Neville Brody: The Anti-Design Festival

29 July 2010

There’s little doubt that the vast majority of you have heard of design legend Neville Brody, but you may not have heard of The Anti-Design Festival, Neville’s latest cultural comment. In short and to quote their site, “As a response to 25 years of cultural deep freeze, the Anti Design Festival will attempt to unlock creative fires and ideas, exploring spaces hitherto deemed out-of-bounds by a purely commercial criteria.” A truly fascinating idea, and one that’s objective is to engage thought and discussion, so, to kick things off, we spoke to Neville himself about the ideas behind the festival, and how you can get involved yourself…

Can you tell us a little about the Anti Design Festival?

The Anti Design Festival will run from 18-26 September on and around Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, London. The ADF gathers contributions of art and design that challenge contemporary stereotypes. This is work that is seen as un-commercial, dangerous, and anti-establishment. For artists, designers, and other creatives, this is an opportunity to exhibit work alongside contributors including Jonathan Barnbrook, Stuart Semple and Stefan Sagmeister.

How long have you wanted to put on an event like this?

The London Design Festival has been going on for 9 years. It’s time for a change. More broadly, the ADF is a response to 25 years of cultural deep freeze in the UK. It attempts to unlock creative fires and ideas, exploring space hitherto deemed out-of-bounds by a purely commercial criteria.

What are you trying to highlight?

We have forgotten why we are here. We have lost touch with what makes us tick, what drives us. That fire of creative possibility has started to die, and it is time to re-light it. The Anti Design Festival was born out of a need for change. A need for something new, ugly, scary and dangerous. We welcome no_use, no_function and no_fear. We welcome anarchy, without the stereotypical.

What are you looking for and how can people submit work?

This is the chance to show previous work that has failed with clients or instructors, or to produce completely new work without the imposition of market restrictions. Because this festival is completely nonprofit in orientation, we cannot pay for contributions. However, this is an opportunity for your work to engage a wide audience in a context that will challenge and provoke the public to rethink the role of art and design in contemporary culture.

We have two separate streams that you can submit your work to. Submissions will be accepted until Friday, 13 August 2010 at 11:59PM BST. There is no need to confirm your interest.

The first stream is for small, reproducible multiples. Submissions can take any form you want, but the bulk of the work should be cheaply-made and reproducible so that visitors can take it and use it however they want. For more information, including creative prompts and a submission upload form, please see this link. Please write to with any questions related to this first stream.

The second stream is for large, one-off pieces of various sizes that will be framed and hung closely alongside each other. The theme for this stream is State of Mind, Mind of State, which considers the reciprocal relationship between personal psychology and state control. For more information, including submission details, please see this link. Please write to with questions related to this second route.

The Anti Design Festival takes place during the last week of London Design Festival, are you looking forward to seeing anything during the festival?

The Anti Design Festival is anti-everything. The Anti Design Festival is anti-nothing. While the ADF is not against design, there is also a need for change. We are not anti-design as much as we are anti-everything.

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About the Author

Alex Bec

Alex is the CEO of It’s Nice That. He oversees the commercial side of It’s Nice That, Creative Lives in Progress and If You Could Jobs.

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