The Rodina from Amsterdam is one of the most exciting studios around. With performances, virtual reality games, and stunning styles it shows all that graphic design can be.
The Rodina, Tereza and Vit Ruller’s studio, tirelessly explores the endless possibilities of communication design. They invite viewers to performances and participations that turn into visual identities, send them through games, and create corporate designs as virtual reality academies. “I have to whisper, because my partner Vit is so humble,” Tereza laughs during our conversation, “but he is an amazing coder and nothing seems impossible.” Action, interaction, and togetherness are crucial for their work – and a creative inventiveness that brings forth distinctive and stunning graphic designs which open up entire worlds. We talked to Tereza Ruller about what it’s like to leave your desk and become a performer, why design needs to be much more complex – and about the power of ponchos.
Claes Oldenburg once said that he doesn’t want to make art that sits comfortably on its ass in a museum. Does that also apply to your graphic design? Because it looks like it couldn’t just sit back and relax on posters or in publications. Tereza Ruller: This is a really nice quote. And yes, it fits. It’s why we call ourselves a post-critical design studio. Which is not about the criticality of graphic design, but about what graphic design is and what communication could be. And it also fits how we work with the viewer. We don’t want to make them uncomfortable in our performances and participations. We want to encourage them to join and try something they have probably never done before. We want them to wonder and to ask questions through our designs. They might have to leave their comfort zone for that, but we want them to feel invited and to be part of our design.
You’re calling your practice “performative design”. Can you explain what that means?
Performative design is a transformative practice that activates things and invites viewers to play and to join your process. It’s inclusive and “polyvocal”. Instead of a designer having a strong voice and telling others what to do, the people joining the process are creative too. It gives others a voice and that’s quite a big thing to work with.