Military year 2022 in design and creativity
Summarizing the results of 2022 is not easy. There is a war going on in the country - what else can I add? But this year we understood a lot (primarily about themselves), learned a lot, experienced a lot. We have become an inspiration for the democratic world, and this inspires us to move on.
If last year in the last days of December we talked about the development of metauniverses and the crisis of Silicon Valley, then from February 24, 2022 all these things have lost almost any meaning for Ukrainians. We focused on surviving and keeping our freedom. And physically, and morally, and valuable.
The creative industry, and design in particular, in the whirlwind of war reached a new level of working with meanings. Designers, artists and creatives armed themselves against imperial lies and moldy propaganda in the international community. We survived the fall of authority, revaluation of their own cultural heritage, found their superpower in courage and will.
01. Visual reflection of war
Since the first days of the full-scale war, dozens and hundreds of posters, art, illustrations and paintings appeared in support of Ukraine. Artists and designers united in their desire to tell the world the truth about the Russian invasion. Later it turned out that the information front is much wider: it is necessary to prove the importance of canceling russians from all contests and platforms, to return To Ukraine, the artists of the past, who were stolen by the empire, cannot explain that it is “outside of politics”.
Designers, illustrators and artists demonstrated unprecedented productivity: new works appeared almost every day. Sharp, dramatic, angry and alive. This was partly due to the initial shock and adrenaline rush. Creativity helped Ukrainians and shout out to the world, and reflect the new reality, and distract yourself from the news feed.
Volunteers are superheroes, in which Ukrainians quickly learned to transform in order to create miracles of help. In the creative community, volunteering this year had different directions.
Donat is the most favorite Ukrainian dish.
“Classic” volunteering - creative people put aside their creative work and went to help the army and war victims: they wove nets, prepared dinners for the military, bought clothes and medicine, and took people out of the occupation.
“Do what we do best.” A huge number of designers and creatives began to fight on the information front. Design activists created campaigns to tell the truth about the war, made websites for charities and volunteer organizations.
Initiatives were created that encouraged donations to support the army and volunteers. Illustrations come to mind here artist Oleksandr Grekhov or Banda’s “Mobilization of Coins” campaign, although, of course, there are many more such examples.
03. Digital products for war
The Ukrainian market for digital products also changed in the war. People needed new tools: applications air alarms, which appeared back in February, then - chatbots for emergency power outages.
Many digital products have implemented an air alert feature. Applications receive notifications about alarm in a certain area from civil defense and send a signal to users’ gadgets. There is a separate one for this the “Air Alarm” application from Ajax Systems; the alarm notification function is available in the “Kyiv Digital” application, as well as implemented in the Android operating system.
In response to the war, the “Enemy” chatbot appeared in the “Action” application to inform about the observed equipment of the occupiers or living force After verification, these data are transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reports the Ministry of Digital.
It is difficult to list all the updates that appeared in Action: buying military bonds, donating directly in the application, registration marriage online, and even the ability to watch the World Cup broadcast.
Solutions were created to strengthen cyber security. For example, MacPaw’s SpyBuster helps determine whether a certain software has russian or Belarusian origin. After all, a program created in hostile countries can steal personal data and commit harmful actions by them, which is even more dangerous in wartime. SpyBuster appeared back in March and is available on macOS and iOS operating systems.
In autumn, the Russian Federation began terrorist attacks on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine. Supply companies electricity in the homes of Ukrainians, faced the need for intensive communication with upset users. Example, the YASNO-online telegram bot notified about unscheduled outages, energy alarms, and also gave the opportunity to pay online for consumed services. But the company stopped active support for the bot in November, without communicating the reasons.
Users, for their part, aim to organize their lives, taking into account power outages. That’s how solutions came about integration of blackout schedules into the calendar, various maps with autonomous institutions, points of invincibility, etc.
04. Global communication campaigns
Ukraine could not survive without the support of its partners. And without competent communication, this support would hardly be so much powerful This year, for the first time in the recent history of Ukraine, state communications reached a truly international scale. First of all, we are talking about the Bravery campaign, thanks to which Times Square lit up in blue and yellow colors, and the United24 initiative, which attracted influential people and stars of the first echelon as ambassadors.
The “Courage” campaign that Banda developed at the start of the full-scale invasion became popular almost immediately. In Ukraine, as well as abroad, you can see numerous stickers, sweatshirts, shopping bags and a wide variety of other things decorated with the symbol of “Courage” and the slogan Brave like Ukraine. Due to its accuracy and relevance, Bravery has become one of the the most recognizable information campaigns of Ukraine abroad.
