The Designers Republic creates images that make the most jaded consumer a sucker for packaging. The work is playful in every sense: bright, candy-colored compositions with anime cartoon children running rampant; it's like Hello Kitty playing laser tag. Yet these images... [more]
The Designers Republic creates images that make the most jaded consumer a sucker for packaging. The work is playful in every sense: bright, candy-colored compositions with anime cartoon children running rampant; it's like Hello Kitty playing laser tag. Yet these images play snidely with branding, corporate logos, and other visual ticks of our consumer culture -- emblems, bar codes, mascots. They grab our attentions, and then hit us with a slogan that acts more like a punch line.
Ian Anderson founded the company in 1986 as a "declaration of independence from what we perceive to be the existing design community." Its anti-established design aesthetic incorporates youthful images (cartoon characters and spaceships) and juicy colors (fuchsia, lemon, and turquoise) into a special brand of pop propaganda. Anderson believes his lack of formal design education is the reason for his work's originality.
The designs exhibit a postmodern tendency towards conscious, cheeky irony. They trade on branding logic, winking at national symbols and images from recycled advertisements. A banner commissioned for the "Customized Terror" exhibition features a red Pepsi logo recontextualized by the phrase "Work Buy Consume Die." Anderson described the attitude behind the poster as "Generation Next versus Generation X, consumer fascism versus the Empire of the Sun, Pop Designer's Republic Cola culture. Buy nothing, pay now!"
The Republic mocks traditional design hierarchies by appropriating the strictly functional tools of corporate identity and using them to build anti-capitalist jokes, puns, and games. It's no surprise that half of their clients are in the music and entertainment industries. Anderson described his delight at designing for little-known bands: "It appeals to our sense of humor to present such a group in big-league terms by giving their visuals the attributes of something multinational and reliable that the consumer really should know about already. This is the Emperor's New Clothes theory!" [show less]