Design has evolved through varied cultural and art progressions. The Postmodern began with a liberalisation of ideas without any set adherence to rational order and formal organization. The movement has been an expressive and playful time for designers with a number of conspicuous trends – retro, techno, punk, grunge, beach, parody and pastiche. There has been no singular defined design language or demi-gods; it is an anarchy of sorts. The Postmodern is an ever evolving organism, a mangled up mix of counter culture’s, aesthetics driven by nostalgic revivals, juxtaposed with advances in material technologies. Everyone and everything fits in this cacophonous bandwagon; the Postmodern is a never-ending journey we continue straddling, wandering, defining and redefining ourselves to suit its meanderings and hysterics. The quote below pretty much sums it up.

“Creativity is a slot machine. There’s a certain amount of intuitive thinking that goes into everything. It’s so hard to describe how things happen intuitively”, Paula Scher

DESIGN-TAXONOMY

The Postmodern is full of characters with varied worldviews, makes and personalities. Different designers partake in this world in varied ways. Here we try to deconstruct the Postmodern designer into more recognisable characters floating in the sea of design.

THE HIPSTER

“The irony to the hipster existence is their conformation to their non conformity.”

The hipster designer is quite a current phenomenon. A good way to define the contemporary design hipster is to study his evolution through the past social movements.

 

The hipster has evolved from the emo – the proto hipster, to the twee– the ultimate retrophile, to the williamsburg – the fixie riding, iPhone fanboy, to the new wave of gentrification in cities finally classifying the meta nerd.

 

The hipster is the new age boutique designer – a connoisseur, and a curator of what is truly “authentic”. They are often fond of everything “vintage” and are huge retrophiles. The hipsters have their own vernacular, which is a contemporary take on the handcrafted – it is the culture of the upcycled, rehashed and reclaimed, a culture of mass customization, where everything is manicured to fit your soul. They have a great admiration for everything organic and natural, but they are true materialists at heart and their much proclaimed ‘save the world’ attitude certainly falls short.

 

Why other designers don’t like them:

The irony to the hipster existence is their conformation to their non conformity. Their drive for individuality is stifled by their own religion. The monotony of their vernacular doesn’t set them apart but brings them together like sheep.The hipster is an epitome of pretension and manages to derive scorn from the general populace.

 

Compatibility with other designers:

Their high brow attitude largely keeps them compatible with their own kind only.

 

Other quirks and facts:

Internet Procrastinations: #instagram, Etsy

Books: They don’t read, they blog

Movies: Juno, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Amelie

Music: Indie Pop, Art Rock, Neo soul

Fonts: Brothers, Futura bold and Wisdom script

God Figures: Wes Anderson, Ellen Page

A step by step guide to a hipster logo

SAVE THE WORLD HIPPIE

The Ken Keseyes of the Postmodern have remained quite hippie in their outlook but not so hippie at heart. Often confused as hipsters, these rebels of the Postmodern world have almost been pushed to the fringes, treading the thin lines of art, craft and design.

 

“ They are the true minimalist in existence – not in their aesthetic but certainly in their livelihood.”

A sect of the hippie designer still dwells in the nostalgia of the 60’s and settles down to niche design sub streams of illustration and installation art. Here the aesthetic is highly expressive, non conformist and very bohemian. The vocabulary ranges from psychedelic revival design of the Wes Wilson days, to influences of Op & Pop art. Laterally a whole new bunch of illustrative styles emerge, culminated through an almost underground culture of graphic novelists and zine creators. These are the hippie drifters – the pleasure seekers – they want ‘peace bro’, peace away from the straight and the square of society; they are the true minimalists in existence – not in their aesthetic but certainly in their livelihood.

 

Parallelly, a new breed of hippies have evolved from the the tree hugging rastafarian – designers who fit in with the masses trying to clear up the system from the inside. They build “sustainable” products and systems to change the world. This is the hippie entrepreneur – he is the driven individual, the Don Quixote of the Postmodern, armed with ideas and technology, striving to do good for the community, to give back and mend ways. The hippie entrepreneur suffers from acute fantasia of utopic civilisations and adventures around in his own self made world creating and solving problems indifferent to the actual.

 

Why other designers don’t like them:

The idealism of the hippie is repulsive, their utopic visions blur out their sense of reality and their efforts are mostly in vain as all their work remains in conceptual domains. The money spent drinking “green tea” and prophesizing obscurities of a sustainable world could actually be put to use to support a third world country.

 

Compatibility with other designers:

Can mingle with the hipsters – like a couple of pigeons hanging out with seagulls.

 

Other quirks and facts:

Internet Procrastinations: Trippy Store, Treehugger.com

Books: Walden, On the Road, Electric Kool Aid Acid Trip Test

Movie: Into the Wild, Zabriskie Point, Waking Life

Music: Folk music, psychedelic rock, Reggae

Fonts: They make their own fonts – originality ahoy!

