Responding to the theme of the 1989 AIGA conference, “dangerous ideas,” designers and critcs Stewart Ewen and Neville Brody gave a lecture entitled “Design Insurgency” that laid bare the design industry’s central faults and contradictions. Arguably the spiritual ancestor to Erik Carter’s “Do You Want Typography or Do You Want the Truth?,”🔗 Ewen and Brody argue that the utopian ideals underlying design had given way to an empty, capitalistic cynicism. Designers, Ewen and Brody argued, had abandoned their romantic utopianism and settled for putting a pretty face on an ugly world, or as they put it: "chefs in glorified soup kitchens, doling out mass-produced visual gruel.” (Read it HERE🔗)

This booklet was a small labor of love I undertook during my design education as I felt beset on all sides by the cynicism underlying the ever important rites of “portfolio building” and “networking” and “employability.” Neville and Brody gave name and shape to a lot of the fears and disillusionments and frustrations I had accumulated in the course of my schooling; fears and frustrations I felt were more common among my peers than I might have first thought.
The project was initially conceived as a cheaply mass-produecable booklet that could be left around in school lobbies and computer labs like risographed propaganda leaflets dropped over enemy territory. In that vein the color palette is pared down to only a bright red that stands against and austere black and white and carrying with it implications of unrest and guerrilla insurgency.

The type within the booklet is broken up throughout by bitmap photos and illustrations whose rough lack of anti-aliasing call to mind a laying bare of truths. The images are as stripped down as they can be while still conveying their subject matter: the tubes and pipes that represent the oft overlooked machinations that silently power our less than ideal status quo.