— Log

29 agosto 18

Nothing special

In 2012 K-Hole wrote a paper on young trends. They highlighted three main problems affecting our global and ultramassified panorama:

The details that distinguish you are so small that nobody can tell you’re actually different. Talking about graphic design, Andrew Sloat correctly writes that for most people Standard, Akzidenz, Helvetica or Arial are identical. This text isn’t set in any of the typefaces cited above, but it’s not relevant.

In fact, we’re so special nobody knows what we’re talking about. What’s the point of writing UI/UX between the services offered if it’s a terminology that nobody understands outside our own profession? To elevate ourselves, to seem better than others using a language voluntarily complex.

However, the markers of individuality are so plentiful and regenerate so quickly that it’s impossible to keep up. So all the efforts of those who wanted to be original at all costs, those who wanted to be outside the box, will be thwarted in a few years when what’s considered “edgy” will be way beyond them. As a proof of the speed of this conversation, a known italian fashion magazine seems to have spotted this movement with 6 years of delay.

From the same paper: the flight into individualism, the obsessive pursuit of exclusivity are ways of acting that belong to a past in which people were born in communities, in which individuality wasn’t so strong as to lead to loneliness. Today we are born individuals, and it is our job to look for communities instead of seeking for attention.


Jasper Morrison wrote for an exhibition named Super Normal that there are better ways to design than wasting efforts in making something special. What’s special is usually less useful than the normal, and less rewarding in the long run. Special things require attention for the wrong reasons, interrupting a potentially nice atmosphere with their awkward presence.

Living today, from walking down the street to browsing the Internet, means being constantly interrupted by clumsy and unsuitable graphics.

Popup, jargon, junk mail, sensationalism, begging for likes, marketing spam, unskippable ads, clickbait, QR codes, barely-visible links, autoplaying videos. Brad Frost's list is even more detailed. All desperate attempts by those who want to claim their right to be the only ones to catch our attention.

In response, Norma is nothing special. Ours is a work of honesty, not superficial appearance.

Truth is: due to the fact that the designer’s profession speaks a jargon incomprehensible to most people, colours, fonts and the “creative idea” have no importance. We have unjustly convinced people that the chaotic originality is the yardstick. Yet it’s only by removing anything that can be “beautiful” or “ugly” that the true essence of communication emerges, and unfortunately often nothing emerges at all.

Frank Chimero in commenting Untitled Sans, the typeface used for this article as well, quotes his grandfather: “Not everyone becomes special, but everyone can be useful”. No ostentation, no decoration, no novelties at all costs: when designing we think about how we can help people, we avoid to hide selfishness in fancy words like “branding”.

It’s the Normcore that K-Hole talks about: finding freedom in blending with the surrounding. Camouflaging in what is basic to focus on everything that is actually important. This website has nothing special, it is set as many blogs were in the 90s. But there are some ideas: something that unfortunately can’t be said about many other sites.

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