The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'trends'

2008/6/18

The latest trend for American punk rockers, indie-rock hipsters, Mod scooterists, hardcore straightedgers and such seems to be joining Masonic lodges. Freemasonry, which was once at the centre of Enlightenment radicalism, and later exerted untold influence over the business, political and legal worlds (not to mention wacky hijinks in 1920s America), had recently ossified into a stodgy, conservative institution, seemingly comprised of a dwindling number of old men. Now the lodges' ranks are being swollen with members of youth-oriented subcultures looking for camaraderie and networking opportunities.

“It’s kind of like a history class that no one else can take,” said Dave Norton, drummer for Victory at Sea and The Men. He believes his membership in the fraternal organization will be especially rewarding when he tours Europe later this year.
Of course, Masonry has its critics. Traditional lodges only allow men to join (though there are womens' auxilliary lodges, and even mixed ones), atheists are not allowed to join (unless they're hypocrites and/or flexible with interpreting what a "higher power" is), and the institution has become somewhat conservative over the years. It could be that punks and/or hipsters joining Freemasonry is a sign of the conformism of countercultures (or perhaps of some countercultures; vide Jello Biafra's denunciation of punk's devolution into a conformistic fashion cult). Though, in part, it could also be the latest instance of the rustic/archaic tendency in indie-rock adorning itself in increasingly anachronistic symbols.

(via Boing Boing) culture freemasonry hipsters punk subculture trends 3

2007/12/28

LogoLounge.com has just published its overview of trends in logo design in 2007. This year's trends include helices, ribbons and streams of descending/ascending bubbles, 3D trompe-l'oeil logos and uses of colour which wouldn't translate into black and white well (suggesting that designers are not caring as much for print as for the web), and a few recurring motifs:


Mix a little nose-in-the-air, overly stodgy, family coat of arms with a sharp tongue-in-the-cheek, Napoleon Dynamite liger, and you have something that approximates a Pseudo Crest. These are fun, and packed with detail that sticks it to the man at every opportunity. For the high school and college market, Jason Schulte's firm, Office, built a best-of-class brand for Target with the Independent Studies line.

At first glance, most of these look like they've been lifted from a heraldry 101 style book, until you scrutinize the composition elements. Only at this point are you likely to see wrenches, guitars, penguins, shoes, cell phones and anything else you'd never expect to find in Camelot. This is a youth anthem; and designers have identified this as a source language for fashion culture and the music industry. In fact, this is a modern trend you will see everywhere, despite its roots in heraldry and even other intricate patterning like Victorian wallpaper.

Let's just make the assumption if you water a logo and give it adequate sunlight, it will start to grow a rhythmic crop of vines, buds, blooms and other fantasies of a botanical nature. These may be further evolution of last year's Embellish trend, or they could just be another subset of a larger trend. This would be a direction that uses borrowed remnants of a patterned, Victorian era to attach a delicate human quality to the hard outer shell of an other wise sterile logo. Detail of this nature is inherently engaging and asks the consumer to participate visually in a non-confrontational fashion.
The floral/botanical/organic logotypes (also evidenced by the work of the British graphic designer whose name I forget, who seems to have come up with the idea of sans-serif type growing into organic vine-like shapes) could be a sign of a broader cultural trend: a reaction against the slick and industrial and a move towards a rustic/pastoral aesthetic. This trend has also come up in indie music (in the Pitchfork sense, not the NME haircut rock sense), with a shift away from angular/stylised sharper-than-thou aesthetics of the Interpol/Franz Ferdinand era (now thoroughly commercialised; witness the calculated faux-edginess of The Killers, for example, or the wave of derivative "indie" bands in the UK) towards more organic sounds (the antifolk/freak-folk scene, bands like Animal Collective (and, indeed, most of the bands with animal names in their names), as well as a more folky, anti-sharp aesthetic (rustic-looking beards, home-made clothes that look like hand-me-downs, &c.)

Anyway, the page also has links to previous years' trends in logo design, going back to 2003, which make for interesting reading.

(via Boing Boing) design fashion marketing memetics trends 0

2007/11/19

Pink Tentacle, an English-language Japanese blog, has a list of the top 60 Japanese buzzwords of 2007:

30. Dried-fish woman [himono onna - 干物女]: Himono onna (”dried-fish woman”) is an expression used in the movie Hotaru No Hikari to describe the main character, a woman in her 20s who has renounced the pursuit of romance. She spends her evenings reading manga and drinking at home alone, and she spends her weekends lazing around in bed. She’s a dried-fish woman.
32. The power of insensitivity [donkanryoku - 鈍感力]: Made popular by Donkanryoku (The Power of Insensitivity), a best-selling book written by popular novelist Junichi Watanabe, this expression means something like “thick skin” and refers to the ability to live in a relaxed manner without getting worked up over the little things.
35. Tetsuko [鉄子]: The unhealthy obsession with trains has long been a predominantly male pursuit, but the numbers of female train otaku — known as “Tetsuko” — are on the rise. [More]
40. Dark website [yami site - 闇サイト]: Yami sites (”dark websites”) are online networking sites where people can take out hit contracts on others, make illegal transactions (drugs, fake bank accounts, hacked cellphones, prostitution, etc.), and meet suicide partners. Japan has seen a recent rise in the number of murders arranged through these web-based hotbeds of criminal activity.
55. Factory moe [koujou moe - 工場萌え]: This year saw a mini-boom in the off-the-wall genre of factory moe photo books focusing on the functional beauty of large-scale industrial plants.

