1918–2006 Vоlоdymyr Oleksiiovych Pobiedin. Designer, Professor, Innovator. an Exercice in Admiration


Olha Hladun s’appuie sur les témoignages d’anciens amis, étudiants et collègues du professeur et designer Vladimir Pobiedin (1918-2006), pour mieux connaître ce concepteur à l'avant-garde de la création de logotypes à Kharkiv à la fin du XXe siècle. Ces propos rapportés rendent compte de la valeur et de l’importance de sa contribution pour ses pairs et le monde du graphisme ukrainien. Dans le même temps, ils dressent un portrait en creux du designer et de son caractère, qui semblent pouvoir se lire en filigrane de sa production graphique. L’article délivre également une chronologie générale de la vie de Pobiedin.

Outstanding Ukrainian designer, artist, and pedagogue, Vоlоdymyr Oleksiiovych Pobiedin created for over 700 established trademarks and over 2,000 draft projects. Over the 40 years as educator, Pobiedin taught more than 1,500 students. He is the author of the monograph Marks in Graphic Design [Знаки в графическом дизайне] (published by Ranok in 2001).

This article contains Volodymyr Pobiedin’s memories of students, colleagues, and his comments on the created trademarks.

Students and colleagues’ memories

Our generation of students from the 2000s only witnessed Vоlоdymyr Oleksiiovych Pobiedin Fig. 1 by the end of his teaching practice, and thus did not have a chance to grasp its significance. It was only in our own professional experience that we came to truly appreciate his professional insight.

As practitioners, experiencing the complexity of the work that goes into the development of visual identities, while constantly being affronted by the low-quality of sign graphics in today Ukraine, laying bare the blanks in education, we developed a desire to learn again.

No longer in the classroom, it was only when creating graphic marks of our own that we learnt to appreciate the sense of proportion and imagination.

In today’s design practices, the work of Pobiedin is valuable for its minimalist imagery and the high level of abstraction. Multifaceted signs emerge from a minimum of means. The unique form is created in a detailed correlation of the proportion of compositional elements – that is the essential task of sign graphics, according to Pobiedin. His best works are timelessly relevant. This is the effect of high-quality form: well-considered plasticity and compositional stringency embodying the universal principles of modernism. Fig. 2

One can observe nowadays how those gouache-drawn graphics are bursting into smart design blogs as big sensations. That is also perhaps a didactic reason to look at them from another perspective.

U,N,А collective

Graphic designers,

Pobiedin’s students, graduated in the 2000s.

Trademarks by Vоlоdymyr Pobiedin are laconic and complete, each of those pieces of graphic design contains fastidious rhythmics and present a harmonious combination of divergent elements. Those images are astonishingly metaphoric and capable of sticking in memory for a long time.

Oleh Veklenko,

Graphic designer and teacher,

Pobiedin’s student, graduated in 1972.1

The outstanding characteristics of Pobiedin’s pedagogical skills were his thoroughness and the depth of information he provided. His calm, deliberate and confident way of speaking, as well as clear and correct enunciation and intellectuality, were the reasons why Volodymyr Oleksiiovych stood out among the professorship of both the department and the whole institute. As well as his quite subtle and refined sense of humor and irony that were indispensable for an artist working in the field of what was named industrial graphics at the time.

Oleksandr Bliakher

Graphic designer and teacher,

Pobiedin’s student (graduated in 1973) and colleague.2

The students’ attitude towards him varied through the different periods of their studies, and yet everyone would admire his erudition, intellectuality, and his utmost professionalism in applied graphics.

Volodymyr Lesniak

Graphic designer and teacher,

Pobiedin’s student (graduated in 1978) and colleague.3

Discussing how he used to organize the process of teaching – first of all, the slow rhythm in conducting a project was incomprehensible and annoying: weekly demonstrations of draft sketches accompanied by monotonous and partially meaningless discussion. […] However, I still think Volodymyr Oleksiiovych was one of the most intelligent professors in our department at the time (and perhaps also the most astute). […] It may well be that while holding for decades the only position for teaching his discipline, he remained a retrograde, whether willingly or not, in order to sort of protect his territory from encroachment attempts by others.

