Across Borders; The Inspiring Project Defying Borders and Designing Collaboratively in Aid of Refugee Women in Lebanon

In the words of Mayúscula (@mayusculabrands), ‘Borders are meeting points, not barriers; crossroads where we can all meet to imagine a better destiny’. This thoughtful reshuffle of what borders are, what they could be, and what they mean, serves as fuel for the collaborative project Across Borders (@designacrossborders); created and directed by the Barcelona-based multicultural branding and design studio Mayúscula, as part of the Barcelona Design Week 2020 and in aid of NGO, Rescate.

Across Borders Exhibition
Across Borders Exhibition

Founded by Rocío Martinavarro in 2010, Mayúscula hold breaking down communication barriers at their core; helping brands to maximise their potential and centring multicultural sensitivity in their work. They’ve designed in 10+ languages including Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Azerbaijani and Japanese, for a collection of multinational companies and startups. In its second edition, Mayúscula’s values have bled into Across Borders to create a unique, powerful collection of collaborative posters, live events, interviews/dialogues and more.

Across Borders Exhibition
Across Borders Exhibition
Across Borders Posters
Across Borders Posters
Across Borders Participants
Across Borders Participants

A global, collaborative and intercultural initiative, Across Borders believes in ‘design as a tool to break borders and create a positive impact on society’. As the studio elaborate, ‘In a world in which 272 million people live outside their countries of origin, Across Borders vindicates our cultural identity, diversity and wide variety of points of view, analysing in depth our differences and similarities through design’.

Across Borders Poster by Camila Rosa & Noopur Datye (Ek Type)
Poster by Camila Rosa & Noopur Datye (Ek Type)
Across Borders Poster by Lara Captan & Lisa Huang
Poster by Lara Captan & Lisa Huang

Connecting over 50 renowned designers, illustrators, calligraphers and typographers from 30 different countries, Across Borders saw the creation of a collection of 30 collaborative posters to be exhibited at the Disseny Hub Barcelona 17-29 of November, as part of the Barcelona Design Week. ‘Each poster is the result of the collaborative work between two designers. In its execution, physical, linguistic and cultural barriers have been overcome among them. The work base theme was borders and all the debate around them’, the studio say.

Detail of poster by Elinor Aishah Holland & Kaoru Akagawa
Detail of poster by Elinor Aishah Holland & Kaoru Akagawa

Participants included Tina Touli, Asuka Watanabe, Irene Pereyra (Anton & Irene), Lupi Asensio (TwoPointsNet), Maria Montes, Maria Fabuel (Domestic Data Streamers), Rocío Martinavarro, Kaoru Akagawa, Nadine Chahine, Rendani Nemakhavhani, Jing Wei, Dora Balla, Rachel Joy Price and Camila Rosa, among others. The posters bring together stories, memories and musings on borders, connection, and we how relate to one another as humans; resulting in the a breathtaking, poignant collection of work. 

Across Borders Poster Lynne Yun & Laura Meseguer
Poster Lynne Yun & Laura Meseguer
VR Painting Experience - Soraya Syed
VR Painting Experience – Soraya Syed

Whilst the exhibition in Barcelona has come to a close, Mayúscula say it will be touring and their hope is to be showing somewhere else soon. In addition, Across Borders consists of a live, immersive VR painting experience between artists Tatiana Halbach (Desilence) from Barcelona, and Soraya Syed (Art of the Pen) from London, where the artists work together on one canvas to create a collaborative piece, viewable online. 

VR Painting Experience - Tatiana Halbach
VR Painting Experience – Tatiana Halbach
Across Borders poster by Nadine Chahine & TienMin Liao
Poster by Nadine Chahine & TienMin Liao

In the mean time, the posters are for sale until 20 December, with all proceeds going towards providing help to Syrian refugee women in Lebanon, alongside Spanish NGO, Rescate. As Mayúscula explain, ’75% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live below the poverty line. 60% of women do not have access to underwear or feminine hygiene products, which, together with poor water and sanitation facilities, can lead to infections and other health problems. Through the sale of the Across Borders posters and direct donations to the NGO Rescate, Across Borders Dignity Kits will be created with basic feminine hygiene products and underwear. These will be donated directly to five different settlements in the Bekaa Valley. Each poster equivales two kits’.

Posters by Marga Oller (Mucho) & Irene Pereyra (Anton & Irene)
Aga Kotowska & Katyayani Singh (&Walsh) | Tina Touli & Asuka Watanabe | Sol Matas & Lucienne Roberts

The posters, available to purchase online, are beautifully and unusually printed in HP Indigo with special inks (CMYK + Pantone + Fluor pink), some with special finishes more typical of luxury graphic applications; such as laser cutting and foil stamping on large surfaces. Again, the posters are available for purchase until 20 December, so be sure to take a look. This project is such a beautiful, inspiring reminder of the power of creativity and design – a huge thank you to Mayúscula for sharing the story of Across Borders with us.