “communicating” with screamo and then now “communicating screamo” but more subtle in minor tones. Haha. But still the highest emotional music position of my version is always achieved by Nina Simone while she is was performing Feeling, Glen Hansard with Say It To Me Now, Bread with If, and Frank SinatraMy Way. Thanks God it’s all on YouTube.

Alby Padmakusumah : Any future plans? Both personally and professionally?

Aulia Akbar :

Making a band & held a graphic design exhibition! So I’m preparing the concept of a musical project with a mix of storytelling in it and still looking for personnel on the keyboard and violin. For that part of the exhibition, me, the designers, and artists appeared on spacelessmind.com is currently developing it and that will definitely involve the local designers as well. So if you’re curious enough to join this project, do not hesitate to contact me!

“We all have the ability to process every form in our life, for a better purpose, and we all have problems to solved.”

Spacelessmind Design 06

Contact Page

Source : spacelessmind.com

Alby Padmakusumah : We come to an end of this interview, do you have any closing statement?

Aulia Akbar :

Thanks for this interview, by! And congratulations on your new website! Hopefully, there will be fruitful and insightful informations and can be used as trend-casting for us—as designers—both in business-use and market-orientation. One last thing, it should be realized by all readers in this moment, that we, especially the younger generation, are all in the process of entering a bigger stage soon. Therefore, do not let the quarter-life crisis subvert the dream. Continue to work with quality and to always continue the experimentation. Also for every early-state & growth-state businessman out there, stay curious and do not give up to crack the new culture! Cheers!

Once we become spaceless, we have an infinite mind!

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