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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 imitations. 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.