Designer Zodiac

In the Chinese New Year, 2008 is the Year of the
Rat. Curiously, the rat is one animal that hasn’t become a
design trend over the past 12 years. Here are a few that
have—enough for everyone to claim their sign. LILA
YOMTOOB

Gigapet_150.jpg

1997—GIGAPET
Modern culture’s quest for
emotional connection through technology starts with “animal”
pals like the Gigapet. People protest the following year when the toys
break.


Squirrel_150.jpg

1998—SQUIRREL
Chicago’s silk-screen
warrior Jay Ryan draws rabid squirrels on rock posters. A craze is
born.


Hamster_150.jpg1999—HAMSTER
When Diedre LeCarte uploads an
animated GIF tribute to her pet, Hampton, the “Hampster
Dance” becomes the first of many annoying viral
hits.


Cat_150.jpg2000—HELLO KITTY
The Japanese brand moves into
Times Square just in time for a new millennium—and to stunt
Generation Y’s transition into adulthood en
masse.


Dog_150.jpg2001—DOG
Maira Kalman’s What Pete Ate
from A to Z
becomes an artsy bookstore favorite; dogs take over book
jackets soon after.


Sparrow_150.jpg2002—SPARROW
With its silhouetted
sparrows, Mike Mills’s iconic cover of The Ganzfeld #2
jumpstarts the “birds on everything” movement
(ongoing).


Deer_150.jpg2003—DEER
The antler chandelier, along with
lots of real taxidermy and bracelets made to look like twigs,
exemplifies the woodland look.


Unicorns_150.jpg2004—UNICORNS
Chris
Bishop’s “Afternoon Delight,” featuring two unicorns
lost in ecstasy, sells out on Threadless. Kitschy unicorn album art
starts popping up.


Penguin_150.jpg2005—PENGUIN
March of the
Penguins
unexpectedly captures the world’s heart, closely
followed by the animated Happy Feet. The “cute
animal” trend, however, starts to lose its
footing.


Squid_150.jpg2006—GIANT SQUID
Dave Eggers pens the faux
encyclopedia volume Animals of the Ocean, Particularly the Giant
Squid
. Scientists catch the 24-foot beast on film for the first
time.


Bigfoot_150.jpg2007—BIG FOOT
The mythic creature emerges from
the wilderness to star in commercials for lite beer, beef jerky, and ice
cream. But not insurance.


Bear_150.jpg2008—BEAR
We can’t
tell the future, so we’ll go with the conventional
wisdom—the stock market—and predict a bear year. Tigers
could be a close second, though.



Illustrations by Monika Aichele.

 
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