The New Ugly?


The New Ugly? This is an interesting subject that really forces me to consider and vocalize my personal philosophies of art and design. I am a fan of the messy, raw and passionate–I like design that eschews the crisp, studied and CLEAN work of the educated and professional. I love scissors, photocopies and typewriters. People who don't WAIT for approval–just create, produce and distribute are my heroes. Why do people need to be validated by some boring rich white person in an office in New York (or London, Berlin etc.)? Fuck 'em.

I also believe it is the artists (and I do include designers in that category) duty to make the world a more beautiful place–this is not in conflict with my love of DIY. Design with passion and point of view is beautiful. Professionals often become so encumbered by the rules of THE CORRECT way to do things, they become a little dead inside. That is NOT to say I am for "thinking outside the box," or breaking the rules MAN! Beware anyone who asks you to think outside the box, or asks you to be cutting edge–they are idiots. No, what I am interested in is giving in to heart and hand, giving in to the nature of your abilities, as much as you struggle for technical perfection. The manicured, symmetrical garden is beautiful, but so is the wild countryside.

I have looked through the German art and lifestyle (I'm sure they wont like that designation, but that's what it is) magazine 032c many times at Universal News, and it has always completely bored me. It exemplifies the worst, most cliché aspects of German design–it is clinical, vapid, irritatingly avant-garde and completely devoid of passion (OMG-don't hate me Germanic pals!!). Check out Mike Meiré's intellectual reasoning for his recent "ugly" redesign of 032c, which is as cold as the magazine itself. He is certainly more interesting to listen to, than the magazine is to read. However, like so many of us designers and artists he talks about how everything looks the same and sucks (yes, I include myself here as well), and that he is looking for something "different."

Previous to Meiré, 032c's design can only be described as competent and legible. The fashion photography was, and continues to be, a complete snooze. This is not the fault of contributors (many of whom have done fine work elsewhere), but the result of ill-conceived art direction and poorly considered editorial arrangement. This "ugly" re-design isn't really that different as far as I can see, other than the overly self-conscience stretched type-face. Apparently Meiré and editor-in-chief Jörg Koch are attempting to purposefully be confrontational with aesthetic taste, with a "radical step towards brutality." Not only is this an adolescent urge, the magazine completely fails in that mission. In reality, it is hardly confrontational and actually.... not that ugly. It's just trite.

Another Magazine's current issue really does not fall within this discussion, as some would suggest... its a whole other ball of wax for another day.

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