Ukrainian brands picked up the initiative, temporarily renaming it as “Courage”. That’s why it’s on store shelves this year even kefir was bold.
United24 is a program of support and reconstruction of Ukraine initiated by the president. As of December 2022 thanks to this fundraising, over $250 million in direct donations were collected. Within the framework of the United24 initiative, the authorities of Ukraine involve famous persons to they became ambassadors of the platform. In particular, they are the fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, the rock band Imagine Dragons, and the actress Barbra Streisand, historian Timothy Snyder and many others.
05. Reorientation of business abroad
Ukrainian creative businesses have experienced a huge drop in revenue as a result of the full-scale Russian invasion. Such Ukrainian entrepreneurship has not experienced a crisis in the entire history of independence. Some sectors of the creative economy collapsed by more than 60%, some even more.
Some agencies could not withstand the pressure and closed down, while others began to reorient themselves abroad. Go abroad leading agencies of Ukraine, which previously worked mainly for local businesses, and smaller players. In the same way, a separate stream of freelancers who started stood out actively looking for clients on various international platforms (Upwork). The story of how a small creative studio from Ukraine is taking over the UK market, we covered earlier this year.
The exit of Ukrainian creative professionals to the world market was supported by various foreign initiatives. Cannes lions posted links to portfolios of Ukrainian creatives looking for work; most of the contests took part this year free for Ukrainians. Many agencies found foreign partners and orders thanks to the recommendation of acquaintances or former foreign clients. Ukrainians realized that they are capable of becoming part of the world market.
06. Merch: patriotic design everywhere
Ukrainian symbols in the most diverse stylization, things with patriotic slogans, visual images of victory — became real sales hits of 2022. The rise of national consciousness prompted brands of all directions to make a commercial bet on pro-Ukrainian merchandise. An inseparable component of such initiatives is a charitable contribution embedded in the price of the product.
“Ukrzaliznytsia” with its “iron” merch, bracelets from the last lot of steel from “Azovstal”, best-selling stamps of “Ukrposhta”, Ukrainian branded clothing with anti-tank hedgehogs, stilettos, tridents and other symbols of struggle and victory.
The release of patriotic merch helps a business to accomplish several tasks at the same time: to make a profit in a difficult time, to attract audience and fulfill the social function of entrepreneurship. In addition, thanks to the merch, the brand establishes an emotional connection with consumer
07. Ukrainian content is flourishing
Finally, you can see content in Ukrainian in Ukrainian YouTube trends! Unfortunately, the impetus for the Ukrainianization of media platforms it was a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine. But we can proudly say that the Ukrainians accepted the challenge with dignity and create their own content to replace Russian. Without a quality replacement, it is impossible to truly give up what people are attracted to used to, but what harms them.
Popular bloggers switched to the Ukrainian language, and social network algorithms, for their part, eventually began to promote Ukrainian authors. Users said that the sending of Russian content was caused by the fact that the Ukrainian region was moderated from russian offices. However, media giants stubbornly deny these accusations.
Previously, we collected a selection of channels for creatives that are conducted in Ukrainian. But this good is increasing every day.
08. Finding ourselves
Ukrainians revealed themselves to the world as brave men, capable of fighting with blood for their own freedom and dignity. This external image also caused the opposite effect — internal psychoanalysis on a national scale. We started asking ourselves the right questions. Who are we really? Who do we want to be? What is our culture and what contribution to civilization do we want to make? What a treasure do we already have
It turns out that we have what the world needs right now: the courage to create our lives despite the threat of losing everything. It turns out that we have a deep heritage (cultural/visual/life-affirming) that only a short-sighted fool really could accommodate a Soviet-style sharovarshchy in a flat. It turned out that the European values of freedom are now more alive in us than in Europe, which we always wanted to emulate.
I want to cherish it all. And there is an impression that the Ukrainian creative center will not lose this chance: to be itself in the world diversity, on equal terms.
Despite the atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty, restrained optimism prevails in the air of Ukraine. There is a feeling that the biggest the business has already suffered losses, and now we are adapting and preparing for a gradual recovery. Of course, no one can be sure predict what awaits Ukrainians and Ukraine in 2023, but each of us believes in the same dream for all. Each of us has a chance bring victory closer.