Evil Art: War Posters by Ukrainian Designers

Right on the second day of the Russian invasion, Ukraine saw new communities of design volunteers. Their members—foreign ones as well—create war posters in Ukrainian, English, and Russian. Besides, they take orders from the army and charity foundations. The most popular communities are UA Design Volunteers group, Design Borshch and Ukrainian Creative Forces Telegram channels, and Projector design school. Bird in Flight talked to the founders of these communities and selected the most interesting works.

Designers now regard their activity as the information front. Most of them lost their jobs and became volunteers at shelters. They have two goals: informing the world about the war in Ukraine and avoiding anxiety. Made mostly in Ukrainian, these posters can be freely distributed.

The main message for foreigners is our unity, readiness to fight for liberty, and our ability to be grateful.

Oleksandra Korchevska-Tsekhosh, a graphic designer, had been running a Telegram channel Design Borshch still before the Russian invasion. She published design news here. According to Oleksandra, she denied the idea of penetrating the Russian bubble of banned Facebook and Twitter. Instead, she decided to create Ukrainian and English works. In a week, the total number of followers increased by a third, i.e. to above 2,700 people. Oleksandra came across the works from Design Borshch in NFT collections and social media accounts of the National Guard of Ukraine, religious figures, and foreign university professors.

Posters from Design Borshch

русскій корабль
Picture: Roksolana Baran
Poster from Design Borshch, unknown author

Sasha Bychenko, a designer, considered UA Design Volunteers a way to recover from shock. On the first days of the war, he was asked to draw a manual on how to destroy enemy military machines. Later, he set up a design chat that turned into a community of 1,000 participants. Here some people — usually volunteers — could place their orders, while designers could accomplish them. Then everyone can use finished works that are available on the channel.

Posters by UA Design Volunteers community

Ліна Якобчук
Picture: Lina Yakobchuk
Ліна Якобчук(1)
Picture: Lina Yakobchuk
Alex Yav
Picture: Alex Yav
Постер юзера @nasteyko в телеграмі
Poster picture: @nasteyko (Telegram)
Max K. photo_2022-03-04_18-51-56
Picture: Max K.
Ліна Якобчук(4)
Picture: Lina Yakobchuk
Ліна Якобчук(2)
Picture: Lina Yakobchuk
Ліна Якобчук(3)
Picture: Lina Yakobchuk
Linkovsky photo_2022-02-28_10-35-40
Picture: Linkovsky
Dara Leuh
Picture: Dara Leuh
Dara Leuh_(1)
Picture: Dara Leuh
Dara Leuh_(2)
Picture: Dara Leuh
Dara Leuh_(3)
Picture: Dara Leuh
Dara Leuh_
Picture: Dara Leuh

On Ukrainian Creative Forces channel, you can meet volunteer designers, copywriters, and targetologists. Olha, the channel author, divides the content into two groups: Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus and foreign countries (such posters are usually devoted to sanction consequences). Local SMM managers and targetologists instantly share published works.

Posters from Ukrainian Creative Forces

Picture: Mariia Vasylenko
Olga_creative_forces_of_ukraine (2)
Picture from Ukrainian Creative Forces, unknown author
Olga_creative_forces_of_ukraine (1)
Picture from Ukrainian Creative Forces, unknown author

The archive of a design school Projector in Kyiv (in contrast to others) offers works by Turkish and Polish designers. Initially, the school created the useful resource guide and then set up the archive on the third day of the war. Ukrainian Consulate in Turkey and European Design Awards community, with a Facebook group of 24,000 followers, used works from the archive.

Oleksandr Trehub, the school founder, sees these war posters as a new phenomenon that he calls evil art. According to him, works by foreign artists are more peaceful, while Ukrainian ones are vigorous, evil, and devoted to the most urgent news. Besides, during the war in Ukraine, creators reimagined old archetypes: from Kyiv Rus images to Taras Shevchenko with a bazooka. ‘It’s the first time in many years when we felt a Cossack drive, namely the energy and calmness of Cossack Mamai who smokes his pipe and crushes his enemies. New mythology has been born: the defenders of Zmiinyi Island, Bandera smoothies, and a woman hitting an enemy drone with a tomato jar’.

Posters from Projector archive

Picture: Maksym Palenko
Picture: Roksolana Mokhnach
Picture: Dmytro Simonov
Олександр Грехов
Picture: Oleksandr Hrekhov
Нікіта Тітов
Picture: Nikita Titov
Нікіта Тітов 3
Picture: Nikita Titov
Мирій Школьний
Picture: Myrii Shkolnyi
Марія Луцак
Picture: Mariia Lutsak
Марина Рудська
Picture: Maryna Rudska
Максим Паленко 2
Picture: Maksym Palenko
Максим Паленко
Picture: Maksym Palenko
Женя Велічев
Picture: Zhenia Velichev
Віталій Багура
Picture: Vitalii Bahura
Галя Вергелес
Picture: Halia Verheles
Yulia Meduna
Picture: Yuliia Meduna
Pawel Jonka
Picture: Pawel Jonka

Cover poster: Kacyaryna Shalkoўskaya (Belarus)

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