Grafis’80 Opens the Celebrations of Compass®’s 25 Year Legacy

Let’s go back to the year 1980. Located in Lingkar Mitra Budaya, Jakarta, the Grafis’80 exhibition was held from September 24 to October 1. Grafis’80 became the first exhibition by Ikatan Perancang Grafis Indonesia (English: Indonesian Graphic Designers Association), or IPGI—the precursor to Asosiasi Desainer Grafis Indonesia (English: Association of Indonesian Graphic Designers), or ADGI. With the opening of the exhibition on September 24, the moment also served as IPGI’s officiation, having been formed on September 25, 1980. This exhibition with 47 different participating graphic designers showcased many works familiar to the general public including logos, greeting cards, posters, name cards, receipts, brochures, and more. This communicated to the public that the practice of graphic design is actually incredibly close to the everyday and reaches many elements of life.

There were two things to be introduced to a broader audience through this exhibition. The first is IPGI as a vessel for Indonesian graphic designers. Secondly, good graphic design both as a practice and as a profession. This spirit of collaboration, togetherness, and the hope to grow is what is taken on by Compass ® in celebrating 25 years of artistic work. Working together with ADGI, Compass® presents 25 shoe designs by 25 different collaborators of both Indonesian graphic designers and Indonesian graphic design studios. To kick off the celebrations, Compass® will release two shoe models developed from the Grafis’80 exhibition poster by the late Tjahjono Abdi. The design was created by the ADGI team and the materials as well as production techniques were determined by the Compass®.

Muhammad Imaduddin, ADGI Secretary General, explained that the Grafis’80 exhibition poster by Tjahjono Abdi marks a crucial moment in Indonesian graphic design and was a huge milestone in the development of of a creative community that dissolved all types of differences in the perspectives of Indonesian graphic designers in the name of a greater purpose namely growing public awareness in regards to the role of Indonesian graphic designers through the products enjoyed by the broader society.


The process of transferring the poster on a different media and the production of these shoes begins by reproducing the original Grafis’80 poster. Hamzah Pramana, Product and Development Manager at Compass®, explained that the duplication process was done manually to create the digital format of said physical poster from Wagiono Soenarto's archives. “None of the components of this shoe uses pre-colored canvas. We really made this from zero, from the paper-white canvas material, which we then give color to, to the smallest components.”That is what forms the upper design or the design at the top of the shoe,” he said, elaborating on the material choice.

Aji Handoko, Chief Experience Officer at Compass®, stated that said shoes are produced using two print methods. “So, it begins from when we set the first layer of the image which is the gradation to be placed on the vamp and this print is done size by size, component by component so we can get the right gradation at the size we want. That that image is printed onto an organic canvas. So, this technique is actually called a direct print. A type of sublimation printing without the need for it to be pressed,” Aji explained. “After we print these one by one, we cut them up. Those vamp pieces are then manually screen printed with the Grafis’80 pencil image.”

Compass® strives to produce shoes based on what the designer has set out. This is also the case with the Grafis'80 shoes. There are two shoe designs created based on the Grafis'80 exhibition poster. The colors and design principles in the Grafis'80 exhibiiton poster are maintained in the shoe production process by the Compass® team. "The two layers of the pencil and the direct print is done so that the impression of layering is well-preserved in the shoe. As such, the gradient background was pursued using the direct print technique. If you were to do direct printing as usual, the ink would dull down due to absorption. So, Compass® specifically used a particular material, which is organic canvas, so that the ink doesn't dull down and thereby preserving the vibrancy in accordance with the poster," Aji elaborated.


These Grafis’80 shoes will be released and available to the public very soon on the official Compass® website. 500 pairs of this collection will be produced. Meanwhile, the other 24 designs for the celebration of 25 years of Compass® will be introduced to the public through an exhibition. ADGI Professional Code of Ethics Director, Seto Adi, elaborated on the involvement process of the 25 graphic designers in this collaboration project beginning with the curation process. He explained that there were a few points of consideration being character, credibility and reputation as professional graphic designers, and perceptiveness in exploring both new media and new spaces. Aside from the late Tjahjono Abdi, other collaborators include 7per8 Studio, Another Design Company, Cipsi Studio, Dassein Design Bureau, DEIO, Gema Semesta, kamengski, Karyarupa, Mata Studio, Milestone Indonesia, Nusaé, POT Branding House, SatuCollective, Sciencewerk, Studio 1212, Studio Woork, Suka Studio, SUNVisual, SWG Design, Thinking*Room, Tiny Studio, Tokotype, Visious, and ZOU.

Aji mentioned that Compass® strives to become a vessel for exploration. For him, all collaborations initiated by Compass® begin from the things closest to us and are commonly found in our day to day. Such is the case with their collaboration with ADGI, its proximity with the practice of graphic design became a doorway toward the conception of this project. Through this collaboration, Compass® strives to highlight the spirit of ADGI and the long history of Indonesian graphic design as well as uplifting the graphic design practice in the nation. Ritchie Ned Hansel, Chairman of ADGI, conveyed similar sentiments. For Ritchie, this collaboration is an effort to acculturate the practice of graphic design and emphasize how malleable and close the practice is to our everyday life. 

About the Author

Daud Sihombing

Daud Sihombing has been writing professionally for the past 9 years. This fervent alternative publishing enthusiast prefers his quaint little town over the hustle and bustle of the city and doesn't let sleep stop him from watching every single AS Roma match.