This month’s art is by Romanian illustrator, Iancu Barbărasă. Now based full-time in London, Iancu creates art with an ideas-led approach. His work aims to inform, delight, and inspire people. He hopes his illustration serves a reminder that "We'll be much happier and our planet will be much better off when we want less and share some of what we have with those who really need it.”
For a little more about Iancu, here's a short Q&A!
Where is home for you?
London, UK has been home for almost ten years now. I find its diversity very inspiring, even in spite of the recent political issues. I was born in Transylvania, Romania though, and it will always remain a special place for me.
What is your definition of a successful life?
Having a helpful, positive impact on people’s lives, starting with family, friends, colleagues and hopefully others as well.
Describe your perfect day.
Wake up, have breakfast, go out cycling for an hour or two, get back, shower, draw for two-three hours, quick lunch, draw or read for another couple of hours, cook dinner and enjoy the evening with my partner.
How did you get into design?
I’ve always liked drawing, but I'm a rational type, so I was considering architecture and design during high school. I chose design because of the wider range of projects – my university had a mixed curriculum, so I studied both product and graphic design, and some interior design as well. After graduating, I started working in advertising but I soon switched to branding, being much more interested in work that would last longer. I've been doing this for over fifteen years now. Recently I've started expanding into illustration and hand-lettering, thanks to a few of my personal projects that have drawn attention online.
Where do you find inspiration?
Reading a lot and being interested in a wide range of subjects. During a project, it comes first from answering the “why – what – who – how” questions: why are we doing this, what is the product or what are we trying to say, who is it for, and how should it feel. Besides that, I always try to “steal” ideas from seemingly unrelated fields, or from old masters. All work that seems original just has less obvious sources of inspiration. And of course, I follow favourite artists and designers online, but I do my best to keep their influence in check.
What's your dream design project?
Any project can be exciting if you’re working with great people. I'd love to work more with clients who care deeply about their impact on everyone and the environment. For example, Patagonia or the Certified B Corporation companies. Cycling or outdoors related would be just a bonus.
Which designers or thinkers influence/inspire you?
I greatly admire Christoph Niemann for his intelligence, kindness and versatility; Yvon Chouinard for proving that it is possible to have both a profitable and responsible business; Milton Glaser for explaining the importance of being able to create form, not just to find it; my grandad for teaching me to look at everything with a bit of imagination and a lot of goodwill.
Plus I'm always learning from so many other amazing people, like Paula Scher, Michael Bierut, Katsuji Wakisaka, James Victore, Geoff McFetridge, Jean Jullien, Matt Blease, Austin Kleon, Jason Kottke, Alan Fletcher, Saul Steinberg, Herman Hesse, Tenzin Gyatso, and so on.
What was the inspiration behind this design?
I was searching for an impactful way to express the huge difference between what we want and what we actually need. Type size was a logical solution, but I also wanted to give it a sense of urgency and global scale. For some reason, the cover for Muse's Origin of Symmetry album came to my mind. So I tried to capture a similar uneasy atmosphere in my own design, but pushing everything to the extreme (tilted horizon, roughly hand-drawn type, long shadows etc.).
At the moment, what is your favorite…
Color: Red & Yellow (both better together than on their own).
Food: Chestnut honey (it always reminds me of my grandparents).
Song: OO by Robert Fonseca (love his latest album Yesun).
Quote: “The great thing about drawing is that it forces you to pay attention, and attentiveness, in the Buddhist sense, is the one way we have to understand what is real.” —Milton Glaser
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