Syd Mead on Daft Punk


…Except Daft Punk didn’t steal the design from Syd Mead - one of the helmets more closely resembles a 1980’s Japanese anime, “Genesis Climber Mospeda” - since I’m new, I can’t post images, but a simple Google Images search will show you what’s up.

1 Like

Seeing as how Sids original work was from the 60’s, we can safely say the origin of the idea is his. He also never said they stole anything.

1 Like

Did Daft Punk actually say that their helmet designs were inspired by Mead’s painting? I see similarities in the overall concept of having a whole bunch of glass on the front of the helmet, but that’s just a variation on actual space helmets in general. Mead himself states in the article that the Daft Punk helmet has different proportions and a different motif design. It certainly seems possible that the helmet was inspired by Mead’s art, but it could also have been inspired several generations removed since there have been similar looking helmet designs between Mead’s painting and Daft Punk’s helmet.

It feels like the interviewer Mark Wilson is the one who asked the leading question. Why would Daft Punk need to license or ask for permission even if the helmet was inspired by the painting? It’s not a copyright issue since the helmet would be a significantly transformative version (and with Mead’s admission of distinct differences, more so).

1 Like

I dunno. Everything is a remix. I think one can set out to design a helmet like that with out conscientiously copying it from another work. One can later look back and see how the design was similar or perhaps influence by if not the original work, but others who copied/were inspired by the original work. I think it’s a stretch to call it “nicked”.

I’ve seen things that remind me of other things and say, “Oh that looks like such and such.” only to have the creator had never heard or seen it.


I suspect it’s one of those inspired by who was inspired by who in turn inspired.
Then again, the human head comes in a narrow set of shapes so similar but unconnected designs will happen.

1 Like


LOL @Bass beat me to it… but whatevs heres a video instead:


Consider this though: Genesis Climber Mospeda was around 1984ish
(released in the States as part of the Robotech series in 1984-85),
and Daft Punk started in the late 80’s… coincidence?

They’re French, but I know they like anime. The album that had Harder, Faster, Stronger on it also had DVD that came out with it, which was a loosely connected collection of videos in anime style. IIRC made in Japan. I don’t have time to google and link, but it’s out there.

Bit more than loosely connected.

Each track from the album has been animated as an episode in the story
of the abduction and rescue of an interstellar pop band. The film was
produced by Daft Punk, Cédric Hervet and Emmanuel de Buretel along with Toei Animation, under the supervision of Leiji Matsumoto

Its a great visual film actually. Wonderful if you are a fan of Matusmoto.

1 Like

Well, we can’t, really. We can only say that he had a design that was sort-of (but not really, since we’re talking about a helmet with glass in front) similar at an earlier point. The helmet in Mospeada was based on the motorcycle and fighter pilot helmet. Unless enclosed helmets are all inspired by Syd’s work, it’s a bit of a stretch, really.

1 Like


This seems to me to be more a case of parallel evolution, design-wise.

1 Like

I’ve only seen bits of it, and I thought the videos had a common thread but were disjointed. Though that probably is because I never have seen the whole thing as intended. I should hunt it down.

But yeah - the point was I think they are Anime fans and I bet that Moseada helmet had more direct influence than Syd Mead.

1 Like

I very badly want the jacket worn by the guy in the foreground of this image from the article.

Hi @goretsky ,

When I say that the most original thing that Daft Punk have truly created, on their own without lifting it practically wholesale and virtually unchanged from another artist, is their hairstyles; I hope you don’t think I’m being facetious.

They are DJs of culture. Bloody good at it too but push the boundaries of the statement about great artists stealing. If I scrawl my name in whiteout on a Mattise and claim it my art, I might give something of the effect of their cultural stewardship.

(Proviso: Yes, they have made some of their own stuff but the theft is galling in its flagrancy.)

Wait… Perhaps I’m thinking of Led Zepllin.

Anyway, they have a history of appropriating others stuff.

1 Like

I’d disagree that incorporating source material into something new is the same as ‘lifting wholesale and virtually unchanged’. Remixing and plagiarism are different things by definition.

Someone mentioned Everything is a Remix, and it seems relevant to the discussion in case anyone missed it. The very first line of the first video defines the term as “to combine or edit existing materials to produce something new” (emphasis mine). I agree.

IANAMusician and must admit that my opinion is heavily influenced by my friends who are.

Some of the examples they’ve broken down for me seem very much to stroll enthusiastically ‘over the line’.

Ach raining hard tpe between the drops.

How can you not love Syd Mead? Of course he wasn’t the first to imagine a half dome helmet, but he’s such a badass designer. Of imaginary future stuff, which is even better. Good fashion sense, too. I’d too not mind wearing some of those jackets if I thought I could pull off that look.

Obligatory video on the making of Blade Runner’s future world (featuring Syd, the fun magazines that didn’t make it to the final cut, and hilariously wrong disco-funk soundtrack just to remind you the movie may be timeless but it was made in 1982):


Beautifully cyberpunk-appropriate imagery. Like tears in rain. Bravo.

Daft Punk has its own talent, musicality and recognizable style on top of all that sampling. That’s more than you can say for many. And I do think they ask for permission, credit and pay royalties for everything unlike back in the day. If it’s not stealing for the artist, must it be stealing for you?