(via Boing Boing) culture japan language memes trends 0

2007/9/9

In 2005, Olia Lialina wrote A Vernacular Web, a survey of the culture of amateur web design some years ago, cataloguing ubiquitous pheonomena like starry backgrounds, "Under Construction" signs, rainbow horizontal rules and animated "Mail Me" graphics. Now, she has returned to the subject with a look at how things have changed over the past few years in the world of non-professional web pages:

Home pages no longer exist. Instead, there are other genres: accounts, profiles, journals, personal spaces, channels, blogs and homes. I’d like to pay special attention to the latter ones.
If you look at the most viewed layouts on MySpace, you’ll notice that most of them have a big picture as a background, which repeats itself horizontally and vertically. This back-to-1996 design flaw is now forever linked to Web and amateur users, and nobody cares about eliminating it – neither services nor users themselves.
Firstly, glitter became a trademark of today’s amateur aesthetics, and I’m certain that in the future sparkly graphics will become a symbol of our times, like “Under Construction” signs for the 90’s. Glitter is everywhere (in the universe of user-generated pages), it has become a meta category. It has absorbed all other categories of ready-made graphics – people, animals, buttons, sex graphics.
Starry backgrounds represented the future, a touching relationship with the medium of tomorrow. Glitter decorates the web of today, routine and taken-for-granted.
Lialina also mentions the ubiquity of cat-themed graphics on the web of today (LOLCats and "Kitten Of The Day"), though declines to go into it, or theorise about the idiosyncratic phraseology and typography used in LOL* graphics.

culture design fashion memes online trends web 0

2003/2/8

I wandered down to PolyEster this afternoon, and saw the new Massive Attack CD. Nice packaging; though pity it's not available on a CD (only on one of those copy-restricted non-Red-Book-compliant CD-like things). Bugger that then.

(The label on the packaging says that it works with Windows, presumably in some "secure" DRM mechanism. I can understand us Linux-using nonpersons being snubbed by the recording racket ("get a copy of Windows, you bum!"), but EMI's big fuck-you to the Macintosh-using audience, especially on a Massive Attack disc, is harder to justify. Let's hope they change their minds before releasing the next Morrissey record.)

(Btw, is 100th Window released in Red Book-compliant, non-"copy controlled" CD format in any other territories?)

I did, however, pick up the new Architecture in Helsinki album, Fingers Crossed. The packaging is very cool, and on first listen (six tracks in), it sounds pretty good, in a garage-indie-pop-meets-electronica vein. Some of the tracks sound a bit unpolished (though that's probably deliberate), though there are some real gems; especially Scissors Paper Rock; expect to hear that in one of my DJ sets, possibly next to some Stereolab or something.

(Btw, what is it about Casio-wielding indie bands naming songs after games? You had Lacto-Ovo's Bingo, Ninetynine's Cluedo and Uno, and now AIH have joined the trend.)

I also picked up Stereolab's Cobra and Phases Group... while I was there. With that, my Stereolab collection has doubled in size over the past week.

architecture in helsinki drm indie indiepop lacto-ovo massive attack ninetynine stereolab trends 7

2001/4/15

The future is already here: it's just not evenly distributed: Companies have been hiring the service of cool hunters , who are sort of like upmarket yuppie anthropologists, to tell them what the trendy urban hipsters are doing, thinking and identifying with; the theory being that the twitchily hip urban fads of today will be the next big hit of tomorrow's mainstream; a view Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point put forward.

When not receiving facials or having their toes dipped in Bollinger Grande Cuvée, trendsetting teens claim to be experimenting with digital filmmaking, vintage computers and "geometric prints from the '60s and '70s." Mainstream teens say they're having sex, "rolling up my jeans" and "going to college." Asked about the "newest thing your friends are doing," the mainstreamers, in a sudden burst of Eisenhower-era conformity retrograde even by their standards, cited "getting married," "working on cars" and "going to nudie bars." Trendier types mentioned "freestyling" and "drunk bowling."

The cool-hunting consultancies, of course, charge hefty fees for these vital tips. (An annual subscription to the L Report will set you back $30k.) Mind you, they're now discovering a corollary to the Tipping Point hypothesis; namely, that most cutting-edge trends are too rarefied to trickle down to suburban mainstream consumers to the point of being marketable; leading to missteps such as marketing guarana-laced soft drinks and male makeup kits to the Wal-Mart crowd, with predictably underwhelming results. (via rebecca's pocket)

anthropology avant-garde cool cool hunters culture fashion hipsters mainstream marketing society trends 0

2000/4/28

A web page on that irritatingly ubiquitous feature of corporate logos of the past decade: the Millennum Orbital Crescent Swish. (via BoingBoing)

fashion logos marketing trends 0

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