Art and Design Society Websites

Personal Website Aesthetics

How do personal websites reflect social and aesthetic movements like lowbrow / outsider art, anti-capitalism/corporatism, minimalism?

Getting some quick thoughts on “paper”:

  • is DIY necessary for self-expression online? can templatized designs offer self-expression (e.g. wordpress templates)? or is that too reflective of the aesthetic zeitgeist?
  • does “slickness” and minimalist design inherently feel corporate now? how are corporate brands co-opting “humanity” through design choices? “imperfect / “more human” typography (e.g. type designed for print used online, exposing the bleed wells) becoming more popular recently in corporate design — have noticed it lately on Grist… will we see a rejection of minimalism and shift into maximalist design on personal websites? I feel like I see lots of minimalist personal websites
  • when personal websites are our personal brand how much risk are people willing to take with them? designers and artists want to show personality, but maybe not too much if they’re trying to attract corporate clients? is design staying safe in that realm? I suspect non-designers might be pushing the envelope more on aesthetics, more willing to experiment, though honestly don’t look around at folks’ portfolio websites the way I used to back in the Old Web — how would you do that these days, Smashing Magazine roundups?
  • what’s punk online today? what’s the website equivalent of a zine? the photocopy look or the ethic of throw this up fast and cheap?
  • connection between lowbrow / outsider art and rise of personal design — people have gained the power to design who didn’t have it before, and don’t have training, but want to have fun and express themselves… back in the day, Geocities websites and spinning gifs… did rise of unhindered “outsider” online creation coincide or interact in any way with rise of outsider art and lowbrow in the art world?
  • as anti-work / anti-corporate / anti-capitalist sentiment spreads, how will that change design aesthetics, online and off? will a more handmade look appeal? will craftsmanship return, and what would that look like in web form? (thinking of $$$ letterpress printed books I’ve seen lately)

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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