Socialist Designers is a collective of politically conscious graphic designers who have agreed to follow an “indisputable set of rules.” SD was founded October 2001 by Fabrizio Gilardino, an Italian graphic designer based in Montreal, Canada. Their “Vows of Chastity” were inspired by the DOGME 95 manifesto written in 1995 by Danish filmmakers Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) and Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration):
1. Design must be done on location. “Props and sets” (i.e., stock photographs and illustrations) must not be brought in.
2. Design must be done in spot colors. Four color process and varnish are not acceptable.
3. Photoshop filters and any other filters are forbidden.
4. Design must not contain superficial elements.
5. Temporary and geographical alienation are forbidden (that is that design must take place here and now).
6. “Genre” design is not acceptable.
Montreal | Fall 2001
“We are socialist because we have social concerns, because we are interested in a very specific way of thinking about life, about a better life. Being conscious of the fact that anything you do in a certain way is very political. Every time you talk, every time you buy something, every time you apply certain principles (conscious or unconscious or whatever), you make a political statement. I really have problems when graphic designers say, ‘I’m not into politics,’ or, ‘Politics bother me,’ or, ‘I’m not interested in it.’ That’s so absurd to me. I can’t relate to this way of seeing things.” – Fabrizio Gilardino