Have you seen Hipster Branding? It’s a neat little tumblr (only 21 posts as of now) that reimagines the logos of well-known companies under the tagline Holding up a mirror to the artsy community. Frankly, a couple of them are pretty uninspired and derivative (it’s parody, after all), but a couple stand out as pretty inspired. Here’s a sampling:
Have you noticed the shift to cleaner, simpler branding lately? To branding that enhances the story instead of shouting LOOK AT ME! like everything we try to forget about the 1990s? I think it’s nice. There are a lot of people more concerned more with aesthetics and narrative than grabbing your attention at all cost and that’s amazing.
Here’s the thing.
I know it’s in jest, but it just rubs me the wrong way that this cool little project is called Hipster Branding. I’m really surprised to see this whole “hipster” thing still breathing. I was at a conference last week where one of the speakers was talking about how anthropologists used to measure cultural trends in thousands of years and then by the century. After that, it was the generation and now…Now we’re measuring cultural shifts every five years or so.
Contemporary hipster culture has certainly traversed that 5-year hill and is on the decline, but it won’t let go.
A 2011 New York Times article explained that the halcyon of the hipster era was reached in the 2000s during the time of the housing bubble. A New York Magazine article showed that following the late 2000s recession signs of a backlash began to emerge, with many, including the CEO of American Apparel declaring the hipster was “of a certain era” and “dead.” The article also states, “The hipster moment did not produce artists, but tattoo artists. It did not yield a great literature, but it made good use of fonts. – Wikipedia
The problem as I see it is that a lot of really great macro cultural shifts away from the maladies of the 20th Century have been associated with Hipster culture and, as it follows, may fade with them. Take this from Portlandia:
Yeah, yeah – I’m gonna dig it because it references straight razors. But to a bigger point:
Remember in the 1890’s when the economy was in a tailspin…unwashed young men roamed the streets looking for work and people turned their backs on huge corporate monopolies and supported local businesses?
Are we really going to pin this tail on the Hipster donkey? Is the idea of buying local or the 3/50 project or of communicating your message clearly (without shouting) a hipster ideal that will fade just as fast as waxed moustaches and granny glasses?
I sure hope not.