Blog Post C – Design & Culture – Indonesia

Design & Culture – Indonesia

Indonesian design focuses on traditional aspects inspired from their cultural background however, many Indonesian designers have shifted the focus onto combining both contemporary elements with traditional patterns and symbols. Indonesian designers seem to draw a lot of their inspirations from their cultural background that influence their design intention and outcome.

Indonesian design draws heavily on their cultural background, focusing on detailed designs that is visually rich and vivid. Carolyne, and Indonesian graphic designer who grew up in Papua, East Indonesia in a small town explained how “design” as an industry was not well known or really understood of. Despite that however, Carolyne have developed a sentiment and integrated the “papua pattern”, traditionally geometric and symmetrical in her design. Another aspects that is integral to Carolyne’s design inspiration is nature, specifically in “trees and flowers”.

Double Flower Angle, Carolyne Natasha 2014
Double Flower Angle, Carolyne Natasha 2014

On the other hand, Andes, designer from Indonesia came from a small village in Titang, in Klaten City, Central Java, grew up in a small village surrounded by “rice fields, rivers and mountains” which inspired him towards sustainable design. His childhood was filled with simple toys such as “toy cars with cigarettes packaging” and kuda pelepah pisang, “toy guns made with banana leaves” and watched “wayang kulit” (shadow puppet shows), influenced his design philosophies of using sustainable or reusable materials in his design.

Kurusetra: G-W, Andes Vergia 2014
Kurusetra: G-W, Andes Vergia 2014

The design scene in Indonesia is not the most prominent in the world, but is definitely growing. However, there is a large contrast in perspective of the current design industry, with Carolyne voicing that “many people in Indonesia are not aware with design” and that on occasion, clients “ paid me very low and i really disappointed.”. It’s interesting to note that “There are a lot of Indonesian designer that have a good reputation internationally for what they have done in design scene”, but not locally, despite having “as good as a graphic design studio’s work”. Both Caroylne and Andes do agree upon the fact that the Indonesian design scene is growing, especially internationally with designers such as Singgih Kartono who designed the Magno radio.

Wooden Radio by Magno
Wooden Radio by Magno

Indonesian designers’s design principal seem to infuse with their cultural believes and practices, evident in both the incorporation of the “papua pattern” and Andes’s sustainability principals. As said by Andes, “As a young people we should try to conserve our culture.. Culture is not just national treasure, culture is identity.. We never want our culture abandoned and disappear, then we just realised and regret..”

Vergia, A 2014, Kurusetra: G-W’, Behance, viewed on 29 April, 2015, <>

Natsha, C 2014, Double Flowerangle, Behance, viewed on 29 April 2015, <>

Magno Design 2014, Process, Magno Design, viewed on 29 April 2015, <;

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