Independent Design > Nadav Barkan

by Itay Blaish | 06.05.14


I always admire those who can do a bit of everything without getting distracted from their own path.
The ability to see yourself as an establishment of ideas, and not only as man of one profession is very rare among graphic designers.

So, without further ado, meet one of my favourite graphic designer in town.
I had the chance to ask Nadav a few questions.

Full Name: Nadav Barkan
Profession: Graphic Designer
Current Job: Independent Designer, Senior lecturer at Shenkar college of engineering and design, Innovation director at Open branding agency (Part Time)
Graduate of London college of communication (MA), Shenkar college of engineering and design (BA)

Can you tell me about yourself? 
Visual language is my main form of communication, I can also speak Hebrew and English if necessary
I spent my childhood in South Africa, and communicating through images was a necessity. When I first moved to SA I only was familiar with Hebrew, and in order to survive in the chaotic environment of the nursery, new visual skills needed to be developed.

Since then, I find basic symbolism and iconography fascinating. I truly get excited when stumbling upon simple forms of visual communication, which have the ability to communicate with the lowest amount of ink or pixels spent on designing them.

Today, after obtaining my MA Design in LCC (London) and working for agencies as Pentagram, I work in Israel. I split my time between designing for branding projects, Lecturing in the Visual Communication department at Shenkar. I also research, design and develop pictograms and icons for various projects, from client based to personal interest based projects.

What and who inspires you the most these days?
I guess that what inspires me most these days is wordless graphic design. The ability of an individual, no matter if he is design educated or not to communicate a certain message by using solely graphic methods.
Another big inspiration would be the work of Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz on the Isotype project, Which I still find relevant today.

whats so special about Icons for you? 
I find icons and symbols so intriguing because they exist on the border line between typography and image based communication. On one hand they can act as a set, designed by certain rules and work together similar to a typeface. And on the other an icon has the ability to function as a unique one piece form of communication, similar to a poster or a painting.

Tell me about the Icons that you made?
I design icons on a daily basis, for a variety of projects and needs. From icon sets for identity systems and branding projects such as Ella’s UP icons and Fusic icons made for OPEN. The other route of icon design concentrates on a personal / Cultural non commercial aspect of icon design. My latest projects include “Sticks and Stones” an icon set inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote “”I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones” . Another project is “The Easterns” an icon set which deals with prejudice graphic tropes in Israel. I also design a monthly theme based navigation icons for “Untitled magazine”. Icons for Mixtape Font by AlefAlefAlef. Other fun projects include a special “Passover icon set” and you can find middle eastern cultural related icons at the “Noun Project” and in this blog.

Nadav’s Website












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