gone but not forgotten.
I was taken aback to hear that Sheffield’s finest, the Designers Republic, closed for business last week. I interviewed tDR’s voluble founder Ian Anderson several times, and wrote articles on their work for the Sunday Times Magazine, Ray Gun and Print. For a good while, they were right up there on my list of favourite design companies, so I’ve always taken a close interest in what tDR – and various super-talented alumni – got up to. Ten years ago in their pomp, their contrary attitude, irreverent wit and ‘more-is-more’ signature style set them apart and spawned a distinctive aesthetic that had soon permeated the mainstream. And that was the problem. What was once original and edgy became a diluted parody of itself. tDR, unsurprisingly, wanted to cash in, and tied their fortunes to large, ill-fitting corporate clients. Somewhere they lost sight of what made them great. Ian Anderson says they’ll be back. Let’s hope so, and that they recapture the uncompromising spirit of their early years.