Growing up in and around this New Aesthetic, I forgot to acknowledge that the digital and technologic world I know is only as old as I am. In this blog post I want to look at where and how the New Aesthetic is in culture, design, fashion and New Media using examples from the music industry, book design, and fashion trends that are “In” and “Out” in this moment in history. I will bring my perspective and experience in design to offer some more insight on the trends we are all seeing by may be unaware of.
The New Aesthetic is the manifestation of digital media in the physical world, an interesting juxtaposition of 2D and 3D and the pushed even further with CAD 3D softwares, and of course 3D printing.
I wanted to start by looking at examples of the New Aesthetic that are “OUT”.
What’s come and gone as the early appearances of the digital style in the physical world.
The first to come and go is Pixelation. Seen across all commercial industries, this pattern of colors and blocks was printed on everything. Thankfully, the world has moved on. Today we try to forget pixelation and focus on retina displays, high resolution images, and mega files stored in the cloud.
A typographic trend that is seeing it’s end is the “Glitched” sci-fi typography which looked “cool” in the early 2000s. It has become over-used. An example of this is The Matrix poster and the following book cover, which both have this trite aesthetic. Although, to be fair, The Matrix poster has a design appropriate for the time and context of its release in the late 1990’s.
Finally, physical QR codes. No one wants them, no one uses them, and they have become an overall nuisance. Here they are in the wild, and it is “so 2012”. They are everything we do not need.
Okay, now we have things that are IN-OUT.
I’ll explain why. They are sitting dangerously close to the edge. Very close to looking outdated.
Here’s an example. The new CHVRCHES album cover features pixels. The only reason it is still “in”, is the Millennial Pink and the flowers that are Flemish Baroque Art inspired, both of which are hot in fashion right now. An example the floral paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder is approximately where the trend of flowers is drawn from, or the example below. I will explain the phenomenon of Millennial pink when discussing the “In” group.
Another honorable mention for the “IN-OUT” group is the following album cover, for similar reasons. The digital and altered feel of it with the mix of the pink and geometric shapes saves this album cover from looking very “2012” as well.
Here’s another example, on the house. This one is clinging on to life through the use of that polygon in the middle, which I will touch on in reference to the “IN” category.
And now, the “Newer New Aesthetic”.
Here’s what’s “IN” at this moment in history. Veering away from the pixelation of the original new aesthetic and looking at where we’ve arrived at 2017.
Firstly, the “IN” group is predominantly a look back and a wink at the age before the “New Aesthetic” circa the 1980’s. Across the board there is an unapologetic use of Millennial Pink, mentioned earlier. Pantone’s “Color of the Year 2016” was actually two colors, one of which is “Rose Quartz” or better known as Millennial Pink and Tumblr Pink. It’s everywhere, and here’s an article that explains why.
Because there are so many examples of this, I will feature just one work on New Hive which has many aspects of the “Newer New Aesthetic” including the pink. Bonus points for the use of emojis.
Full work here. The use of this color and the emojis is what makes this remake of “The Aleph” so contemporary and relevant.
There are just too many examples of this pink.
Another trend right now is holographic patterns and iridescence. This is looking directly at the 80s, the low resolution and glitchy media that was. Even old TV calibration and TV static is in and is printed on shirts and mugs.
The following “magnetic” pattern that resembles and updates the colors and polyester of the early 90’s and the late 80’s as well as the TV static mentioned previous. There is not a single “hot” store that you can go to that doesn’t sell a purse, socks, pens, belts, etc, that are not in this plastic and reflective material.
And the last “IN” trend I will mention is the low – poly, geometric look that is, in part, a result of the early iterations of 3D printing. This has also been all over Etsy, Pinterest, and commercial retail such as Urban Outfitters.
Bonus points for using Pantone’s 2016 colors.
I think there will be no separation between the digital and the real world. It is so deeply integrated and ubiquitous as well as embraced by the millennial generation which is now nursing and fueling this New Aesthetic. I believe it will continue to change as technology shifts, just as it has from the original definition by Bridle at SXSW in 2012.
Examples from Pintrest.com and Tumblr.com
The New Aesthetic and Art: Constellations of the Postdigital
by Scott Contreras-Koterbay and Łukasz Mirocha – http://networkcultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/TOD20-final.pdf