Yevhen Taboryskyi

Graphic designer and teacher,

Pobiedin’s student (graduated in 1983).

About Pobiedin’s trademarks4

Hadiach Poultry Plant, 1975 Fig. 3

Trademark for Hadiach Poultry Plant is a thick oval egg contour with a chicken silhouette inside resembling the “H” letter (Hadiach). The latter detail makes the egg-sign individualized as a registrable trademark.

Kremenchuk Experimental Plant at the Polytechnical Institute of Rail Car Manufacturing of the All-Union Research and Development Center Fig. 4

The idea of the trademark was to deliver the dynamics appropriate to transportation vehicles. The principal elements of its composition are the letters “КО” (for “Kremenchuk” and “opytny” – a Russian word for “experimental”). In the search for a solution, the “K” letter had transformed into three arrow-triangles directed rightwards and connected with the “О” letter, which performs like a wheel in a turning motion.

Lozova Forge and Stamping Plant, 1972 Fig. 5

The task at the stage of development was to make the trademark look steadily ponderable, having at the same time some plasticity and malleability. In the period of composition search, I was attracted for quite a while by the pattern of combining two simple geometric figures. The solution summarizing my persistent search turned out to be surprisingly simple.

Dnipropetrovsk Knitting Factory Fig. 6

Making up the trademark for Dnipropetrovsk Knitting Factory, I decided to go with the association pattern: its shape is constructed on the silhouette of a child’s paper boat, and a yarn stitch appearing on top. Eventually, the mark came out as a metaphor, bearing a slight resemblance to the letter “D” (Dnipropetrovsk).

All-Union Research and Development Center “Yuzhgiproshakht” (Southern Region Mine Development State Institute), 1983 Fig. 7

The graphic mark solution for “Yuzhgiproshakht”, research institute in Kharkiv, was fairly simple. “X”, which looks like a four-pointed radial star, is for Kharkiv, while the harmoniously interspersed black and white arrows are hinting at the character of the institute’s specialization: the underground work, and the extraction from under the ground.

Poltava Prosthetic Devices Factory Fig. 8

The graphic mark for Poltava Prosthetic Devices uses the correlation between the character of production and the different types of products. What we see is two letters “P” one inside the other, which reminds us of a medical belt on an ill person.

Volodymyr Pobiedin’s life: key dates5

  • 28.04.1918 Born in Ryazan (Russia)6.
  • 1936–1940 Studied at Ryazan Arts College.
  • 1940–1946 Served in the army, fought in World War II.
  • 1947–1953 Studied at Kharkiv Arts Institute.
  • 1950 Started a collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kharkiv.
  • 1953–1958 Deputy chief of research at Kharkiv Museum of Art.
  • 1964 Lecturer at the Industrial Graphic and Packaging Department at Kharkiv Institute of Arts and Industry.
  • 1982–1995 A member of the Arts Council at the Kharkiv branch of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • 1987 Became a member of the Designers Union of the USSR.
  • 1992 Became a member of the Kharkiv branch of the Designers Union of Ukraine.
  • 2001 Published his monograph Marks in Graphic Design (Ranok Publishing, 2001).
  • 2003 Retired as a professor of Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts.
  • 09.09.2006 Passed away in Kharkiv.

  1. A. POBIEDIN (ed.). Он и о нем. Владимир Алексеевич Победин. Попытка осмыслить немыслимое [He and about Him. Vladimir Alekseevich Pobiedin. An Attempt to Understand the Unthinkable. Kharkiv: Zolotye Stranitsy, 2018, p. 10-13.↩︎

  2. Ibid., p. 14-15.↩︎

  3. Ibid., p. 21-22.↩︎

  4. All comments on the created trademarks are issued from V. POBIEDIN. Знаки в графическом Дизайне [Marks in graphic design]. Kharkiv: Ranok, 2001.↩︎

  5. See also on Problemata : Olha HLADUN. Kharkiv School of Trademark Graphics (1920s-1980) and U,N,A Collective. Graphic Commissions in Kharkiv.↩︎

  6. Pobiedin spent the majority of his life in Ukraine, he got his art education at Kharkiv Art Institute (1947-1953) from Ukrainian graphic artists and since then he lived and worked in Kharkiv. (Ed. Note)↩︎