“Graphic Design: Konkuk University,” a global interpretation of promoting ideas

Abigail Nilsson – Anchor Contributor

Whoever said “a picture is worth a thousand words” must have been talking about the artwork on display at Bannister Gallery in Robert’s Hall at Rhode Island College, which is on view now through Feb. 15. The show, “Graphic Design: Konkuk University” was facilitated by Professor of Graphic Design Heemong Kim and features selected works by graduated students from Konkuk University in South Korea.

Photos courtesy of Thomas Crudale

Upon walking into the gallery, I noticed a small display of carefully placed bath salts alongside transportation packaging, pictures hanging from the walls and ceiling and a few other products on display tables. I immediately knew I walked into a gallery full of messages to reach the masses. Instead of subliminal messages, this show puts advertising at front and center. As final projects, students at Konkuk University in South Korea developed graphic designs to demonstrate views of everyday products and global issues.

One piece that caught my attention was a simple design in three colors: black, white, and blue. At the top is an outline of a weeping polar bear whose tears are dripping from one polar bear and melting into another. The graphic design demonstrates the effects that global warming has on wildlife, which has been conveyed for years by the World Wildlife Fund.

Another piece that I found intriguing was a vintage photograph of two people. In the image, their bottom halves are intact, but their top halves are being whisked away. The caption may be in Korean, but the message is obvious: Alzheimer’s is an ever-present and devastating disease.

The Bannister Gallery provides hosts who help guide you through the translation. Some of the pieces hanging on the walls are ads ranging from everyday products such as yogurt and aspirin to global issues such as obesity, Alzheimer’s, global warming, and sexual violence. Other work consists of photo displays of product positioning and carefully placed products on display. Even with the language barrier, the message in the show is clear, poignant, and worth a look.  

“Graphic Design: Konkuk University” is on display at Bannister Gallery in Roberts Hall through Feb. 15. Gallery hours are weekdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.