Abstraction in Design and Speech

Jason Kottke’s blog has always been a great read.  Never boring, always focused on content, and rarely do you get an uninteresting post.  It’s truly what the blogosphere used to be in the mid-naughties (and perhaps an era we will never retrieve).

So it’s interesting to see Kottke talk about abstraction in design and how minimalism in art ultimately effects meaning:

The reason why those particular logos work responsively is because they each have abstract representations that work on that meaningful emotional level. You see that red Levi’s tag or Nike swoosh and you feel something. I think companies are having to design logos in this way more frequently. Contemporary logos need to look good on freeway billboards, on letterhead, as iOS icons, and, in the case of the Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest logos, affixed to tiny tweet/like/pin buttons. (via ministry of type)

Obviously, the import one sees in marketing is there.  You see the Nike swoosh, you know the brand, it is a tactile reminder of what the brand represents — like a North Face logo on a jacket, you’re buying not just the reputation of the brand itself, but via expression what you would like to say about yourself in the exchange.

In the era where long form content has ultimately yielded to Twitter and headline “clickbait” one really has to wonder whether or not we have effectively done something very similar to ourselves over the last 10 years.  Once we were rather complex… and today we have been stripped down to our essential meanings.

No nuance, easy to amplify, and easier still to manipulate.  Not so sure that essentialism in media is all that great a thing.  Once upon a time, that was a selling point for publications such as the USA Today.  Now, not so much.

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