The Designers Republic
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The Designers Republic (TDR for short) was a graphic design studio, founded in 1986 and based in Sheffield, England. It was known for its anti-establishment aesthetics, while simultaneously embracing brash consumerism and the uniform style of corporate brands, such as Orange and Coca-Cola. The studio closed in January 2009, though Anderson has stated that "[The Designers Republic] will go forward after this". Despite this, Warp Records announced in 2010 that the studio had designed Oversteps and Move of Ten, Autechre's tenth album and EP respectively, as well as designing their 1991–2002 EP collection artwork in 2011 and the album artwork for their eleventh release, 2013's Exai.
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-inch "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.
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 and Aphex Twin, tDR has also created covers for other label artists such as Moloko, Fluke, Funkstörung, The Orb, Pulp (and Jarvis Cocker), Pop Will Eat Itself, Supergrass and Towa Tei.
Outside 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.
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 French musician-producer Julien Civange for its Music2Titan mission to take music on the European Space Agency's Cassini–Huygens probe to the moon Titan in 2004.
On 20 January 2009, after 23 years in operation, tDR closed for business.
The Designers Republic's works are often playful and bright, and considered Maximum-minimalist, mixing images from Japanese anime 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.
TDR have worked in a diverse range of media, including:
- Covers of CDs, vinyl records and DVDs
- Web design
- Music video production
- Apparel design
- Corporate design
- Logo design
- Burgoyne, Patrick (23 January 2009). "The Designers Republic Is Dead; Long Live The Designers Republic". Creative Review Blog. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
- Harrison, Ian (2001). "Age of Chance: Don't Get Mad Get Even! (The New York Remixes)". Q: The 100 Best Record Covers of All Time. EMAP. p. 72. Retrieved 24 January 2009.[dead link]
- "Back Issues: Emigre 29". Emigre. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
- Brain Aided Design SoYo: The Designers Republic[broken citation]