8 May 2009
Letter to the editor
Re: Reputations of poacher-turned-brandkeeper Ian Anderson and TDR
From Jessica Jenkins
Trick or treat?
Ian Anderson’s masterstroke of dissolving The Designers Republic and reinventing it as . . . The Designers Republic had the design press falling over themselves. When a recent editorial newsletter billed Eye 71's TDR Reputations feature as a ‘treat’, I had hoped
for a critical treatment of the agency’s trajectory. Instead the feature effectively offered a self-promotional platform for Anderson, who, like other poachers turned brandkeepers, resolves the contradiction of his position by claiming he only wishes to make us think.
In the 1990s, the TDR style and claim was innovative, and Anderson’s use of pastiche was inventive. Perhaps even the idea of using design to expose the mechanics of consumerism was novel. But if the new TDR is gearing up for another journey with Cola, then where is the brainwork – and, moreover, where is the treat here, unless simply as a historical review?
I don’t suggest that Reputations features must criticise their subjects, but Anderson is capable of his own inflation, and Eye is no Hello!.