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Lost Formats Preservation Society

January 4, 2010


The Lost Formats Preservation Society was founded in 2000 with the design of Emigre issue no. 57. It’s sole purpose is to save formats from obscurity. We discovered this amazing site yesterday, due a Tumblr post by @a456.

About Lost Formats:

“Towards the end of 2000, we were asked by Rudy Vanderlans to guest-edit and design issue 57 of Emigre. We decided to dedicate that issue completely to the subject of storage formats; around that time, we were quite fascinated by that theme.

In 1999, we designed a line of ten t-shirts for Dutch fashion label SoGenes, shirts featuring drawn silhouettes of formats like the compact disc, the 12” LP and the 8” video cassette (see SoGenes / Personal Formats). In that same period, we were working on a project for Droog Design that also involved formats. In short, Droog Design asked us if we wanted to come up with a proposal for a piece of furniture; we came up with a design for a storage cabinet that could hold all possible formats, a cabinet that would also function as a monument for obsolete formats. Droog Design rejected the idea, but we still felt it was a subject that needed further exploration.”

Following the same philosophy behind Bruce Sterling’s Dead Media Project, it presents a collection of obsolete and forgotten communication technologies. Here we can see a perspective on communication technologies illustrated with some cool infographics that represents almost all the formats and its whole ‘dialectical materialistic’ dimension.

As they explain in the web-site: “The shapes we show above were part of a typographic section of six pages, a ‘memorial wall’ of lost formats, displaying the shapes almost as a font, as a typeface. That’s why all the shapes have the same size.”

Technology is changing really fast. Not so long ago DVD’s spread the worl as the better way to save data, movies, etc. Now, The Blue Ray Disc is appearing everywhere as the most innovative substitute of the DVD. And what about “the cloud“? The new tendency is to save all our data and work in the virtual space… but How can we represent something that we can’t see?

More info here.

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