This post was originally shared on Instagram here. However I feel so strongly about this subject, that I wanted to bring the conversation here too.
To start with, let me elaborate:
The issue I find is that, I operate in this space of limbo, half in agency space and half in instagrammer-designer space.
The former feels right to me. Proper. This is where long lasting, change making, timeless brands are created, without the bravado of followers or the likes.
Agencies tend to quietly, calmly and consistently to create projects and brands with meaning, without creating work for the adoration of loyal followers. Without necessarily designing something because it’s cool, but creating specifically because it will work for the brand.
The Instagram world, on the other hand, is fuelled by ‘being on show.’ It’s a curated space, where we share our best. With that, the temptation to create ‘for the gram’ comes through strong.
It’s a big place, but also a small space. It’s a space where within one scroll you can see a handful or projects that may look the same, or very similar. (Depending on who you follow of course.)
Instagram pushes us, and encourages us to do more, share more and compete. Yes. I said it. I know we don’t buy into the idea of competition, but in many ways, we are. If not competition, maybe an element of comparison? Consciously or subconsciously.I feel there’s often a sense of needing to design ‘for designers’ – for your validation almost.
I think this is where the trends appear. It moves beyond a trend because of the collective conscience, but into a situation where we want to design based on what our community will respond to. A catalyst to sameness which reinforces the the mirror of the echo chamber.
We also have that tricky space to handle, where we believe our grids should look cohesive and consistent. They should be a brand in their own right, right?
I challenge this though, how can we truly create actual brands, if we’re designing for ourselves and our style time after time? I’m not sure that we can.
In my eyes, the strongest designers and agencies are able to flex their talents to suit the needs of their clients. They can think beyond their tastes, ego and platform-presentation. They design consumer and client first. How it should be.
I don’t know that I have a solution or a suggestion, only that I strongly encourage all creatives to look to their own voice, rather than to the cool things that they see around them.
Wanting to fit in isn’t what you need. Wanting to stand out though, really is.
Here’s the original post:
Have you noticed it too? Grand Slang, Ogg and Voyage – I’m looking at you
Don’t get me wrong, I love these fonts and I love trends, but I personally find it hard to use them commercially. (Sometimes I DO want to follow the crowd though and scratch that itch- and it’s cool if you do. Whatever floats your boat!)
Maybe it’s my old school design education, my stern agency upbringing (or maybe it’s just how I’m wired too) that makes me want to go the other way.
It frustrates me that Instagram and Pinterest look quite sameeeey at the minute. (No shade friends, just observations. Peace and love to all)
I was always taught (see if you agree) that a designer’s role, was not only to the save the world right after rock and roll (quote from David Carson) but to CREATE the trends in the first place.
To be ahead of the game. To say no to safe. To push boundaries and be the force for change.
To carve unique paths and do cool new shit.
The way I see it…
Are we here to be leaders or followers?
I appreciate that to strive for this at all costs may be an expectation that is unsustainable and unrealistic, but equally, the future of design and aesthetics is in our hands.
What would you choose?