The DART Interview: Sergio Baradat

By Peggy Roalf   Tuesday January 8, 2019

Year 2019 begins for me with a new take on the long-running DART Q&A. That Proustean model has been advanced with the subject-based DART Interview, starting with Sergio Baradat. A long-time subscriber, subject, and if I may blow his cover, the brilliant mind behind the DJ tracks you've been grooving to at The Party over the years. Sergio's multidisciplinary talents, his love art, photography, design, politics, plus, and I quote, “a fascination with odd bits of data,” make him the ideal match for one of the most demanding creative careers in New York City: Lead/Graphics and Communications, United Nations Postal Administration.

Peggy Roalf: The United Nations Postal Administration promotes humanistic programs that the organization stands for, such as peace, human rights, the environment, endangered species, and gender inequality. How do you approach these large themes—which can become quite abstract when noted in a couple of words?

Sergio Baradat: It can be challenging at times. The UNPA deals with many themes, some of which can be difficult subjects, such as child abuse and gender inequality. We try to approach each issue with an open mind, always thinking about maintaining the integrity of the theme and the UN’s overall mission. We strive to showcase art and photography that illuminate the themes and messages clearly so they may be understood by people of many origins and languages.

PR: For your World Language stamps, there are so many iterations of the three different designs, from single stamps to first day covers (below) and various sets. Can you describe intricacies of the design process for this group of stamps?

SB: This is a format we have used successfully before. The layout can be tricky because there are six stamps that must read individually once the consumer tears them apart for use, but the art must also read as a full sheet.

PR: Your postage stamp designs, which I’ve been following over the years since our first DART interview in 2012, have unusual qualities for such small objects. In fact, to my eye, their eye-popping appeal approaches the scale of a poster. So how do you go about creating the art for these mini-billboards?

SB: Ah that’s a great question! I forget which professor at Parsons taught me that a piece of art should read clearly from postage stamp size to billboard in it’s scalability. I believe this to be true, and that observation has stayed with me throughout my career.

On average my canvas for stamps ranges from 30 MM to 50 MM; that’s not much real estate. This format makes it more difficult to embellish, or for an artist to hide behind common designer/illustrator tricks. Everything has to be there, especially here at the UN, where we deal with complex subjects in our stamps. Furthermore, many have enormous amounts of text in a minimum of three languages that must be included. You’d be surprised at the number of artists I have worked with who underestimate the difficulties that lie within the art of the stamp.

PR: This new design, which will be released February 21, takes a new approach to the idea of a sheet of stamps. In fact the entire page, before being torn into individual stamps, reads like a single image. How did this idea come to you?

SB: My idea for this series was this: what if you were invited to a fabulous cocktail party where everyone in the world was happily introducing themselves to each other in a kind and respectful way.

UNAP stamps and stationary products may be purchased at its headquarters buildings in New York, Geneva and Vienna, or online. Sergio's 2012 interview in DART here.

This just in from UN Information Office

Languages play a crucial role in the daily lives of people. It is through language that we communicate with the world, define our identity, express our history and culture, learn, defend our human rights and participate in all aspects of society. People use language to preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression and to construct their future.

But despite their immense value, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate. The United Nations declared 2019 The Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness about these unique languages and to appreciate the important contribution they make to our world’s rich cultural diversity.

On 21 February 2019, which is the observance of International Mother Language Day, UNPA will issue three mini-sheets of six stamps to commemorate world languages. The stamps sheets feature greetings in 41 languages. They were illustrated and designed by Sergio Baradat (United Nations). dart-interview MP031019



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