David Rudnick

Graphic design as world building.

David Rudnick (he/him) was born in 1986 in London. He is based in Ghent, Belgium where he works from a collaborative studio – Terrain.

Career

At the age of eight, Rudnick’s gateway into design was the album leaflet for The Best of New Order (1994). His collaborations since, with musicians including Evian Christ, Oneohtrix Point Never and M.I.A, have exerted profound influence both within and beyond this sphere.

Process

A self-taught designer, for nearly a decade Rudnick’s chosen design tool has been a 2012 Macbook Pro on account of its 1-to-1 pixel mapping. “It’s the best screen Apple ever produced,” he says, “it has the widest colour gamut and the deepest black.”

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

David Rudnick reinvents past tropes and codes to establish new visual systems. His ornate typefaces and dawn-of-the-internet visuals have become synonymous with millennial subcultures and their tendencies towards political resistance. For two decades he has created posters, music videos, album covers, performances, books and art-objects. Processes are wilfully laborious, with many designs drawn with his laptop's built-in trackpad or crafted using self-made tools and programmes. Rudnick describes his practice as “primacist” in nature, framing contemporary image-making as a “struggle for primacy.” This struggle refers to a viewer’s need to decide whether the digital or physical source of an image, object or idea holds more value. Graphic design provides a means to explore the “gaps and overlaps” between the two.

In the 1990s, as the internet proliferated exponentially around the world, Rudnick was studying the Northern Renaissance – a period in 15th century Europe where printing technologies enabled artists to drastically change public perceptions of religion and power. The parallels he observed – of visual culture as an integral part of, and disruptive force in, society – form the basis of his conceptual approach. For Rudnick, all modes of design collectively develop the environment in which we live. “We’re not ‘saving’ the world. But what we are doing, all of us cumulatively, is creating and re-creating the world of the now.”

“We need to reject the notion that, as designers, we work for our clients. The people we work for are our audience. Neglect that, and we start to build dystopias.” David Rudnick

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