Hipster Branding

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Created: 08/31/13
Last Edited: 08/31/13
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Every generation has it’s own unique cultural signifiers, aesthetic, and visual tropes which eventually become commodified. Today’s “hipsters” are no different. With Wired Magazine publishing articles like “How to Make the Perfect Hipster Logo in 6 Easy Steps“, it’s become apparent that hipsterism has become so mainstream and self-aware (or is that self-referential?) that everyone is getting in on the fun of letting some of the air out of the balloon. I also thought it was clever to critique how derivative and formulaic this aesthetic has become, by embedding it in the notion of a “tutorial how-to”. So much of what designers do today has become so formalized and repeatable, due to the ubiquity of sharing information online. Perhaps this is why so many youth brands employ similar fonts and styles?

I knew I had to take a crack at deconstructing what makes hipsterism what it is, and to see if I could employ some of it’s visual tropes and subtextual queues towards a loftier goal—irony & humor. Branding is about the visual embodiment of a commodity’s true nature. Youth culture always begins by making it’s own mark, which is then fed back to it in order to sell cars, electronics, and lifestyle products. I wanted to flip the switch on this and make these formulas reveal a more frank portrayal of the fleeting nature of youth culture and coolness, the half-truths that are often the currency of branding, and the dissonance of selling “authenticity” as a quality of mass marketed materialism in a capitalist society.

I also wanted to play with fonts, textures, and other means of creating the hipster aesthetic, including hand drawing and “keeping it real and raw”, as opposed to the very clean digital aesthetic of the Wired piece.
  • Every generation has it’s own unique cultural signifiers, aesthetic, and visual tropes which eventually become commodified. Today’s “hipsters” are no different. With Wired Magazine publishing articles like “How to Make the Perfect Hipster Logo in 6 Easy Steps“, it’s become apparent that hipsterism has become so mainstream and self-aware (or is that self-referential?) that everyone is getting in on the fun of letting some of the air out of the balloon. I also thought it was clever to critique how derivative and formulaic this aesthetic has become, by embedding it in the notion of a “tutorial how-to”. So much of what designers do today has become so formalized and repeatable, due to the ubiquity of sharing information online. Perhaps this is why so many youth brands employ similar fonts and styles?
    I knew I had to take a crack at deconstructing what makes hipsterism what it is, and to see if I could employ some of it’s visual tropes and subtextual queues towards a loftier goal—irony & humor. Branding is about the visual embodiment of a commodity’s true nature. Youth culture always begins by making it’s own mark, which is then fed back to it in order to sell cars, electronics, and lifestyle products. I wanted to flip the switch on this and make these formulas reveal a more frank portrayal of the fleeting nature of youth culture and coolness, the half-truths that are often the currency of branding, and the dissonance of selling “authenticity” as a quality of mass marketed materialism in a capitalist society.
    I also wanted to play with fonts, textures, and other means of creating the hipster aesthetic, including hand drawing and “keeping it real and raw”, as opposed to the very clean digital aesthetic of the Wired piece.

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