The subversion of the contemporary era surfaced in the 60’s counterculture, by punk and politics in the 70’s, by deconstruction of architecture in the 80’s, by grunge in the 90’s. These unruly influences make up graphic design culture today.
Stephen Bayley, widely known design and pop culture critic, questions our preconceptions about ugliness. Within his book ‘ugly’, Bayley describes our aesthetic values as constantly changing; “Today’s monstrosity is tomorrow’s masterpiece.” This visual rebellion craze that seems to be manifesting now more so than ever is a new kind of beauty, it’s constructed around working methods, tools and materials while being context driven. The ‘ugly’ trend so to speak, is a visually experimental movement attempting to regain the attention of a jaded audience with a focus shifted against the criteria standard ‘good design’ is as we know it. Many would argue that graphic design isn’t as static as it once was, with visual movements like this helping the process turn into something more flexible by mistakes being embraced as an indication of authentic humanity while still holding a considerable virtuosity.
Having said that, a good designer to me is someone who tries to evolve their practice. However I, and many others believe that in order to have the capacity to do this you must have not only flair but a good understanding. It isn’t difficult to tell apart a good designer and an untrained one who follows this visual craze.Through personal research and conversations with Sarah, a young promising designer, paying homage to the movement, I have unearthed that most of the seeds of this rage are being sown in Germany, the netherlands, belgium, france and switzerland. Sarah divulged a project she’s been working on centred around the typography found in Dutch event flyers. Sarah suggests there is an broader attraction to designs that bend the conventional rules of taste, by embracing the ugliness and playing around with the standard, according to Sarah, this lets us continue innovating design.
With renowned contemporary culture magazines like 032c published in berlin, pioneering in the trend, it is fair to assume that german designers are delving into experimentation due to the nature of their design history which is defined by establishing rules. To give a clear example, leading advocate of modernist design, Jan Tschichold’s Die Neue Typographie. I have noticed with the graphics I’m producing myself that I’ve progressively become more attracted to this kitsch style over the past year. I believe this could be a kind of antidote/anti-reaction to the polished slickness of a lot of digital graphics have accumulated. It’s gotten to the point now where most graphics are excessively minimal and faultless which makes everything look considerably tedious and dull.As a result of this, I try to amalgamate some kitsch into my work as I’m interested in what looks wrong and somehow throws everything up in the air, which I feel is a stimulating contrast to some of the graphics present in today’s industry. 80%Subsequently,In my own work, I’ve been subconsciously utilising relatively ugly graphics like brash colour combinations as well as gaudy typefaces. It seems to me that the inspiration I’ve been taking correlates back to contemporary fashion.
There appears to be an abundance of typographic slogans across the chest and sleeves currently e.g. Blackletter and Cyrillic typefaces being used persistently.
Outdated becos legibility I’ve found a few articles in the Calvert Journal that mention designers like Gosha Rubchinskiy using the power of Cyrillic letters to create disturbance by using it as a novelty, for example his familiar “Dawn is not far off” (??????? ?? ?? ??????) t-shirt mocking and mimicking parody the popular skate brand Thrasher’s logo. “Cyrillic letters — flat, angular and heavy — are not loved for their beauty, but for being different, alienating and even slightly intimidating.” (The Calvert Journal. 2017.) Talk about fonts myself50%In the 80’s, an era of budget high fashion had begun. A sweater with DKNY sprawled across the chest, designers had come across a direct method to have an effect. The trend begun to fizzle out, soon it became tacky and was considered a faux pas.
Circa 2013 fashion typography made a come-back, but this time with a sense of irony. Although the typography still exemplifies the brand, when given another meaning and dissected it brings a strong nostalgia from that era and we validate it as our own consumer power. Plagiarism check this