We need FEED

The first edition of the Festival of Eastern European Design took place in Warsaw at the beginning of September. In addition to a public part, there were also two days of lectures and meetings especially for organizers of design events. From Graphic Matters I helped with the programming.

In 2014 Graphic Matters was one of the founders of the IMAGE network, which stands for ‘International Meeting About Graphic Events’. Our goal is to share knowledge with liked-minded all over Europe. So far the network has been quite informal with meetings in Breda, Chaumont and Warsaw from 2015-2019. Here we met with other graphic design crazy naive organizers. I mean naive in a very positive way, as knowing what it takes to set up a design event will probably scare any other type of person;)

Every time these meetings are magic! After seeing many events (on insta) a first irl encounter immediately feels like meeting my best friends. We all deal with similar challenges and struggles. By sharing our experiences, dreams and fails we learn from each other. The current post-covid period allows us to progress and turn the informal network into a tool for developing better events. We can address private issues and raise major game changing topics like fair pay, sustainability and inclusion. Our Eastern European partners Polish Graphic Design, Pictoric and 6pt took a giant leap in this direction by setting up FEED; Festival of Eastern European Design. A series of three events taking place in Warsaw (2024), Vilnius (2025) and Kiev (2025).

Photos by Patryk Wisniewski

Recently I had the honor to visit the first edition in Warsaw where ±40 graphic events nerds met. I was invited to present our Social Profit Canvas, a model we use for determining our audience and stakeholders based on the social impact we like to create. Judging from the response this model can be helpful for others. I’m happy I was able to share this knowledge. FEED was great opportunity to meet with old friends and make new. In a fully packed three day program I learned a lot about the design culture in Eastern European countries. An eye opening experience. Often we seek for non-western perspectives on design when curating shows. In many cases exotic places with a totally different cultural background are looked at. Somehow our nearest neighbors are overlooked. As recent political changes opened up their quest for identity, many of them are currently investigating their own visual heritage and design culture. A mission the network can support by presenting design from this region next to our own. It will be fascinating and inspiring to see.

Many things still buzz in my head since I returned. The lively Ukraian scene; under the worst conditions the value of design events is proven. Sometimes literally by raising money used to withstand the Russian invasion. Also technological developments and the use of AI in Czech, the informal creative gatherings in Romania, carefully curated shows from Kroatia, a clever book on branding from Hungary, the script shift in Turkey only less than 100 years ago, the Polish poster culture… It is clear we have much to learn from our neighbors. FEED was a huge inspiration to boost our IMAGE netwrok aspirations. Graphic Matters is already preparing the first events to follow up on this meeting.

Author info


Director/founder Graphic Matters.