Khoi Vinh noticed that tech marketing adheres a very specific, somewhat infantilized illustration style. I call it safety minimalism—Vinh sees in it the rise of a monoculture.
In my experience, the vast majority of them are quite similar in their aesthetic: the colors range from primary to bright pastels; the figures are cleanly drawn and almost always rendered with vectors; the details are highly abstracted and shading is geometric if it appears at all; the compositions are generally minimal and only occasionally feature very limited background elements. ... It probably wouldn’t be far off-base to assume that a lot of these illustrations were done not by professional illustrators but by product designers who also have some illustration talent themselves.
Just as likely is the genre's systemic occupation of cheap stock illustration sites, which aggregate semi-skilled hackwork into a convenient business-to-business service.
Either way, Vinh poses an important question about "the prevalence of a single, monocultural aesthetic" by every startup, tech firm and personal brand monster: surely some other voice, or even another "modulation" of the same style, would be more appropriate for at least some?
UPDATE: First comment from Moosemalloy points out some important art history: "I submit that this style is redolent of and still influenced by the flattist pastel-y images that Adobe Flash tended to produce and that hence proliferated in early-to-mid web history. Flash is discontinued but still, I suspect, casts its shadow (or lack of shadow!) over web imagery generally, and this is a manifestation of same."
In 2017, Banksy painted a giant mural on a wall in Dover, England depicting a worker chiseling a star off the EU flag, by way of a comment on the Brexit vote; now, parties unknown have painted over that mural, whitewashing it. Banksy is philosophical about this development: "Oh. I had planned that on the […]
In 1969, visionary designers Charles and Ray Eames directed this cinematic ballet of more than 100 spinning tops from around the world. The score is by famed Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein (The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, Airplane!, etc.). From the Eames Office: Tops had its genesis in an earlier film produced for the Stars […]
Of all the shitty luck! Burglars stole a working 18-carat gold toilet from Blenheim Palace in Britain. The golden potty was part of an art installation, police said.
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]
Life isn’t getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there’s a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you’ve somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try […]
When it comes to data analytics or deep learning, there’s one language behind the apps and algorithms that power the biggest companies of today: Python. The best part about this tool is that as versatile as it is, it’s actually fairly easy to learn. But mastery? For that, you need more than just a beginners’ […]