As AZTDR™ goes on pre-order and in honour of The Designers Republic’s longstanding involvement in music, we asked Ian Anderson, studio founder and author of AZTDR™, to pick ten of his personal highlights from the 250 single and album covers featured in the publication. “Favourites are a slippery concept for me,” he admits, “and with 33.3 years – and over 5,000 sleeves to choose from – any list is, inevitably, going to be temporary.” So “right now, based on work featured in the book, in no particular order” here are ten of Ian’s favourite TDR™ sleeves, each of which features in AZTDR™ along with the story of its conception.
AZTDR™ is now available to pre-order from the Unit shop.
Satoshi Tomiie — Full Lick (SMEJ Associated Records, 1999)
It feels like the perfect storm of everything TDR™ had been working on for a time up to that point — deconstructing and rebuilding 3D in 2D, arrows, fluorescent pink and yellow, minimal type, information graphics, physical form as a playground, all distilled into one visual and conceptual feast. Printed in Japan.
Autechre — Oversteps (Warp Records, 2010)
If I had to have a favourite, this would be it. Seventy-two attempts to draw a perfect circle as an analogous morality tale of the human condition in the context of the digital world we've created — like parents trying to understand the children who've risen up against them.
Age of Chance — Kiss (FON, 1987)
We can never unlove our first love. Rotring-rendered on graph board BC (Before Computers), this remains the foundation for most of the work that followed. Post-punk political ‘zine, Burroughs cut-up, cycle-chic glam, Never Mind the Bollocks fluoro, Letraset soap-box and smack in the face of right-thinking people everywhere…. To Hell With Purity.
Aphex Twin — Syro (Warp Records, 2014)
Everything that Ian (TDR™), Richard (Aphex Twin) and Warp (a record company) had ever done deconstructed, reduced down to the ones and zeros of the product expressed in the context of consumerism not art.
Moloko — I Am Not A Doctor (Echo, 1998)
Róisín Murphy as Ingrid Bergman as a Hollywood Joan of Arc up close and personal with the (not—) 'Milka' cow shot in the Alps with Elaine Constantine. Love on a mountain top, shiny armour, cow-shit cable car, Alpine diet and near death experiences.
Autechre — Chiastic Slide (Warp Records, 1997)
First expression of 3D>2D idea inspired by my first NYC trip — swapped perspective skyscrapers reduced to barcodes and random shapes, NASA control centre reduced to grids, white goods graveyard extruded and compressed as distant (post-Amber) mountains, metallics, spot-UVs and a Photoshop-built and demolished font. Vectors and pixels and hidden prints.
Plaid — The Digging Remedy (Warp Records, 2016)
Digging deeper, worn on the sleeve, the idea that no matter how deep we dig, we just find different iterations of what we already know.
Supercharger — Punk Skunk Funk (Indochina, 1998)
Metallics, fluoros, vectors like a techno remix of pre-computer PWEI-styling. The revolution is on the way and it’s looking GOOD — for the people buy TDR™.
Pop Will Eat Itself — This is the Hour... This is the Day... This is This (RCA, 1999)
As it was in the beginning pre-digital computer love affair, watch this space is the place Watchmen-influenced kharma collision kolour palettes ... first Mac hypercard output meshed with Claris (spanners in the) Works. Hand-drawn, hand-rendered, hand-Letrasetted and hand-photocopied.
Sun Electric — Aaah! (R&S Records, 1994)
The most blissful of all TDR™ concentric circles ... eagle-eyes will realise just how much TDR™ work is based on ideas emanating and splash-rippling out from central target ideas echoing and memory fading.
The stories behind the design of all of the sleeves featured in here are included in AZTDR™, which is available to pre-order now from the Unit shop.