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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Merchants of Cool

The PSB Frontline episode The Merchants of Cool aired in 2001 but is still relevant when addressing how marketing/advertising/branding addresses consumer culture today, especially to the youth market.

While I hope that it is more than a passing trend, 'design' has recently become a major consideration in the general public lifestyle in the US. Just take a look around at your local newsstand and how many magazines address 'the modern life', where high design permeates every aspect of one's life, down to who designed the stapler on your desk that you never use.

Have you ever encountered a thing that has design-iness? Something that was packaged as well designed, but did not actually live up to its brand/marketing image?

Do you think that corporations see design as just another way to profit from a desire for what is cool at the moment and the desire to increase social status among peers?

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Good post. Yes, I think corporations have taken advantage of the attention for: the trendiness that the visual culture and the love for asthetics has brought in the recent years. What was once an honest interest has now become a full blown trend.

    You know it's bad when it comes to the point that everyone wants to have their own clothing line, everyone wants to print on shirts, release their own vinyl toy, come out with their own stationary line, glassware, website/design blog, etc, etc. And even though it is all exciting right now for alot of people. It devalues what art and design is really worth.

    Funny thing is that, this is just the beginning phase. It will explode to a rediculous popularity that it will become boring. And we will come across more and more artists or designers being-famous-for-being-famous rather then famous for their own skills and work.

    Example : Shepard Fairey steals ideas and art from other artists and just adds that vector graphics software effect to the images and signs them. As if he made an original piece.

    Alot has been said about him being a plagiarits. But his fans don't care about this, and he makes people money and he is just too famous and trendy right now it does not matter what he does(as long as it's "Shepard Fairey"). He can poop and make red lines with black and blue in a vector format and sign it, and he will sell out of his prints(just because it's him).

    We are seeing a fair amout of this now and we will se alot more later on.


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