Piracy and Design: Re-thinking Intellectual Property in the Third Industrial Revolution
Knockoffs, fakes, and counterfeits are the bane of modern industrial design. They are unauthorized copies of designers’ intellectual property. They are the stolen profits of manufacturers. They are the products of piracy: a phenomenon wrecking an industry’s will to innovate and create “original” and “authentic” design. But to consumers, piracy offers affordable goods, diversity of options, and sometimes, even better design. Piracy isn’t black-and-white like a pirate flag, but a nebulous concept whose edges ebb and flow like the waves of the sea. What’s a copy to some is homage to another, what is original today is tomorrow’s evolution, what is piracy to the industry is competition to society.
How will we recognize piracy and intellectual property in industrial design with the rise of digital fabrication technologies like 3D printing? By democratizing access to the means of production, it will become easier for users to copy, remix, and self-repair objects in ways that traditionally infringe upon a designer’s intellectual property. This calls for a need to redefine what piracy means. In response to the digital revolution, some designers and manufacturers have strengthened protection over their designs via the law and technology, while others are opening up access to them, believing that design is a collaborative process that benefits from a community working on it together. Will the rise of open design see an end to piracy?
This thesis examines more closely the relationships between piracy, intellectual property, and industrial design by studying a variety of case studies and interviews with practitioners. Beyond just a legal and economic issue, piracy is a reflection of society’s assumptions about the design process, who a designer is, and what design is for. Piracy is a ghost that will always haunt the world of design.
By Justin Zhuang
Book Design by H55
Campaign Design by Melvin Tan and Darius Ou
Published in 2015 as part of a thesis submitted to the School of Visual Arts in Partial Fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts in Design Criticism.
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INDEPENDENCE: The history of graphic design in Singapore since the 1960s
The first-ever book tracing the evolution of the graphic design community in Singapore since it became an independent nation-state. Situating the emergence of modern design with the country’s desire to build as nation, the book examines the growth of independent graphic design studios against a backdrop of national policies and societal trends. The story is retold chronologically over five decades until the 2010s, and features interviews with pioneering designers as well as a compendium of their works.
By Justin Zhuang
Design by H55
Published by The Design Society
Published in 2012
Read features about the book by Eye and Print
Singapore: The Design Society / Epigram Bookshop
Eating Together: The Design of Sharing Food in a Connected World
To eat together conjures up images of people gathered happily for a hearty meal. But sharing food is more than just that. A couple having lunch over a video conference call, residents dining at their neighbourhood kopitiam, and consumers across the globe eating and drinking from the same source countries are just some examples of how the world eats together today. These gatherings of people across differences—be it geographical, cultural, personal, among others—do not occur naturally, but are facilitated by design. Consisting of objects, systems, and spaces, design surrounds our food, meditating the relationships between people and their meals.
Eating Together examines these often overlooked designs to reflect upon what it means to share food as consumers, with family and friends, in the public, and even alone in this increasingly connected world. Through objects, speculative designs and installations, we invite you to look at eating beyond a mere delivery of food into our mouths, but as a consumption of values and cultures involving all our senses. Far from a state of bliss, eating together serves up issues that takes time to digest.
By Sheere Ng and Justin Zhuang
Design by Roots
Published by In Plain Words
Produced for FoodCine.ma
155 x 215 x 7 mm
Published in May 2016
Read features about the book by art4d
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When Cooking was a Crime
“Chamber pots as cooking pots. Blankets as fuel. Cooking was no easy task for those in prison. Moreover, it was illegal. But that did not stop male inmates in Singapore’s prisons and Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs) during the 1970s and 1980s. Driven by the desires for a hot meal and a sense of freedom, they invented ways and means to “masak” with the little resources they had.
When Cooking Was A Crime offers a rare glimpse into the flavours of prison life based on the memories of eight former inmates. Through photographic recreations and interviews, it explores how food and cooking took on new meanings and tastes for those living behind bars.”
Research and Text by Sheere Ng
Photography by Don Wong
Design by Practice Theory
Published by In Plain Words
176 x 250 x 10 mm
128 pp, 300 g
French fold, OTA Bind
Soft cover with plastic sleeves
Published in November 2020
Read features about the book by The Straits Times and Wonderwall.sg
Singapore: Kinokuniya / Basheer Graphic Books / Objectifs
South Korea: The Book Society
USA: Inga Bookshop / Kitchen Arts and Letters / Draw Down Books / Hennessey + Ingalls
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