Isn’t being perfect a bit weird? Well it is for us humans, but for the things we covet and buy a lot of the stuff can possibly be ‘perfectly formed’. Shiny new iPod, shiny new BMW etc etc. That is until you get up to the very high end of things, oddly, where ‘hand made’, ‘craft’ and ‘characterful’ become major selling points. Now words like rustic, antique and crafted replace flawless, pristine and precision made.
Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic which embraces objects of art with imperfections, roughness and asymmetry. It’s a kind of art I liked without even knowing there was a name for it, until now… More than once the Design Reviews blog has discussed eroded, aged, worn, halftoned and other ‘lo-fi’ effects in illustrator and vector graphics in general.
Guitar enthusiasts have been buying into hand-made and artificially aged or ‘reliced’ guitars for quite a while now, look at the picture above. A relic will have quite a premium on the price tag! Just think of how many years you would have to own and play a guitar to make it look that used. Quote: “Fender’s Relic line accounts for more than 12% of its $5 million annual sales.” Another very popular market for aged and worn appearance is clothing; think of faded stonewashed jeans and distressed leather jackets. Of course don’t forget antiques either.
As I noted earlier the Wabi-Sabi idea can be put into your illustration and logo work quite easily now with the modern versions of illustrator which are less about pure lines and shapes than before. There’s a lot of vector tools that can cross over into areas that were once Photoshop only avenues.
I have a couple of other articles planned about Wabi-Sabi style graphics, beauty and design coming up which I think will be very interesting. And I hope to put up some polls for feedback too. Come back next week!