the Designers Republic (tDR)
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via Eye Magazine #71, Spring 2009
Born in Croydon, just south of London, on Valentine’s Day, 1961, Ian Anderson was still at school when he designed his first record cover – an EP for his punk band, the Infra Red Helicopters, released on his own label, Buy These Records. In 1979, he moved to Yorkshire to read philosophy at Sheffield University and soon became a central figure in the city’s burgeoning music and club scene. When Person to Person (whom he managed) signed to Epic Records, he designed their album cover. Their ‘High Time’ single (1984) was his first widely distributed cover design: ‘I hand-drew and Letraset the design for the Epic Records art department to follow, although I had no real idea of how or what they did’.
Commissions from other bands followed, and The Designers Republic (later abbreviated as TDR) was declared on Bastille Day, 14 July 1986, in collaboration with Nick Phillips, a former sculpture student and the organ player in World of Twist. The duo’s first identity job was for Fon Records, a system of eye-searing black and white diagonal stripes that adorned the spine of every release.
TDR’s first album cover, for Chakk’s 10 Days in an Elevator (1986), financed ‘The Embassy’, a new studio in the boardroom of a former engineering works. TDR quickly grew to a team of four, and later up to thirteen, with Anderson proving an astute judge of talent (well known TDR alumni include Michael C. Place of Build and Matt Pyke of Universal Everything).