Friday, 21 November 2014


On the 26th & 27th of November there will be a workshop hosted in university by renowned graphic designer and 'The Design Republic' founder Ian Anderson. To attend the workshop a preliminary brief had to be completed, with the resolution sent to Ian by 6pm on the 21st of November . 

The brief that was emailed to us is documented below; 

Brief -
Give me something i'll want to keep forever.
tip — remember this is primarily a design communication design thinking workshop.

researching me to make informed decisions
lateral thinking — what is it that I (ME) would / could cherish forever

if it's made / realised then all the better.
if it needs explaining, then you should find a way to explain it in the context of the piece rather than as a note attached to it as an excuse for not putting that thinking into the work.

Before progressing with the brief I defined a project timescale to ensure that my response was completed quickly allowing me to focus on other more important tasks. At the moment I am very busy with writing the dissertation and with a selection of other ongoing projects I am currently completing. Therefore, as time is so precious I set myself a deadline of 2 o'clock to have my response finalised and ready for sending to Ian. 

After reading and analysing the brief to ensure that I understood its specifics I immediately started to collect initial internet based research on Ian so that I can create a response that is relevant to him. 

After browsing through various articles and reviewing the TDR website I found that the most revealing source of information on Ian was the various interviews conducted by magazines such as 'Eye', 'Design Boom' and 'Creative Review'. 

While reading through the three articles I made note of information that will help to inform the response


  • Born in Croydon - London.
  • Infra Red Helicopters - first band.
  • Buy These Records - Own record label.
  • 1979 moved to Yorkshire to study philosophy at Sheffield University.  
  • The Design Republic founded in 1986 in collaboration with Nick Phillips.
  • Pop culture used for inspiration, motivation and drive.
  • TDR were always looking for new challenges, new problems to solve - helps to alleviate the low boredom threshold Ian has. 
  • Find new things to say and new ways to say them.
Article Link - Link


  • Not a fan of London - "Pretentious evils of London's Hoxton square".
  • Ian went to Sheffield becuase of the music scene.
  • Favorite bands - Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League.  
 Article Link - Link


  • Passionate about - His kids, Writing, Sheffield Wednesday, Music & People. 
  • 'The right approach to problem solving is always constant.'
  • Favorite type of brief - we have a problem, can you help solve it?
 Article Link - Link

Information gathered from the interviews was arranged on a spider diagram.

After collecting information on Ian I next researched into things that people tend to keep for a long time, by combining points from each of the initial spider diagrams I will be able to generate ideas that meet the requirements of the brief. 


After conducting the initial research needed to inform my outcomes I progressed with the project by creating a spider diagram of initial ideas.

  • Human League synth -  The Human League are an English electronic new wave band based in Sheffield. While collecting research about Ian and his interests it was noted that The Human League are a band that he is interested in. The idea is based around a synthesizer, a piece equipment that used to produce electronic music. The synth will be illustrated and have keys that relate to different Human League songs.  
  • Unsolvable Puzzle - In one of the interviews that was reviewed as part of the research it was noted that Ian, like most designers, is susceptible to solving problems. The second concept is based around challenging Ian's problem solving mindset by giving him a puzzle that is unsolvable.
  • 1986 Sheffield Poster - 1986 was the year that The Design Republic was founded and so the year, and any special events or happenings that occurred in that year will have a special relevance to Anderson. The concept for this idea is based around creating a print which illustrates different items or events relevant to sheffield in 1986. The ideas is that Anderson will remember the contents featured due to the importance of the year and keep the print for its sentimental value. 
  • TDR Propaganda Poster - In another interview Anderson discusses his interests in revolutionary art, propaganda and his involvement with the early 70's punk movement. The idea is based around engaging these interests by creating a series of TDR propaganda style posters that promote the resurrection of The Designers Republic. 
  • Northern Glasses - Anderson's dislike for London was mentioned in one of the interviews reviewed as part of my initial research and so, the final idea is based around addressing this dislike for the south. The concept for the idea is more of a visionary proposal rather than something that is physically achievable as the item would be impossible to create with our current technology. The basic idea is pair of glasses that Anderson could wear when travelling to areas down south. When in a southern region Anderson finds unpleasant he would simply put on his 'Northern Glasses' which would allow him to see the area as a friendly northern town.  


Unsolvable Puzzle - After reviewing the five ideas, their relevance to Anderson and how I would communicate them I decided to choose the 'Impossible Puzzle' concept. The idea was chosen as I perceived it to be to the strongest concept and can easily be communicated with a simple visual. 



To help communicate my concept I decided to create a visual illustration of the puzzle that would be given to Anderson.


The final design that was sent to Anderson can be seen below; 

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