We are Anti-Modern

Design, Uncategorized

PSFK posted an article on a new, exclusive, invitation-only social network called Metrofunk.  The concept for this social network is described as “nightlife, fashion, sound and music.”

This sounds like a bad :30 for a vodka brand.  Visions of chicks with daddy issues sucking on an ice cubes surrounded by dashing metrosexuals come to mind.

But what did catch my eye was an image PSFK copied from the Metrofunk homepage and posted on their site:

metrofunk.gif

What is this design called?  It has been popping up all over the place for at least five years (probably longer if you have lived in Brooklyn).  It is the mark of a hipster, the fashion of the decade, and yet I can’t seem to find anyone that has firmly marked it as the symbol of design post-grunge.

I looked around for an answer to my question, and all I got was this from Wikipedia (not sourced…but I like it):

In the ’00s, as the future began to seem increasingly bleak, fashion, and indeed the Arts in general, looked to the past for inspiration, arguably more so than in previous decades. Vintage clothing, especially from the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties became extremely popular and fashion designers often sought to emulate bygone styles in their collections. The early ’00s saw a continuation of the minimalist look of the Nineties in high fashion.

Later on, designers began to adopt a more colorful, feminine, excessive, and ‘anti-modern’ look. 

Yes yes, we all know this decade is about postmodern art: the “bleak” end of the road.  The 80s are back, as are the 90s, as are the 50s, 60s and 70s for that matter.  There are no new layers to uncover, only existing layers to inhibit.

BUT, this (lack of) style aside, the design from Metrofunk is not really a part of any decade.  It is quintessentially part of this decade.  Anti-modern is to the 00s as grunge was to my adolescence.

Examples are best found in t-shirt design:

tshirt.gif

design.gif

0505herd.jpg

Planning Spore

Uncategorized

Some people become planners over a long period of time. For me, it was sudden. I became a planner when I got hold of Will Wright’s Sim City in the summer of 1989.

simcity_classic_cover_art.jpg

Since then, Will Wright has gone onto build blockbusters including Sim Earth and The Sims. His most recent project – for those who don’t know – is Spore.  The game allows a player to control the evolution of a species from its existence as a multicellular organism to a spacefaring sapient creature.  It has been under development for years and is expected to be released this coming spring.

sporelogo.jpg

Earlier this month, Wright gave a demonstration of his game at the 2007 New Yorker Conference. There are plenty of demos on the web already, but what this interview had was a thought-provoking Q&A session after the demo.

Write, one of the great planners of modern times, made two comments that struck this planner as profound.

The first comment was in regards to the issue of gaming reviews. Write notes that the gaming programmers of the world have not built a common vernacular to describe their work, thereby making it difficult for journalists, game reviewers and the like to qualify games with the same systems (e.g., stars, thumbs up) they often give to movies, music, and other forms of media entertainment. The fact this rating system remains nonexistent is but one more reason the world of marketing has trouble understanding how to tap into the gaming culture (beyond the G*ddamn in-game billboard).

The second issue he raised was how Spore and its genre is going beyond the traditional gaming style. Like my beloved Sim City, Spore has no goal and no end but what the player determines. There is little carnage and fewer adversaries other than your own skill set, imagination, and free time. Moreover, the game changes with the decisions you make. It is not a single path whereby a guy, be it Zelda or Master Chief, wreaks carnage, nor it is a specified rectangle where automated players chuck around a ball.

According to Wright, Spore and its ilk are designed so that “players are building a [path] in their head. The players are constructing the model as they play.”  In the interview, Wright went onto say “We build programing that starts modifying itself around what you enjoy doing. What your skill set is. What your aesthetics are. It can start modifying itself around you. THIS MAKES THEM A WHOLE NEW FORM OF MEDIA.”

Well, I don’t know if this is a totally “new form” of media, but it is definitely progressive. TiVo has a lot of the same traits, as do some of the new media search engines that aggregate your tastes and make recommendations you may not expect. But Wright does have a point; the largest untapped realm of game development is the type of game that changes its fundamental elements based customer control.  Smells like a virtual world, no?

There are plenty of other nuggets in the interview that make it worth the watch, including Wright’s thoughts on how gaming technology mirrors the Renaissance. I highly recommend it: CLICK HERE for the full presentation/interview.

present.jpg

More Inspiration

Uncategorized

A quote John Moore picked up from the Wall Street Journal.  He rightly referred to it as a “succinct and lucid breakdown” of a complicated job title:

“To me, the role of a CMO is really pretty simple. You can’t ever lose sight of the fact that your role is to sell more stuff to more people for more money more often. That has to be the ultimate goal.

You also have to inspire the organization to take calculated risks, and inspire the organization to love winning more than they are afraid of losing.”

– Anthony Palmer, CMO, Kimberly-Clark

 A slight revision:

“To me, the role of anyone in the business of marketing is really pretty simple. You can’t ever lose sight of the fact that your role is to sell more stuff to more people for more money more often. That has to be the ultimate goal.

You also have to inspire the organization to take calculated risks, and inspire the organization to love winning more than they are afraid of losing.”

I particularly like the second paragraph.  That one seems to be missing from many a mission statement.