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The Death Spiral of Modern Corporate Art

The Death Spiral of Modern Corporate Art

In 1921 William Beebe, an American explorer, published a book titled "Edge of the Jungle". In this book he describes his discovery of what is now known as an ant mill or death spiral, a phenomenon in which a trail of ants gets looped back on itself, forming a continuous circle. The ants, simply following the pheromone trail produced by the ants in front, will walk in a circle until their eventual death.

It is in this situation that we find the state of corporate art today.

An artistic view on art and the corporate view
The Death Spiral of Modern Corporate Art

I'm not talking about the mass produced prints of generic paintings you find in hotel rooms, I'm talking about the graphical characters used most commonly on the websites of companies like Facebook, Google, Vimeo, and others.The style crept into existence in the early 2010s, but didn't take off in a big way until 2017 when an agency designed an art style for Facebook that they called "Alegria", saying "We designed and built a scalable system rooted in flat, minimal, geometric shapes. The figures are abstracted — oversized limbs and non-representational skin colors help them instantly achieve a universal feel."

While it may indeed be scalable and universal, it definitely comes across as impersonal, lazy, tasteless and tone-deaf. Once a couple of high profile companies adopted a similar style, many others jumped on the bandwagon. I was expecting the trend to die out years ago due to it's near universal rejection by ordinary people, but it would appear that we've reached a death spiral where every company tries to follow the trends of every other company until they all have the same stale, impersonal corporate image. I know I'm not the only one who feels repulsed upon seeing art in this style. Now that Alegria or styles like it have taken root, to try anything else could be considered risky. Until enough high profile companies take that perceived risk, I anticipate us being stuck where we've been for the last 10 years.

-Aaron Amort

In house Video Editor at Victory Studios
Aaron Amort

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