Author: Natasja Derry
Hey stranger! My name is Natasja and I’m studying Design Management at LCC while working in Copenhagen for my placement year. As a Visual Communication intern, I’m intrigued to understand how anti-design affects my practice and how it compares to the Danish attitude towards design.
What is anti-design?
Anti-Design was a design flow and style art movement originating in Italy and lasting from the years 1966 - 1980. It eschews traditional design principles and conventional aesthetic tastes. It challenges us with asymmetry, clashing colours, bare interfaces, crowded elements and stark typography.
According to 99Designs, the movement is resurfacing after the lingering pandemic as a response to society being conformed to the lockdown rules.
Above is a picture I took from my friend’s apartment – two twenty-year-old students live here and have brought their designer collection together. I personally haven’t come across students flats looking like this.
Therefore, the temporary purchase mentality in Anti-design contrasts to the Danish mentality of investing. In my personal opinion, I agree with the Danish Modern values of investing to avoid creating more of a waste culture.
How does anti-design fit into my current job?
I work in a corporate company where ‘kitsch’ and ‘bizarre’ graphic design is frightening and most certainly avoided. Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company which prides itself in being a leader in the world of insulin and diabetics. Therefore, their CVI consists of neutral colours, a simple font and a limited photo library which communicates to their stakeholders that they are serious and compliant with medical laws. To give an example, I was recently designing thank you cards to their employees and I followed the CVI guidelines, except for one line where I chose a different font. This caused a 25-minute discussion amongst the team as to whether we could do this. Although this seems trivial (I for sure struggled to take the conversation serious) it all amounts to a shared brand identity.
Anti-design is fun and engaging, however it should only be implemented if it is appropriate in the situation. Furthermore, as a Visual Communication Intern, I need to learn and understand the rules in designing graphical content to recognise when one can break them.
In conclusion, anti-design would trump the Danish Modern lifestyle as it so heavily rooted in the Danes, however there are elements that could help encourage creativity and innovation, especially after 2 years in lockdown. It’s important to understand who you are communicating to and if the principles of anti-design would catch their eye. For my next internship, I’ll be interacting with a much