Avanti l'Avant New
Gìgì Gregory / Artist & aspiring art director / BA Design for Art Direction
Anti-design has enticed a new generation of creatives to push forth the potentials of ‘the before’ as the 1960’s movement has returned to fuel our souls with a sense of faith for our present and future. Critically analysing the way the world was at a pre-pandemic state, we are now ready, as global survivors, to reprimand and repair the precedent dereliction of societal systems with the forceful will to re-place a universal loss with a different approach in designing our reality. Indeed a new way of seeing what we once saw before.
In the same way the Italian anti-designers critiqued the Modernists for their form-following-function mindset, young people, despite their immanent battles with increasing mental health issues corroded by COVID-19, are directly backtracking the mixed messages scattered by governmental bodies, re-designing visual messages to convey their own truths of today. As a result, we are witnessing a tidal wave of expressionistic actions that are rewriting the rules of design which are simultaneously reflecting the condition of post-pandemic citizens. Anger, delusion, disappointment and death have internationally corrupted the propositional opportunities of the years we were looking forward to and left nations with a void of mistrust, even for those who passively accept the wrongs of the world through matter of habituation and quotidian ignorance. A worldly peace has been disturbed and creatives have shifted their energy towards the rebellious and revolutionary appeal of anti-design to regenerate the power of their voices.
With complexity and digital compoundness, young designers are eager to break the rules of graphic design with a newfound attention to distortion. Ironically, in opposition to today’s convulsed contradictions, the intricate aesthetics in anti-design, that may seem illegible at first, promote the viewer to multiple legible opportunities, opening a utopian gateway for intuitive creativity. Through this approach, the simplistic essentials of design that our eyes are used to, are being re-evaluated and re-designed through the ‘Anti’, consequently bringing the art of perception into a futuristic foreplay for those of analytical nature. Those who we define as ‘young thinkers’, known for their constant questioning of everything defining quotidian life. Those young catalysts.
The known to be strange and misunderstood beauty of anti-design is lost in its so called ‘ugly’ translation. Unfortunately for some, the challenge of looking beyond an initial perspective, a first point of view, distances the viewer from the more profound concept of anti-design, it’s power to create change, to cause action. This ‘ugliness’ has been conceived as a form of rebellion and for this reason it is almost impossible to ignore the unapologetic boldness of anti-designers. We welcome this energetic movement back into the present because now, more than ever, we need people to notice the un-noticed, to see more than what meets the eye and to interrupt the nonchalance attitudes of compliant acceptance. Lives have been lost because some questions were never asked, never answered, so this is the time for the youth to bring forward what was part of the past, what was in the ‘before’, in a controlled distortion of context. If we are failing to control the hands that are responsible for what we have lost, then as creatives, we will train the public eye to look further into the authenticity of authority and to look at themselves through how they view the object. Traditionally, just like the original anti-designers, we are subverting roles.
I believe one of the biggest misconceptions of rebellion and anti-design is that to be Anti, is perceived as being aggressively against, however, Anti is pure opposition and to oppose what is it that makes our now, is to understand what will make our tomorrow. I’ve heard the disputation around the possibility of Anti-design passing over like a pattern or a trend, but I believe it is because of the Anti in our ways of thinking that we remain relevant and that we manage to repair, to prevent as well as to produce and to promote as a national body and as free individuals. It is a choice to see what is beyond first sight and first impressions. Anti-design is universally accessible to anyone who seeks deeper comprehension, to anyone who looks for multiple meanings. The accumulation of minds that constructively call for change through subtle rebellion and curiosity are those who are leading our future to a state of collective consciousness. A universe where people are more willing to learn and to re-visualise, instead of pretending to have seen and understood all of which could be out there and all of which could already be here.
Image 01: 'Design is a Point of View'. Unknown.
Image 02: 'Life, Universe & Everything' by John Schaub
Image 03: 'Portrait360' by Gianluca Traina
Image 04: The Other Side by John Schaub / Click to see GIF (It's worth it).
Image 05: Tunica Magazine. Issue No.7 Extended Fantasy. Info: 'A Thirst for Knowledge'.
SOURCES & LINKS:
Coping with Irrelevance. Michael Johnson (Johnson Banks, 2020).
The New Waves of Anti-Design Magazines Will Question Your Sense of Taste & That's a Good Thing. Ruth Jamieson (Eye on Design, 2016).
An Anti-Design Thinking Theory of Design(ing). Jonathan Ventura & Dina Shahar.
User Experience. The Rise of Anti-Design. Daniel Kalick (Aiga Design Conference, 2017).
Will Anti-Design Takeover The Graphic Design World? (Satori Graphics, 2021).
Anti Design. Over's 2020 Trends Kit.
Anti-Design Movement: Aestheticism of the Modern Era. (Widewalls).
Brutalist web designs. The Ugliest Design Trend of 2020. (Template Monster).
The Life & Times of Ettore Sottsass. (Design Public).
Covid Impact On Young People With Mental Health Needs. (Young Minds, 2021).
The First Secret of Great Design. Tony Fadell. (TED Talks, 2015).
"Almost every great cultural movement in history began with an intuition to purposefully go where you're not supposed to go."
Comments are welcome.