Are We Obsessed With Aesthetics?by Daniel Scocco
If you have the habit of visiting social bookmarking sites you probably know how popular web design related stories are. Every single day you can find a list with “the best collection of free textures,” “free icon sets,” “examples of stunning typography” and so on.
I do believe that design is an important part of the whole. As the Italian proverb goes, anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte (i.e., the eye wants it’s share too). But after seeing those web design related stories flowing around the web ad nauseam I started wondering whether or not we are obsessed with aesthetics.
The western society in general certainly is, with the fashion industry growing year after year. But my questioning is specific to the Internet society. The netzens, which I like to believe are more sophisticated than the average westerner.
You can find evidence of that obsession for aesthetics everywhere. And bear in mind that I am not pointing fingers here. I have been there myself. I remember back in the day when I was creating my first blogs I used to spend weeks tweaking the design and neglecting the content, as if a beautifully-designed blog would attract more readers than a well-written one. Maybe that is the case?
My reasoning might be biased because I am a functional guy. One of the things I hated the most when working for a multinational company was the necessity to wear a tie. Why? Because I couldn’t find a logical reason behind it. You wear shoes to protect your feet. You wear underwear for hygienic reasons. But why the heck do you wear a tie?
Back to the central question: do you think we are obsessed with aesthetics on the Internet? Wouldn’t it be better if we focused more on the functional aspect of things? I would like to hear what you think, as mine is not an affirmation but rather a wondering.
For the people that only wear or do things that are functional, am I supposed to think that you are all thrift store shoppers? I can’t imagine a hard core thinker of this type would wear anything fashionable as their is no logical reason to spend more than a few dollars at Goodwill on something functional to cover their body,. Also, do these people style their hair daily or just allow it to look as it does when they awake?
Looking good is not for little minds. I agree with the first poster that “it means we respect and value the people we are going to meet” but also that it means that we respect and value ourselves and the society we live in. A blog that has only the defaults and has had no time spent on aesthetics shows me that very little thought has gone into what is being presented or for me as the reader. It also indicates that the poster is either unskilled in the web culture or that they don’t value what THEY have to say very much.
That being said, I do think our obsession with aesthetics has gotten ridiculous. We are the extreme polar opposite of the functional mentality. I agree that the web culture is so driven by aesthetics that we never even consider the functionality or reason for what needs to occur before we start creating eye candy.
The netzens are no longer just a sophisticated bunch, but now represent a good cross section of many of the world’s cultures. I do believe that there is an elite group of netzens which seek to enhance the entire net culture, but unfortunately they seem to be extreme gluttons for aesthetics since that is ultimately what seems to draw the attention of investors. I mean, do we really need to see a cute whale being held up by cute little birds every time there is a problem with Twitter?
Can’t fault them too much for wanting to put some money in their pockets though. It IS the functional reason all of us go to work, right?