Where it is still possible to catch semiotic grip with some proper awareness for your surrounding, it becomes more difficult trying to find the light switch in your today’s apartment. Try to avoid spilling your innocent fruits on the concrete floor of your host. If you stumble barefeet through such an environment it is possible to fall flat on your face with that kind of accidental slipness, and the result will always be the same. Only Alexa will hear you cry.
In the next installment: Slippery Design vs. Slick Design, or Slick Design – How Design Becomes Truly Invisible (Manuel Bürger, Slippery Design, 2013)
Another kind of sameness which barely lives through differences is one that might come somewhere from Snow White Design, moves somewhere between terms like Flat Design, Material Design and has been widely proliferated through techno giants, the sharing economy and in human interfaces. Is this the potential next installment to become truly invisible?
Looking at the portfolio of the design studio with the surprisingly ambiguous name “DesignStudio”, suggests heavy nodding. Based in London and San Francisco it reflects a feelgood Design language fitting in its infantile simplicity and color palette perfectly to a late afternoon at the Julius Kahn Playground. But this geometric-sans-serif sunset quickly turns cloudy once you take a look at the scale and political implications of the brands which this DesignStudio represents. What remains, besides the pretence of having a soul is an uncanny aftertaste in the similar flavour of Abacus Pills or the NoPhone. (other example)
Where risk and failure are avoided at any price, you face an atmosphere leading towards a universally understandable language, ultimately escaping any form of articulation. Besides the pretence of being true, real or authentic to any extend this kind of feel good design constitutes a similar trajectory as the term “critical” in front of the word design. Leaving you smug or indifferent. What falls flat in both cases is an openness towards a reception which remains with yourself.
Slippery Design does not want to direct attention to the possibilities of the critical perspectives that can be gained through slipperiness. Such kudos, a slap on the back for being (wanting to be) “critical,” too often leads only to a single, monotonous truth discourse. The venue of any design remains with the recipient; (Manuel Bürger, Slippery Design, 2013)