God Figures: Guy from Into the Wild, Mr Marley

THE TRADITIONALISTS

“They are the true rationalists and there is a great amount of precision in the construction of their forms.”

The traditionalists of the Postmodern are the weathered veterans  – The Beethovens of the design world. Their design delivery is layered and narratives are highly subjective. Having lived through multiple decades of design movements, design history is key to their essence. They are highly conceptual and intuitive in their thinking. They are the true rationalists and there is a great amount of precision in the construction of their forms.

 

Traditionalists in present times have taken to roles of design mentors and academicians. Their thoughts tend to unravel in winding tedious phrases with long exasperating pauses – quite a handful for the new age design geeks to swallow. Their conversations digress substantially, almost ending up like a David Lynch movie – where there is “apparently” no plot and the surrealism has hit too hard to make any sense. These Neanderthals of contemporary design are a dying breed, their tools are not chiseled enough for current times, and their whimsical senility creeps in strongly.

 

Why other designers don’t like them:

They are typecast primarily in the old school bracket and their esoteric conversations are huge put offs.

 

Compatibility with other designers:

They are compatible with most other designers but not everyone warms up to their old world charms.

 

Other quirks and facts:

Internet Procrastinations: Who is Internet?

Books: Portrait of an artist as a young man, Myth of Sisyphus, Critique of Pure Reason

Movie: Citizen Kane, Buena Vista Social club, Solaris, Russian Ark

Music: Free Jazz, Blues, Classical

Fonts: Helvetica

God Figures: George Nakashima, Le Corbusier, Charles & Ray Eames

THE CORPORATE

“They have no romantic notions of design left in them, they are highly objective and resourceful; straight forward and to the point.”

“Welcome to the machine” the corporate designer is a powerhouse. Efficiency is key here. Their brain is wired up like an assembly line, everything is about time management and delivery. They never compromise on quality and are very effective jugglers of the original and the mainstream. They have no romantic notions of design left in them, they are highly objective and resourceful; straight forward and to the point. These new age designers are early adopters – the first to embrace changes in their fields and very up to date. Their solid business mindsets ensures financial independence. Personal branding is an essential, as they know the power of marketing and how to promote themselves. Marketing jargon often superimposed with design technicalities are their primary means of rhetoric.

 

The corporate designers are over achievers – they want to climb the ladder higher and faster, from sheep to pigs. These are the Orwellian Napoleons and they rarely take ‘no’ for an answer and always strive for a ‘bigger’ future.

 

Why other designers don’t like them:

They take themselves too seriously.

 

Compatibility with other designers:

They are born leaders and effective social creatures and get along well with most other designers – except the hippies! (peace out bro)

 

Other quirks and facts:

Internet Procrastinations: www.wired.com, www.forbes.com, www.mint.com

Books: Creativity, Inc, Big Brand Theory

Movies TV shows: Suits, Mad Men

Music: 93.5FM

Fonts: https://www.google.com/fonts

God Figures: Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and obviously, Mark Zuckerberg

THE DESIGN DIVAS

The design divas are the glamour quotient of the Postmodern. They are “fabulous” people, the true design artistes. They live to create the original, the extravagant and the “over the top”. Their works are loud, bold and pompous. Here functionality eludes form and design pieces itself together primarily through the accompaniment of the “talk”. Design divas are huge extroverts and their conversations are usually coloured with prophecies of trends, emotional outpourings over past doings and exaggerations.They are highly charismatic, fashionable and key trendsetters in their worlds.

“ The Design divas are perpetually stuck in the purgatory of art and design.”

The Design divas are perpetually stuck in the purgatory of art and design. As they straddle the two ships in this state of limbo they manage to derive scorn from both. These Aphrodite of the design world love living the high life, and apart from painting their canvases with faffed-out conceptual work they also spend a great amount of time painting their social images Neon Purple.

 

Why other designers don’t like them:

Designers often look down on them as ‘stylists’ only; they also make a whole lot more than others.

 

Compatibility with other designers:

They are compatible with most other designers but not everyone can handle their social extravagances and fiestyness.

 

Other quirks and facts:

Internet Procrastinations: Pinterest, Trendland

Books: Vogue, Mrs Dalloway, Alice in Wonderland

Movies: Breakfast at Tiffany, Pina, Annie Hall

Music: Where Do you go to my Lovely

Fonts: Mulberry Script, Hoefler Titling

God Figures: Karim Rashid, Zaha hadid, Tamara de Lempicka and Devil wears Prada 
We are all compounds of these and a few more other specimens and we relate in varying degrees to most of them, whether we like it or not, and in the end, we all come together to form the bigger cataclasm that is called the contemporary design world.