How Designer's Republic Created the Y2K Aesthetic

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A visual and artistic movement, Y2K has structured itself as a major trend of our time. However, its iconography respects codes posed at the beginning of the data processing.

Windows 95 and its DTP software allowed artists to create the basis of Y2K imagery. Its name comes from "kaybug," the bug of the year 2000. At that time, the world was living with the fear of a computer system collapse that would create a global chain reaction. On the contrary, a generation of artists was very optimistic about technology. Designer's Republic was one of them.

tDR is a small studio created in Sheffield in 1986 by Ian Anderson, designing flyers by hand. He accompanied the development of the label WARP Records by creating the covers of its artists, with simple symbols and lively colors; he tried to develop futuristic covers that remain timeless.

The work of tDR comes under the eyes of a video game development studio, which asked them to create the iconography for Wipeout, their next game. From team logos to on-track advertisements, tDR created a world that will be a worldwide success.Along with films such as Hacker and The Matrix, Wipeout is considered one of the founding works of the Y2K movement. tDR then worked on the cover of the first Grand Theft Auto.

His understanding of the new stakes of the internet allowed him to be listened to by the biggest brands. The studio closed in 2009 because the aesthetic he helped create was no longer requested by the clients.

Through techwear, the futuristic functional spirit of the 90s is represented in the clothes we wear. As at the end of the 90s, there is an emulation around new technologies that divide. The space race, the web3, and genetics force us to question our future, and this is where Y2K comes in. Brands like @heaven or @buzyboysclub rely on these questions to define the imagery of an uncertain future. In music, @cruelsantino or @pinkpantheress participate in developing a Y2K 2.0 that represents the hopes or fears of our generation.

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