Exercise 2 – Side-effects and side-shows

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Minimalism

Minimalism have the concept of ‘Less is more’ and emphasizes the aesthetic of being ’empty’. Minimalism have the sense of  reducing everything except its essence. This idea started to spring from late 1960s, and it became one of the biggest trend in so many different fields: art, design, fashion, and even life patterns.

Minimalism effects all generations. One day, I was walking through Margaret Morrison Hall, and I saw kindergarten kids playing with toys. It was pretty interesting to watch their toys. Design of the toys were really different from the toys that I used to play with. I remember toys that I used to play with were more vivid colored and complicated looking. It seems to be toys nowadays tend to have pastel toned colors and simplified features. (Just like other design products!) Moreover, characters tend to have simple features.

Minimalism can be found in communications too. Slangs and abbreviations are created and spread based on the background of times and culture. So many words are created these days, however at the same time so many words are not used anymore. These words helps people to become closer by sharing emotions and having similarities. We enter into their feelings and opinions more effectively through abbreviations, and even gives an impression of ‘trendy’. However, this also can cause miscommunication between people who have different cultural backgrounds and generations.

abbreviations

Minimalists tend follow the idea of minimalism in their life. Through getting rid off “unnecessary” things, they only leave essential products (necessities) around them. This trend also reflects on people’s fashion trend such as nomcore fashion (normal+hardcore), and interior design. For example, Muji’s products and lookbooks show the minimalism interior designs and they are loved by so many people worldwide.

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Unlike design trends, I feel that the technology is getting more complicated as time passes. I think that the more simple the design and function is, the more complicated technology is required. By just looking at the history of phone, the design of the phone is much more simplified, however the functions got more complicated.

phones

Also because everything is getting simple, sometimes it has limitation of containing all meanings and elements, and this creates miscommunication between people. For instance some of the icons are too ambiguous for us to understand, and some of the infographic documents are too hard to understand without texts.

I think it is designers’ duty to find a boundary of being simple. Sometimes, following the idea of minimalism is not always the answer to ‘good design’. Designers should always be aware of aftereffects’ of their product by questioning themselves, and users: Is this product easy enough for the users to understand its function without much descriptions?, What are the features that people prefer to use? In addition, designers should always be aware of different range of people’s adapting; some might not have any problem adopting new technologies, but some might not.

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