“In the process of globalisation, everybody is losing a bit of his individuality … It is very timely for us designers to explore this issue – to rediscover who we are, and to celebrate our unique heritage. Let us take a step back so that we can go forward.” Russell Kennedy, Icograda past president.
Frida Larios is an Ambassador for INDIGO – the International Indigenous Design Network. Originally from San Salvador, Larios was inspired by Maya heritage, especially in the ancient Maya hieroglyphs. Her work during her postgraduate study gave birth to the “New Maya Language,” a set of twenty-three hieroglyphs that tells the story of her studied site, the Joya de Cerén UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Site. The design process of “New Maya Language” involved streamlining the iconography of the ancient writing system and combining it with a modern visual vocabulary to create a standardised pictogram system that is comprehensible to contemporary audience. The result is a set of modern yet ancestral icons that is versatile in various applications: art, product and fashion design, brand identities, information design, wayfinding and education systems for archaeological sites and public spaces, as well as children’s toys. Larios says that:
“by reviving and celebrating the Maya cultural and visual identity, the ‘New Maya Language’ can inspire current and future generations and bring new life to the sacred stones.”
In keeping with the intention of safeguarding traditional culture, Larios has fostered close collaboration with indigenous craftsmen to produce items using local resources.