The Designers Republic  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Designers Republic (tDR for short) was a graphic design studio, founded on 14 July 1986 by Ian Anderson, and based in Sheffield, England. The Designers Republic was introduced to a larger audience by their record covers for the English electronica label Warp Records (also based in Sheffield). In addition to designing the covers for much of Warp's roster of artists, such as Autechre, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, tDR has also the visuals, packaging and manual for the console game Wipeout in 1995.

Contents

History

Initially, Ian Anderson founded The Designers Republic to design flyers for the band Person to Person, which he managed at the time. His first ideas were inspired by Russian constructivism. From their beginning, the works should be viewed in contrast to the current understanding of design...

...tDR is a declaration of independence from what we perceive to be the existing design community.

An early client was Leeds band Age of Chance, for whom they developed a series of record covers between 1986 and 1987. The sleeve of the 1987 12" "Don't Get Mad... Get Even! (The New York Remixes)" was selected as one of Q's "100 Best Record Covers of All Time" in 2001.

In 1994, Emigre magazine magazine devoted a whole issue to the Designers Republic, a copy of which was bought by NY MoMA. This issue is still Emigre’s best-ever seller and is now sold out - copies having fetched in excess of $750 in auction.

The Designers Republic was introduced to a larger audience by their record covers for the English electronica label Warp Records (also based in Sheffield). In addition to designing the covers for much of Warp's roster of artists, such as Autechre, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, tDR has also created covers for other label artists such as Fluke, Funkstörung, The Orb, Pulp (and Jarvis Cocker), Pop Will Eat Itself, Supergrass and Towa Tei.

Outside of the musical sector, tDR created the visuals, packaging and manual for the PlayStation/Sega Saturn game Wipeout (1995), the interface for the PC game Hardwar (1998), and packaging and posters for the first Grand Theft Auto (1997). They cooperated with the Swatch company in 1996 to design their own watch. They also designed the packaging for Sony's AIBO.

The book 3D → 2D: Adventures In And Out Of Architecture, released in 2001, was an architectural examination of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia presented in the graphic style of their previous work. The book was pre-ordered by over 3,000 fans.Template:Fact

tDR opened its own store, The Peoples Bureau For Consumer Information™, in the shopping district of Shibuya in Tokyo, as an extension of the online store www.thepeoplesbureau.com - itself a homage to the influence of consumerism in their work.Template:Fact

tDR has consulted on the re-branding of the city of Quito, capital of Ecuador, and was the only non-national design company to be invited to propose a new flag for Slovenia. tDR was also commissioned to create a logo and general graphic design by the European Space Agency for its Music2Titan mission to take music on the Cassini–Huygens probe to the moon Titan in 2004.

"It was an honour and a privilege to be involved with the Music2Titan project. It is rare to have the opportunity to be involved in some way in such a potentially momentus project for mankind long term and a pleasure that it isn't purely commercially motivated." - Ian Anderson

In 2006 and 2008 tDR was identified as one of the UK's 100 coolest brands by the British Council.

On 20 January 2009, after 23 years in operation, tDR closed for business.

Influence

The work of tDR had great influence on the development of graphic design, especially in the fields of web and cover design in the electronica scene.

Style

The Designers Republic's works are often playful and bright, and considered Maximum-minimalist, mixing images from Japanese anime cartoons and subvertised corporate logos, with a postmodern tendency towards controversial irony, featuring statements like "Work Buy Consume Die", "Robots Build Robots", "Customized Terror", "Buy nothing, pay now", and "Made In The Designers Republic". They also celebrated their northern roots with phrases like "Made in the Designers Republic, North of Nowhere" and "SoYo" (referring to Sheffield's county of South Yorkshire) — affirming they were not from London's design community in Soho.

Works

TDR have worked in a diverse range of media, including:

Selected clients

Business clients




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Designers Republic" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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