Graphic designers can be found just about anywhere, from hotshot creative boutiques to multinational corporations. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a giant intergovernmental organization such as the United Nations has its own department of pen, paper and pixel artists on hand to achieve its mission. That’s where you’ll find ADC Member Vladimir Golosiy, a graphic designer at the UN.
We caught up with Vlad to learn a bit about his story.
Tell us how you became a designer. What in your life growing up steered you on that path?
It all started with a bunch of fruit. Pears to be specific. In second or third grade during one of my art classes we had to draw ‘Nature Morte’ — a still life composition which included a few pears, a vase, and a table cloth. I remember doing a good job, even though back then I had no idea who Cézanne was. So I guess that was where it all started, and my love of art grew with every year. My family was very supportive of me and my drawings from the beginning. But, you know, the drawings commissioned by my relatives didn’t pay well at all. That’s when I decided to learn graphic design and become a designer.
We’re used to hearing about UN ambassadors and diplomats. UN designers? Not so much. How did you wind up here?
The UN actually does have a graphic design unit. I work for a separate department called UN Peacekeeping. How I got the job is a little bit of funny story. When I was about to graduate college, the UN reached out to one of my professors looking to hire a designer. I applied for the job, and after a few months I got it. Later, my colleagues told me that the reason they contacted my professor and our art department is because they liked how our website was designed. What they didn’t know, was that I designed it!
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to designing for the UN?
The biggest challenge is to have your work reviewed by many high level officials; it can go all the way to the top. Additionally, designing for such a large and well recognized organization means that it can sometimes be hard to get my more creative designs approved. With every design, I also have to be conscious of a range of sensitivities that surround an international organization like the UN, which has 193 member countries. I have to be careful not to start an international conflict with my design! (laughs)
That said, the rewards are also big. My work has been displayed and viewed by many nations around the globe. It’s given me the opportunity to influence many people and make an impact through my designs. I’ve also been able to work on unique projects. For example, I went to Haiti to teach design and digital media. I worked on a video campaign to advocate for peace which was displayed across 13 giant screens in Times Square. Working for the UN has been a truly unique experience and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.
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