Thoughts On Movements

Written by Yaron Schoen August 5, 2012

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Just thinking out loud here, so bear with me. As much as I'd like to think that as a designer I am different, an individual, a special flower that blossoms in my own special way, the fact is that it is probably not the case. I'm part of a movement. Actually we probably all are part of a movement no matter what artistic discipline consumes our day to day. We all work with the same basic principles that are currently agreed upon within our discipline's movement. Sure, some of us come up with unique ideas that help define the movement we are part of, but most likely 99% of us are benefiting from the same principles. And this is perfectly fine.

As far as I know, almost every movement is a reaction to a previous one. We get tired, angry and annoyed with one direction and we create a counter movement to help soothe those emotions. Punk Rock was a reaction to late 60ies sentimental Rock 'n Roll with long noodle guitar solos. Bauhaus was a reaction to the overly done ornamentation that defined Art Nouveau. Even our current movement on the Web (not sure we have a name for it yet) was sparked by the abundance of overly artistic Flash sites that were too hard to use.

Transitions between movements usually start from dissatisfaction within the community. Multiple attempts to venture out into the unknown and experiment with ideas that do not follow the agreed upon rules usually result in few individuals that successfully capture the minds of those within the community. Then begins a quick waterfall of transition into the new rules throughout the community.

It's probably not cool to associate myself with a certain movement and if I ever do I'll make sure not to let the hipsters in Williamsburg ever hear me. But honestly, for me, it really helps to define where I stand. This definition helps me make conscious decisions that are based on common, agreed upon rules. It also helps me understand what rules stand in contradiction to rules that were set up previously. It even helps me break some of the rules, eventually helping move our discipline forward.

Not sure where I'm going with this. I guess my question is what's next? What will replace our current way of doing things? Should we already be asking this? Perhaps it's too early? One thing is for sure, we should probably know what movement we are a part of and help define and categorize it. If not we'll end up with something as lame as "Web 2.0". I'd prefer something a tad more sexy like Web Nouveau.

Written in New York. © 2013