Ditching the trend – An opinion about minimalism
So after last week’s big bombshell confession, I guess that this is another one, and things are about to get controversial! Before leaving on our sabbatical, I found myself in a bit of a schizophrenic frenzy. I recently left the wedding stationery part of my business behind, and after 3 years of the same look a rebrand was obvious. However, I was stuck and running around in circles while trying to settle on something that felt right.
Any designer that’s ever tried to rebrand his or her own business will know that it’s super difficult, but this time it felt impossible! I set out a time to work on my new design, and got as far as new colours, new fonts and a basic style sheet, but for some reason I was just not bringing it home. I thought it was beautiful, but I really struggled to connect with it. I blamed it on being tired and needing a break.
Now while I was travelling the world I obviously kept thinking about it, and after much introspection the answer just kind of hit me in the face one day. I suddenly realised why my ‘new look’ felt so shallow. I was over-influenced! I was trying to follow a trend and fit in. I was trying to be something that just didn’t come naturally to me, and in the long run it would have been soul-destroying to try and fake it.
Now, before I go too far, please forgive me in advance if someone is about to be really offended.
I was trying to be ‘minimalist’. Or rather, I was trying to be another minimalist. Or even more, I was trying to be another minimalist that looked and sounded exactly like the next one. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, I buy it, and I really truly try to live it, but I still had to realise that minimalism as a philosophy didn’t always translate into neutrals, artistic shadows and using the word ‘authentic’ more than is necessary…
Now in order to bring that statement down to earth after I so boldly put it out there, let’s talk about minimalism. It’s intensely trendy, and people are throwing it around like sweet beige coloured confetti. But what does it really mean?! I read this, and it made sense:
Don’t do anything;
Don’t own anything;
Don’t be anywhere or around anyone;
That you do not love.
And that’s it! If it’s not necessary or if it doesn’t make you feel good, then get rid of it. It’s a lifestyle and an attitude, rather than just a specific aesthetic style or tone of voice. Right? So, am I a minimalist? Yes, I guess I am. I recently gave away literally 50% of everything that I own. I became a vegan, because I didn’t feel like animal products made me feel good or was necessary for optimal well-being. I prefer to buy simple, classic and good quality clothing that will last me a few years. BUT. I also like colour. I like busy patterns from time to time. And I don’t believe that beauty, interest and value can only exist in perfectly sterile places.
Life needs more than what people perceive as minimalism. Because that’s the thing about perceived minimalism, there really isn’t much to it.
Without more visual interpretations of this philosophy, we all run the risk of becoming indistinguishable. It’s the same fonts, it’s the same colours, it’s the same art direction in every image, and it’s impossible to tell one business’s character apart from the other.
I loved looking at these profiles on Instagram, thinking about how beautiful and perfect it all looked. I wanted to create something just like it, so people would look at my business and say the same things. But, after my trip I realised that it’s more important to stay true to yourself and the things that come naturally. Trends will come and go, and people will run after it like sheep, but sometimes it’s necessary to break away in order to get noticed.
So, I know that some people will have big opinions about this, and I would truly love to hear about it and engage. I obviously also know that there’s more than one trend out there, and with my new branding launching at the end of November I can’t say that I wasn’t subjected to inspiration (just like everybody else). So let’s chat about this, I’d love to hear your thoughts!