This week, we’re seeing the beauty in ugly design, planning our visit to a desert utopia, and shopping for fashionable hats to wear during our next visit to The MET.
Beautiful design is the industry standard, but it’s inherently dishonest. Beauty implies perfection and conformity to standards. It can be limiting, dehumanizing, and so prevalent that it’s just plain boring. That’s why more and more brands are breaking design rules and opting for design work that’s messy. For design that feels real, like a person made it, and not some Adobe AI. “Ugly” design is inclusive, it’s for all people and their flaws. This article makes a strong case for ugly design, and with newfound freedom, ugliness ensures we’re here for it. Let’s get ugly.
The 90s were a magical era. A time of Blockbuster, Beanie Babies, and Blues Clues (thanks Steve for that message, by the way). But for those living in Spain, it wasn’t all sunshine–it was a dark time before the convenience of Ikea and their affordable wares. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Spanish arrival, Ikea created a reality show called “Trapped in the 90s,” where contestants born in 1996, the year of their opening, live in a house without modern amenities. The cast battles with rotary phones and match-lit stoves, and because it’s reality TV, they’re a tad dramatic about it. Worth a watch, if you’re all caught up on Bachelor in Paradise.
Billionaire Marc Lore wants us to imagine a utopia. A city that banned fossil fuels and had only self-driving electric cars. A city with a fair and efficient government in which all voices are heard. A city covered in lush greenery and a “drought-resistant” water system. Hard to imagine, right? Well, picture all that but also in the middle of the desert. That’s Telosa, the sustainable city of the future, dreamed up by a billionaire. The proposed 150,000 acre city is meant to set a new standard for urban living, but it’s hard to mention the ideas of a brand new city in the desert and sustainability in the same sentence without being skeptical.
Vogue and The MET are teaming up with Off-White and other designers to promote In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, a new exhibit opening at The MET on September 18th. You can preview the items for sale via the @themetstore Instagram shop, which includes bags, hats, caps, shirts, and hoodies. The looks don’t come cheap, with the lowest priced item marked at $265, which is only slightly higher than their “pay what you will” ticket price for NY residents.
We’re all familiar with the “tech aesthetic” illustration style. It’s usually a human figure with exaggerated features to make it appear more whimsical and playful. At one point, it was cute and effective, but now it’s overdone. This style is known to illustrators as “Corporate Memphis”–and they’re just as sick of it as you are–but they blame companies who don’t value creativity. Tech companies saw one thing that worked well and was easy to templatize, so they all hopped on board. Now, it’s hard to get paid to deviate from the proven commodity, which leads to an oversaturation of this one style. If any big companies are reading this and looking to illustrate their next homepage or instructional video, consider shaking things up. Let the illustrators do what they do best, and it’ll help you stand out from the rest. That rhymed. Have a great weekend.
The Working Assembly is an award-winning branding and creative agency.
Established in 2017, we collaborate with emerging and evolving companies for end-to-end brand building, including strategy and visual identity, print and digital design, content, and creative campaigns.
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NYC branding agency exploring the intersection of art, design, technology and culture. Partnering with emerging and evolving brands.