Department of Information

Conception, Branding/ID, Production/Development

Part conceptual art project, part new media organization, the Department of Information was inspired by the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Typographic Style, the Public Broadcasting System, and the multitude of bureaucratic, disfunctional, government-parallel institutions we’ve worked for in the past.

Notable technology used: saddle stitch, screen print, JavaScript, PHP, GeoJSON, After Effects, Mapbox, DeepDream neural network, IBM Watson, Wikipedia, GarageBand, Merriam-Webster

The Concept

The idea for a place to review art and design publications—mainly weird books and zines—was the starting point. With a shared interest and fascination with modernism, minimalism, and non-corporate entities; a concept for an authoritative, ambiguously-governmental brand was conceived.

From this the Department of Information (essentially an art blog) was born. It would need an engaging and comprehensive brand story and world-building schema to calcify it as a believable, respectible, and often comedically-bureaucratic, Kafkaesque entity.

The Brand

Ultimately, the Department brand is a medium for experimenting with new media, art, and design. The style, or modality, is defined through the well-worn lenses of modernism, minimalism, government-space, and bureaucracy.

Direct influences included the United Nations, the Environmental Protection Agency, governments in general, the International Typographic Style, the Public Broadcasting System, the 1960’s/70’s/80’s, and visual culture at large.

A comprehensive brand guide was developed and printed as an A4 newsprint saddle-stitched pamphlet. However, the entire brand is a living, ever-evolving and expanding world-building exercise.

A Digital Front

A brand-appropriate website (think a cross between the New York Times and an obscure blackbox government department website) was built to house articles on art books, zines, and interesting content at the intersection of public services, science, governance and visual culture. Accompanying digital applications and strategies would include social media, email newsletters, video, and audio content.

An Expansive Brand

The brand’s physical presence was intended to be just as important as it’s virtual presence. An information awareness campaign poster series was printed on newsprint and given out promotionally during the brand’s first year.

Other physical applications include and have included multiple vinyl album releases, mailable postcards, screen printed shirts and posters, a robust stationery suite, stamps, and a variety of other strange limited run editions.

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