Advertising is Human

multidisciplinary artist designer lola empire

We are encouraged to believe that choice and options give us autonomy and help us shape our lives. But in reality, it’s making our lives more difficult, more complex. 

Exhausted by the tyranny of options, we’ve grown cynical and dismissing, desensitised and even immune to advertising.

Therefore, my goal is to render advertising as something we need - something that confers real benefits instead of just interrupting. Rather than just selling products and services, it must also inspire, inform and entertain.

Design de-signed

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Creativity is a process and great ideas do not fall from the sky. They develop over time. Learn to fail fast and discover what is possible once you get past your comfort zone.

Phase 1 - Empathize and Gather

Understand the problem you are solving. Embrace an empathetic mindset and immerse yourself in the process. Gain a deep personal understanding of the challenges and their effects.

Phase 2 — Define The Landscape

Get a clear picture of the challenges from the end-user’s perspective, not the provider. Look for patterns and themes. Challenge the common ways of thinking and don’t assume anything.

Phase 3 — Ideation

Explore possibilities and let your creativity run wild. Exhaust your ideas. Allow yourself to think outside the box and push beyond the obvious solutions. 

Phase 4 — Rapid Prototyping

Create several simple versions of your solution. Allow people outside the process to test them and give you feedback. The idea is to fail fast and adjust until you get it right. 

Phase 5 — Test & Deliver

Test a finished product.


by David Gonyo

My God Is Black


Black is the darkest colour, the result of the absence or complete absorption of visible light, but it is luminous.

The word black comes from Old English blæc meaning ”black, dark” and from Proto-Indo-European *bhleg- meaning ”to burn, gleam, shine, flash”.


Black is nothing but fascinating.

It is both the loudest and the quietest colour. 

It can either invigorate with its grandeur or act as a background allowing other colors to shine.


Black is ultimately universal.

It matches everything and works with any style.

By blurring the edges, it creates an illusion of an infinite space and exaggerates coziness.

Combined with vivid colors it results in flamboyance.

Combined with pastels it manifests in harmony.


You can have any color as long as it’s black.

Henry Ford

Healing Design

Research suggests that we remember 80% of what we see and consume 34 gigabytes of information daily. What is it we are looking at? 

Lola Empire 'You Are What You See' (2016)

Lola Empire 'You Are What You See' (2016)

Advertising is all-present, unavoidable and ultimately distracting. By connecting us to our material existence, it imposes meaning on the world. 

In Latin, ad vertere means "to turn toward". To win us over is always the underlying motive. 

Advertising goes with mantra ‘Know What Your Customers Want Before They Do’ which highlights it’s manipulative and corruptive nature.

The information overload distracts and agitates the mind. 

We tend to freeze in the presence of too many options and resort to making convenient rather than informed decisions. 

Compromising on personal autonomy and neglecting our natural state of being results in restlessness and disorientation.

Lola Empire 'You Are What You See' (2016)

Lola Empire 'You Are What You See' (2016)

Lola Empire 'You Are What You See' (2016) 

Lola Empire 'You Are What You See' (2016) 

How could visual communication be more humane?

Let’s visualise Healing Design as an aesthetic of existence, potentially an antidote to fast life.

Healing Design is a system built on unshakeable faith in man's reason, good will, and sanity with an unwavering commitment to:

  • instill cultural awareness and social responsibility
  • render authenticity 
  • question consumerism and desire itself
  • challenge preconceptions and expose hypocrisies 
  • disrupt the fake, manic and infantile culture
  • transform perceptions by offering spiritual solutions
  • deliver consciousness-expanding experiences

It values simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and has a deep appreciation for natural objects and processes.

Mistake or Design?

‘Design – not biology – is destiny.’

Veronique Vienne

What is graphic design? The adjective ‘graphic’ can either mean 'related to drawing or printing’ or simply 'very clear and powerful’. The noun ‘design’ is ‘the art of making plans or drawing something’. Therefore, graphic design is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content in a very clear and powerful manner. Its aim is to get the desirable public reaction by visualizing information effectively.

What really intrigues me is how the borders between design and art have become increasingly blurred. Where does design end and art begin? Charles Eames said that ‘design is an expression of purpose. It may (if it is good enough) later be judged as art.’ (Scielo, 1972) 

I would like to discuss the work of 2 graphic designers in connection with 2 of my favorite fine artists. 

