Josep Pla-Narbona belongs to the Pioneers of Design generation in Spain, and he was the founder of Grafistas FAD (the first Spanish association of graphic design professionals). His sketches reveal constant, tireless and almost compulsive exploration. Pla-Narbona makes life drawings, mixing his unmistakable symbolism with anthropomorphic figures and jotting words and meanings on the margins of his papers. He indistinctly explores the dictionary and the psyche, inventing terms that feed his unique universe.
Historically, the sketch in commercial graphics has not been sufficiently valued: it has always been the final result, the printed matter that has been shown as the conclusive piece.
The process, including the final artwork has been discarded, and very often lost or destroyed. The paradox is that today, where the existence of any original physical artwork is quite improbable because everything is done digitally, a sketch on paper acquires great documental significance. And in Josep’s case, it has the added value of his memory and teaching skills: he still uses paper and pencil to explain his ideas.
Probably the freshness of immediacy is more likely to be found in his drafts than in his final drawings. The absence of, or as yet undefined, typographical detail, color palette or any other mannerism revealing the period of execution of his drawings makes it difficult to date them. They still seem current and, therefore, accessible to a new public equipped with very effective tools, but that seeks -like every generation- an individual voice of its own.