Design Piracy Institute (DPI) is an applied thesis project developed at the School of Visual Arts’ MFA
in Design Criticism (D-Crit)—now known as the MA Design Rese­arch, Writing & Criticism,
by Justin Zhuang on piracy and indus­trial design.
"At each port of call, DPI 'raids' design fairs with their bounty of
'original' and 'authentic' products by presenting a series of exhibi­tions, talks and workshops
that chall­enge the dominant view of design piracy as simply an economic parasite.
While recogn­izing the fin­ancial implicat­ions of piracy, the inst­itute believes the unauthorized
reproduction or modification of someone else’s design opens up design to more possibi­lities and
makes it access­ible to people too. DPI aims to be a platform for designers, manufac­turers
and pirates to openly discuss the issues behind design piracy.
Beyond a platform, the institute is also a research center for document­ing and
studying how design piracy is pract­iced and received in different countries and cultures.
DPI will build up a physical and digital collection of pirat­ical products as well as a
media resource to better understand design piracy as a social and cultural phenomenon."
- An excerpt from Design Piracy Institute
Toying with the idea and aesthe­tics of pirated goods, DPI's
logomark was designed with a non-english native font Gothic/Mincho, set in default tracking, un-kerned and untamp­ered - a nod to the over­looked details in amateur imitatations.
The visible yellow cross across all collat­erals, inspired by watermarks, evades photocopiers' scanning, thus disapp­earing
in black and white photo­copies of the collat­erals (letterheads e.t.c,). Application of the identity includes an override of the 'hijacked' design fair's identity logo (skewing and stretching),
in an attempt to replicate (and examine) the abrasive and provo­cative nature of piracy.
In collaboration with Melvin Tan.