Saturday, January 26, 2019

Blogger Brutalism

I've actually considered designing my own website from scratch, but decided to eschew the upkeep in favor of a simple Blogger interface. For the purposes of a personal website, I wanted a space to share and archive ideas while maximizing usability.

Rather having to deal with writing my own script or pay for web hosting, Blogger has everything I need: an editor to draft and publish time-stamped blog posts, web-standard compliant templates, the ability to direct my custom domain to Blogger's Google servers, the option to edit source code, and additional integrations like AdSense.

Even though Pantophagy Design is the name of my website, it is not explicitly a portfolio website. I believe that better platforms exist for the exhibition of my design projects, such as my Portfolium page. Over time, I learned that, at least in my current stage of life, I am a larger fan of strategy and process than product, which is how I ended up here. I look up to James Gurney, who is a brilliant painter and multimedia artist himself, but has made a bigger name for himself for his teaching and experimental attitude.

I also hesitated using Blogger at first because, in this day and age, it's easy to feel that modern-day visual design skews towards minimalism. Case in point, take a look at Uber's third redesign at Uber's 2018 rebrand webpage. In summary, Uber prioritized functionality by creating a typographic logo that is highly legible and recognizable.

Whenever I think of this design movement, I feel compelled to create sterile, utilitarian, and perfect interfaces, and I have to pull myself back by remembering today's brutalism, which is an art movement that is a cultural reaction to the lightness of modern visual design. This is perfectly demonstrated by Yale School of Art's website.

You might be thinking–how pretentious is it that they're ironically using old-school HTML-based web design? But their choice in web design is still legitimizing. I used to think that brutalism was diametrically opposed to good visual design, but I realized that's like comparing apples to oranges, since brutalism describes an aesthetic style, rather than a visual strategy. In fact, they're not mutually exclusive since a lot of brutalist websites seem to use highly legible text.

Another perspective: Brutalist architecture was ugly at 100% function over form, whereas brutalism in web design today kicks it up to 200%, as a rebellious, ugly fashion trend.

After all, how refreshing is it to encounter a web page that looks like how you fundamentally understand a website works –a website that doesn't reflect the potentially insidious intentions of the company trying to use psychological trickery to get you to look at or click on a certain thing, or –a website that simply has every link and special effect thrown onto the front page because that was the extent of their creators' technical abilities?

Other brutalist websites:

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