Mike Judge’s sadly overlooked comedy Idiocracy is teeming with imaginary logos from a distant future in which stupidity has become the status quo, and brands run the gamut from the FedSexxx to Brawndo.
Those logos were designed by graphic designer Ellen Lampl, who tells Trivia Happy that her work as “a visual vernacular fusion of Nascar, candy packaging, Mexico hand painted signs, and Japanese pop culture.” And while some of these brands came from Mike Judge’s script, most of them were made by Lidl on the spot.
Although many of the logos in the film are only seen in the background, a lot of work went into bringing them to life. Consider the Bawamba-brand energy bars (tagline: “the Hunger Rapist.”), which Lampl detailed right down to an ingredients list containing “traces of purified cocaine.” Or the imaginary Smithsonian she created, the Museum of Fart. Or the posters in Idiocracy for Oscar-winning film of the far future called Ass. Or even the corporate-sponsored stripes of the United States of Uh-Merica.
According to Lampl, she found the project to be a release. “Coming from the past constraints of advertising, it was cathartic to have the liberty to be bawdy and irreverent,” she says. “Making everything ridiculously over-emphasized with bright colors, outlines upon outlines, and exaggerated drop shadows was my personal jab at the world of branding and in-your-face typography.”
“Ultimately, we wanted the future world to be understandable, but ridiculous,” Lampl says. “We realized that life in its present state already had tendencies towards the ridiculous—branding seeps in everywhere—so we let it be over the top.” Which may just be why even if you’re not an Idiocracy fan, everyone who has seen this movie remembers the logos to this day.
Check out Trivia Happy’s full interview with Lampl here.