Are brands taking inspiration from the era of the Russian revolution?

We’ve been intrigued by letting agent Tipi’s new campaign, which evokes the visual language of revolutionary Russian constructivism; a visual style that we’ve noticed cropping up across both culture and advertising.


Tipi’s new campaign, Autumn 2018

Recent literary successes The Power, The Underground Railroad, and The Chapo Guide to Revolution have all taken inspiration from the era of Russian Revolution. Taken together, deep blacks, strong reds and contrasting whites are inherently associated with class struggle and overthrow of oppressive masters. Graphic arrows, lines and even lightning bolts point to social progression and a revolution of change. Constructivism was developed with activism in mind; famously Rodchenko and Stepanova’s Books! drove forward the campaign for workers’ education in 1924.


The Power (Naomi Alderman), The Chapo Guide to Revolution (Chapo Trap House), The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead)

While it is highly effective for the above titles to celebrate this design style, we found it incongruous that Tipi would position itself visually alongside a proletarian movement. Clearly, Tipi aims to be seen as leading the rental rebellion – but this campaign seems out of step with historic movements of class revolution. Any brand entering this visual world should be wary of seeming inauthentic; and worse, appropriating these culturally pivotal movements for profit.

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