'A Better Philippines Involves A Good Sense of Aesthetics'

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines -- London-based graphic designer Roderick Salada Enriquez, although "off to have lunch with friends at one of my favorite French restaurants" in London during Royal Wedding day, was nonetheless "very excited for Britain" on the occasion. "I think this sort of event helps the British economy tremendously, to be quite honest. Also, of all the never-ending depressing and bad stories we get to read from the papers these days about Britain, at least something positive may make up for them!"

He would be celebrating with more fanfare the upcoming London 2012 Olympics, however, as he was one of the winners of a UK-wide design competition by the Royal Mint for special Olympics editions of the heptagonal 50-pence coin, which feature various Olympic sports. His entry's selection as the design of the Wrestling coin makes him the first-ever Filipino to design British currency.

Enriquez, originally from Zamboanga City, moved to the UK in 1997 to study Graphics and Media Design at the London College of Communication, reportedly the best university for graphic design studies in the world. He got a job after graduation in a UK publishing company and has worked in London since, tackling all aspects of the field, from direct mail, websites, corporate literature, packaging and above and below the line campaign materials to conceptualizing ad campaigns for events like the British Motor Show, the Ideal Home Show and Tastes of London. He is now specializing in interface and applications design, creating trading platforms for a financial services firm in the City of London.

Enriquez, 34, joined the public competition to design 50-pence coins for the London Olympics "just in case I have to move out of the country." "It couldn't have been a better way to leave something that reminds me of my time living in London," he recalls. "Most of all, I wanted to make sure that if in case I would be successful in the competition, there is something my native country, the Philippines, can be proud of!"

Manila Bulletin: What was your first reaction upon seeing your coin in circulation?

Roderick Salada Enriquez: I must say ever since my coin design has been circulated January 2011, I've never seen one in public myself. But few of my friends who got hold of some decided to keep them. Funny enough this is something the Royal Mint has warned us in the beginning. Saying that four million copies per design may sound a lot but when the public keeps them once they get hold of one, we may find it hard to see the coin in public. Hence, I bought a few from the Royal Mint's online shop.

MB: You wanted to combine the classic with the very contemporary branding of the London Olympics design in your Wrestling coin. How did you manage to convey this?

Enriquez: Indeed, the branding of the London 2012 Olympics is very contemporary and very modern. Something I am not against by all means, although I will reserve my judgment on the logo as everyone has their own views regarding that subject. But what I felt with the entire look and feel of its branding is that it is a tiny bit far removed from the origin and history of the Olympics itself. That is why I chose the sport Wrestling as one of my design entries for the competition. Also because it's one of the original and oldest sports in the Olympics.

I also wanted to implement the classic aspect of the sport by applying a sculptural and statuesque feel to my design. I thought that could work cohesively with the contemporary branding. So that my design wouldn't look flat, I placed the two wrestlers right in the middle of an arena with a crowd--represented by the dots-at the back laid out in a perspective to give a bit of depth. And these very rectilinear or curvilinear lines or shapes are the ones that link or tie the old, classic wrestling imagery to the contemporary branding of the London 2012.

Also, it may not be that obvious on the actual coin but the image of the two wrestlers are actually formed by different shapes and outlined with thick, heavy lines, as if to say that Londoners who come from different cultural backgrounds are the hosts and what shapes the London 2012 Olympics. …