Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Minimalist Design

I've been going to some careers fairs and thinking about marketing and advertising recently, and one of the companies that struck me most was M&C Saatchi. Their adverts stood out from everyone else's, as did their slogan 'brutal simplicity of thought'. This reminded me of a blog post by Antrepo (a design consultancy) which featured product packaging redesigned in minimalist fashion. The results are quite striking - in almost every case I prefer a more simplified design to the one that is actually in use, and it made me realise how complex the original designs are.

Of course, there are other issues at play in the packaging and design a company chooses for any particular product - food has to include nutritional information, and brands want to have an identity - but I think there is a lot of room for greater simplicity. If brands want to stand out then simple and beautiful design is one way to do so. I suspect most consumers are so used to being overwhelmed with advertising and marketing information that they don't properly register most of what is presented to them anyway, and a 'brutally simple' minimalist design - at least on the front of the packaging - would actually stand out better than clutter.

On the other hand, I also suspect this contradicts a lot of the advice that major corporations receive. Great design is rare enough that companies such as Apple and Dyson can make it a defining feature of their brands, and charge much greater sums of money as a result.

Destroying Pianos & Modern Musical Culture

I read this rather interesting BBC article on destroying pianos the other day: BBC News - Will your piano end up in the dump? It was fantastic to read something in the mainstream national media dealing with the sociological aspects of music history, as it is so often swept under the carpet and ignored.

The huge demand for pianos at the turn of the twentieth century is a significant point in the history of amateur music making, which goes back to the second half of the eighteenth century, when pianos were first manufactured in London. I've been doing some reading on this recently for my Keyboard Sonata essays, and it's fascinating how many aspects of our current musical culture can be traced back to some key developments around 250 years ago, such as the beginnings of public concerts, the development of the musical canon, and the appearance of a divide between popular and classical music.

The current move to digital music consumption and production is the next big shift in our musical culture, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years. I suspect that it will be rather less than 100 years before today's digital keyboards become obsolete.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Media News

This is just a quick post to say that I've decided to cover a slightly more diverse range of topics in the future. I've had to take a slight break from this blog in the last few weeks because of work commitments, and in the meantime I've realised that I want to include more about my interest in technology and other forms of media. I'll still be mainly writing about music, but there will be more posts on other topics as well. I'm going to use this blog still, rather than creating a new one, for the sake of convenience. There should be some more posts on the way in the very near future!