He made his name as an author of comic drawings with funny psychological-social messages which were published by publications like the weekly supplement Wysokie Obcasy. Now his focus is on print designs, visual identifications and public space installations.
Graphic designer, specializing in editorial, book, visual identity, and poster design, as well as illustration.
Filip Zagórski experiments with infographics, for which he develops a synthetic and universal language. He likes to undertake challenges which force him to revise his views and make him seek new stylistic solutions. The possibility of drawing from many disciplines such as art, sociology, science, technology, philosophy, and literature enriches his art and he makes a point to take up many activities at once to avoid routine.
He was a graduate of the Faculty of Graphic Art from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. Originally considering architecture, he ultimately came to the conclusion that graphic design would allow him to explore similar visual areas but with a quicker output. “I’m impatient” he admits.
"Applied art is accessible to many people. I like the fact that there isn’t as much solemnity in graphic design as there is in the discourse of ‘pure art’. I appreciate an artisan’s approach, I don’t consider myself an artist” says Zagórski,
Zagórski has been recently fascinated with the language of visual statistics and data visualisations. He explores the possibilities of conveying knowledge by means of synthetic ideograms.
The series of infographics Świat przyszłości (Future World) was part of the exhibition Coś, które nadchodzi. Architektura XXI wieku (Something that Approaches. 21st Century Architecture), organised by the Bęc Zmiana Foundation. In his work, Zagórski presents and comments on social tendencies described by experts and he addresses issues that will be crucial to the shaping of the future.
The infographics designed by Filip Zagórski refer to the principles outlined in the 1930s by Otto Neurath, the creator of the monumental codified pictogram system ISOTYPE (International System of Typographic Education).
I’m fascinated and inspired by the Utopian modernistic idea, which illuminated Neurath’s mind. According to this concept all of the phenomenons linked to contemporary man were to be described by simplified graphic signs.
Zagórski used a similar technique while creating a project made for the Panoptykon Foundation. The assignment required precision and brevity and was his attempt to present issues involving complicated content concerning personal data security in picture language.
But this is only one of the many trails blazed by Zagórski. He also participated in a project that overlapped with the interests of art and underground zine culture. The erotic magazine “with literature, art and love” named Ruch was founded by Zagórski, the artist Wojtek Pustoła and writer Jaś Kapela, in collaboration with the Nowy Theatre in Warsaw. Readers may ask: Why does a perverse magazine have such a minimalistic layout and why does it use avant-garde fonts? The authors answered in an interview with Izabela Szymańska that they “wanted Ruch to be simple and formally elegant” (Co jest grane supplement, Warsaw 25/11/2009). Ruch addressed the issues of erotica and perversion and was primarily an experimental publication, an artistic proposition and a cultural artifact.
The group (Pustoła, Zagórski and Łukasz Rayski) collaborated on a poster for the exhibition show polak (Pole Show) in Merida, Mexico in 2008. Zagórski used a red marker to make a nervous drawing which showed a figure of an anthropomorphic white eagle that resembled an “easygoing dude.” The work was part of a showcase exhibition of Polish applied graphic art from the past 30 years, which was entitled Design for Freedom – Freedom in Design. It was shown in Berlin and Tokyo in 2011.
This project was how the designer, somewhat accidentally, introduced to the visual circuit the figure of “the Pole” represented as a pompous but humorous character that wears a crown and has the head of an eagle on a bare torso.
In making the theatre posters for the Nowy Theatre in Warsaw’s spectacle Ichś Fiszer, Zagórski used a different technique. The emotional language of tensions and provocations was combined with a dominating photographic image and with a typography which constituted an almost separate, autonomous sphere of the work. The poster engaged the viewers as it purposely disclosed little information. Viewers are left not knowing where and by whom will Hanoch Levin’s Ichś Fiszer be staged. Instead, they get the impression of being left alone with the slightly artificial and more or less helpless smile of a boy who stands in the photograph in his wet swimming trunks.
Although Zagórski’s various works belong to different genres they do have certain qualities in common like: being energetic and merging geometrical and dynamic typography with contrast, having distilled colours and fragments of photographic compositions in order to induce an emotional effect.
Zagórski works mostly in Poland but also travels frequently. His activity in the field of education enables him to distance himself from his work. In the years 2007-2008 he lectured on visual communication at Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatan in Mexico. From 2012 until 2013 he taught the same subject at the Raffles Design Institute in New Dehli. Since 2013 he has been a lecturer at the Poznań School of Form.
2014 +48 Social Club
, Tokyo Designers Week, VACANT 2F, Tokyo
2013 Dobry Wzór 2013
, Polski Instytut Wzornictwa Przemysłowego (Polish Institute of Industrial Design), Warsaw
2013 Projekt Roku (Project of the Year),
2012 Design for Freedom - Freedom in Design
. Studio 44, Stockholm
Contemporary Polish Poster and Illustration, Undergroundzero Festival, New York
2012 Illustration PL #2
, Soho Factory, Warsaw
2011 That Something on the Horizon, Architecture of the 21st Century
, Bęc Zmiana Foundation, Warsaw
2011 Silkworms Gallery, Ad Arte Foundation, Poznań
2011 Tokyo Graphic Passport 2011
, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo
Łódź Design Festival
2011 Design for Freedom - Freedom in Design. Graphic Design in Poland 1981-2011,
2011 18th Lahti Internetional Poster Biennale
, Lahti City Museum, Finland
2010 “EYE ON POLAND” - New Polish Graphic Design
, Shanghai Hongqiao Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai, China
International Poster Biennale, Wilanów
2009 Sofia Design Week
, Sofia, Bulgaria
Author: Lidia Pańków, September 2013. Updated AM, May 2016.