Barbara Kruger 'Untitled' (1987)

Barbara Kruger 'Untitled' (1987)

Tracey Emin 'I've got it all' (2000)

Tracey Emin 'I've got it all' (2000)

Design is opinion, standing for what you believe in, taking the position and speaking in a loud voice. In her most famous piece, Barbara Kruger does exactly that. The slogan ‘I shop therefore I am’ is printed on a red calling card in bold white Futura Bold Oblique typeface that is placed on a black-and-white picture of a hand. It appears as if the hand is actually holding the card. The elegant gesture of a hand intensifies the sheer visual power of the words. The hostile tone of Kruger’s visual language demands attention and forces us to rethink the otherwise cliché catchphrase by creating a moment 'of internal identity confusion in which we don't know if we are acting as a victim, an oppressor, or a witness. Usually, we are all of the above.’ (Interview Magazine, 2013)

Value, materialism, and consumerism are at the very core of Kruger’s work. She makes us question our very own consumerist impulses and essentially - desire itself. The success of her work comes down to distinctive, unapologetic, single-minded visual language directed straight at you, demanding your full attention. 

Tracey Emin’s work 'I've got it all', in which she sits with her legs open, clutching notes and coins, is as visually powerful and insistent. She also forces us to question our values and ultimately our own authenticity in the face of self-indulgent materialism. Are we simply posing as ourselves?

Lorraine Wilde 'Buddha Mind' (2004)  

Lorraine Wilde 'Buddha Mind' (2004)  

Thomas Struth 'Paradise 1' (1988)

Thomas Struth 'Paradise 1' (1988)

Design is aesthetics that enhance the message and highlight the content rather than pulling your attention away from it. By approaching design internally rather than externally Lorraine Wild comes up with subtle, effortless and lucid design solutions. ‘She demonstrates the power of understatement as an artful means of binding form and content.’ (AIGA, 2006) Content is emphasized by unflattering the form. Wilde's design has little to do with visibility and seeking attention. Instead of looking at, it is inviting us to look in. And so do Thomas Struth’s photographs. He is fascinated by the depth of vision, the seeing itself. Struth's work is as rhetoric and calm as Wild’s. You are invited to experience yourself in the process.


Graphic design is a part of everything, it is all-present. By connecting us to our material existence it informs us about our environment. It 'is the most universal of all the arts. It is all around us, explaining, decorating, identifying; imposing meaning on the world.’ (Quentin Newark, 2002, p14) It is ‘affecting not only our visual and physical environment but a sense of ourselves as well.’ (Sheila Levant De Bretteville, 2012, p247) Graphic Design is essentially art with a purpose. Its purpose is 'not to make the world more technological, but to make the world more humane' (John Maeda, TEDGlobal, 2012), to instill cultural awareness and social responsibility by bringing order and clarity to information.

‘I began to think about the computer as more of a spiritual space of thinking,’ said John Maeda at TEDGlobal in 2012 and so have I. There's a spiritual solution to each and every problem.  


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I am your audience. 

I am your witness. 


I want to see what you see, hear what you hear, feel what you feel.

My mind is my greatest erogenous zone.


Don't cater to me. Don’t worry about meeting my needs and expectations.


Challenge me. Surprise me.

Soothe me and provoke me simultaneously.

Mirror me back. Introduce me to my unknown selves.


Empower me. 

Inspire me to be the best version of me.

Inspire me to be all that I am capable of being.


You are not an artist. There is no distinction between you and your art. 

You are art. 


Disregard reality. It is negotiable. 

Get lost in your cerebral landscapes but don’t believe everything you think.

You are ultimately a collection of paradoxes.


Relax, remain ambiguous. 


Don’t strive for completeness. 

Welcome and embrace chaos by conscious undoing.


Forget about techniques. Take pride in being undisciplined. 


Open up your wounds, show me your scars 

and I will follow you despite trends and hype.


The relationship we have is universal. 

It’s all-inclusive.

It’s warm and beautiful.


We are one.

We are energy beings.


I fall. I fall in love. 

My heart gets broken. I die. 

I am reborn. 

I am stronger at the broken places.


I am art, too.