Founded in the '80s by Ian Anderson and Nick Phillips, The Designers Republic will be most famous to gamers for its amazing branding and iconography work on the WipEout series, but, as a design agency, its influence and impact goes way beyond that franchise.
The 512-page A To Z Of The Designers Republic aims to demonstrate that history, showcasing the firm's vast body of design work for a wide range of clients, including The Manchester School of Art, Gatecrasher, Aphex Twin, Moloko, Nike and Pop Will Eat Itself. An expanded reprint of a previous edition which now fetches crazy prices online, this timely update reminds us of just how important The Designers Republic has been when it comes to shaping the visual landscape of so many creative industries.
Boasting extensive input from Anderson himself (including an excellent and exhaustive interview), A To Z Of The Designers Republic is the epitome of a coffee table classic; each page is packed with visual information, made all the more compelling by the fact that the company's design vision looks utterly timeless.
It's genuinely hard to believe some of these images are 40 years old; even the imagery produced for the first WipEout – itself approaching its 30th birthday – looks as fresh and exciting in 2024 as it did when we first laid eyes on it in 1995. Also included are the designs done for Formula Fusion, the WipEout spiritual successor that would eventually be released under the title Pacer.
Even without Anderson's insightful and often ebullient commentary, A To Z Of The Designers Republic would come with the highest possible recommendation; this book contains the design language of an entire generation, covering video games, music, advertising, art and much more besides.
At £60, it's hardly what you'd call cheap, but if you lived through the dawn of the PlayStation era, you'll already know how badly you want it. For everyone else, this feels like the rulebook on how to create solid and memorable brands which last a lifetime, and is essential reading for any aspiring artist or graphic designer.
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