Thursday, June 17, 2010
There is a cycle in America regarding what we find attractive or hip. New things are exhilarating and refreshing. We gravitate towards them like moths to a porch light. But then other new things appear, cloaking our excitement for their predecessors.
The cycle intrigues me when I see things circle back for a second wind. Retro is fashionable, but it also sprouts nostalgia for things which once took our breath away.
Take for example the Svijet Oko Nas. These illustrations from a Yugoslavian, children’s encyclopedia are absolutely fascinating. I could gaze at them for hours. They stimulate something in my mind which I can’t explain.
While scanning them with my eyes, I consider how they must have been perceived when they were created, in 1960. And how I may have perceived them in, say, 1980. They may have looked old, unattractive…simply rubbish which was once glorious. But then years later, they have dated enough to become attractive.
This cycle proves especially true with things like clothing, music and even slang. Out with the old, in with the new, then back in with the old again to blend it with the newer new. I’ve paid attention to this oddity of society for as long as I can remember.
But something which doesn’t seem to ride this train is web design. At least in our own medium. I see web designers reference classic, respectable design/illustration in print, like the work of Jan Tschichold. However, we don’t reference our own “classic” web design. Maybe because a digital thing isn’t a thing with any tactile properties?
There is just something about the early stages of digital design that yearns for a better day. It begins clumsy and awkward, like a baby. But eventually the digital realm finds itself creeping into the realm of awe. Maybe in a way which will circle back one day, long after it finds itself “out with the old.”