The Republic Return

April 27th, 2011 by Mat Dolphin

Last night we traveled to The Parfitt Gallery to attend the opening of ‘The Designers Republic Come Home To Croydon‘ – a solo exhibition of work by Ian Anderson shown in his childhood home town. The founder of the legendary Sheffield based studio was showing various pieces of work curated from the last 25 years.

The exhibition is largely influenced by Anderson’s childhood home in Thornton Heath – 28 Zermatt Road.

Whilst there was some interesting work was on display, I must say it would have been nice to read some information on the thought process behind the work. For a pretty small exhibition there’s not a huge amount to engage to viewer and, for me, finding out a bit more about tDR and the concept behind their more significant work would’ve been a fascinating insight. That said, Ian Anderson has famously never been one for design hero worship and clearly enjoys keeping his process veiled in an aura of mystery and in-jokes. While we weren’t really expecting much of an explanation, some background information would’ve put the work into some kind of context.

If you missed the recent tDR 25th anniversary exhibition at GGG in Tokyo, you’ll have to make do with sunny Croydon. The exhibition is showing at The Parfitt Gallery until 1st June 2011. More images can be seen on the CR Blog.

Thanks for reading, if you’ve seen the exhibition and have any thoughts, feel free to get in touch.


6 Responses to “The Republic Return”

  1. Funny I missed you guys. I got there around 7-ish.

    Comment by Tom Muller — April 27th, 2011 @ 12:59 pm |
  2. I know — We only realised you were there from your Instagram picture updates. Hopefully we can catch up soon, but thank you for reading the post Tom.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — April 27th, 2011 @ 1:02 pm |
  3. why do you want / need to know the process? the process is there to deliver the work. why create something to provoke a response then accompany it with a deconstruction of what you’re trying to achieve and why?
    are you the kind of person who likes some pre-amble about the meaning of the lyrics before every song at a gig?
    as a creative don’t you prefer to be allowed the space to interpret what you see hear feel in your own way on your own terms?
    this is an exhibition, it’s a performance, it’s not a workshop. the work is designed to provoke a response – naturally some people’s response will be one of disappointment and that’s as valid a response as any… but i don’t understand why you’d want it all explained to you. i don’t understand why you don’t want to do that for yourself

    Comment by ian anderson — April 28th, 2011 @ 11:04 pm |
  4. Hi Ian

    Thanks for your response.

    In answer to your questions, I don’t necessarily need to know anything about the process. I’m capable of coming to my own conclusions on the work that’s put in front of me and forming my own opinions on the exhibition. That said, as someone with a passionate interest in graphic design and the work you’re showing, I feel the process of answering a brief (client or self initiated) and working within these constraints can be as interesting as the final result.

    By no means am I expecting to have my hand held and every design decision explained to me. For me, however – and perhaps I’m approaching the exhibition in completely the wrong way – to see the work with some background information on what you’re trying to achieve would have put the work into some kind of context and, if nothing else, been really interesting. I don’t think it would’ve affected the way I interpreted the messages behind the work.

    I feel the difference between and the lyrics of a song and ‘traditional’ graphic design is that while both communicate a message of some sort, the latter tends to sit within a pre-defined set of boundaries which affect the work and the way it’s created. It would be fascinating to know a bit more about these boundaries. Were there any? Did they make a difference to the way you approached the work? How much of the work was for a client? How much was self initiated? The answers to these questions clearly aren’t vital and I’m certainly not suggesting the exhibition is incomplete without them but maybe they would’ve given me even more to go on in forming opinions and reactions?

    And no, I’m not a fan of chat between songs at gigs.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — May 3rd, 2011 @ 12:51 pm |
  5. the work at the show is simply work at a show. it’s creates its own context. i’m pleased that people find it fascinating to know more but that’s not the function of the exhibition. if anything the intention is to deliberately further blur the lines between what is commercial and what is self-initiated should you assume there’s a line to be drawn.
    information should be achieved not given.
    i’m happy to answer questions if people have any.

    Comment by ian anderson — May 3rd, 2011 @ 1:24 pm |
  6. Do you see the work as art or design? Do you feel the need to make the distinction?

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — May 3rd, 2011 @ 2:58 pm |