The General Idea Behind the Emblem

                                                        Self-portrait with Objects, 1981-82, General Idea.

"When we refreshed our visual identity in January we spent some time thinking about how 'emblem' made us think of shields and heraldry. We decided to include a new shield shape as part of our branding and it made me think of a series by Canadian art collective General Idea ever since." - Joshua, Associate Creative Director

General Idea, an artist collective comprised of AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal, was formed in 1969 in Toronto. The name of the group came up unintentionally as a result of miscommunication, where a gallery had listed what was the name of one of their first exhibitions, General Idea, as the artists’ name.

The group was multi-disciplinary and through their use of photography, installation, mail art, performance art, and whatever other medium, they were able to tackle a broad range of culturally relevant issues. The group’s career came to an end in 1994 with the passing of both Partz and Zontal.

Pheonix with a P, 1986, General Idea.

The collective continuously used key motifs throughout their work, such as ziggurats, talismans, skulls, and poodles (seen above), that they would revisit periodically. The series Fear Management is a set of 8 crests that feature some of their iconic motifs, creating a “clever blend of historical fantasy and invented patrimony”. 

Down the Drink from the Fear Management series, 1987, General Idea.

“We wanted to be famous, glamorous and rich. That is to say we wanted to be artists and we knew that if we were famous and glamorous we could say we were artists and we would be…. We did and we are. We are famous, glamorous artists.”

The Hand of the Spirit of Miss General Idea from the Fear Management series, 1987, General Idea.

When the Fur Flies, 1986, General Idea.

Dr. Brute Shield from the Fear Management series, 1987, General Idea.

We were inspired to create our own shields in August of this year. Each shield was hand made and we spent an evening in our office painting them together, limiting ourselves to a tertiary palette. There was no umbrella theme or rules to follow, instead we focused on choosing symbols and motifs that reflect everyone's personality.

The General Idea Behind the Emblem

                                                        Self-portrait with Objects, 1981-82, General Idea.

"When we refreshed our visual identity in January we spent some time thinking about how 'emblem' made us think of shields and heraldry. We decided to include a new shield shape as part of our branding and it made me think of a series by Canadian art collective General Idea ever since." - Joshua, Associate Creative Director

General Idea, an artist collective comprised of AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal, was formed in 1969 in Toronto. The name of the group came up unintentionally as a result of miscommunication, where a gallery had listed what was the name of one of their first exhibitions, General Idea, as the artists’ name.

The group was multi-disciplinary and through their use of photography, installation, mail art, performance art, and whatever other medium, they were able to tackle a broad range of culturally relevant issues. The group’s career came to an end in 1994 with the passing of both Partz and Zontal.

Pheonix with a P, 1986, General Idea.

The collective continuously used key motifs throughout their work, such as ziggurats, talismans, skulls, and poodles (seen above), that they would revisit periodically. The series Fear Management is a set of 8 crests that feature some of their iconic motifs, creating a “clever blend of historical fantasy and invented patrimony”. 

Down the Drink from the Fear Management series, 1987, General Idea.

“We wanted to be famous, glamorous and rich. That is to say we wanted to be artists and we knew that if we were famous and glamorous we could say we were artists and we would be…. We did and we are. We are famous, glamorous artists.”

The Hand of the Spirit of Miss General Idea from the Fear Management series, 1987, General Idea.

When the Fur Flies, 1986, General Idea.

Dr. Brute Shield from the Fear Management series, 1987, General Idea.

We were inspired to create our own shields in August of this year. Each shield was hand made and we spent an evening in our office painting them together, limiting ourselves to a tertiary palette. There was no umbrella theme or rules to follow, instead we focused on choosing symbols and motifs that reflect everyone's personality.

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