is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
The New Look
YouTube is a style now, an aesthetic of its own. It didn’t take very long, but it has lodged itself into our consumer psyche as a recognizable visual, aural and narrative convention. In that sense, it’s a huge and notable success deserving of at least a footnote in media history.
So hurray for democratic authorship, right? Except, as the lightning fast emergence of these television commercials suggest, it’s an aesthetic that has become almost instantaneously co-opted.
Which is to say that the YouTube phenomenon, as entertaining and paradigm-shifting as it might be, is at its core a marketing tool. That’s probably not a revelation to anyone who’s seen how much attention media companies have been paying to YouTube over the past two years. But I still think it’s worth noting that in the Web 2.0, crowdsourcing frontier we’re all so excited about, it takes virtually no effort and no time to turn genuinely exciting social phenomena into just another technique for businesses to sell stuff to us. It’s almost like we’re a research and development laboratory for our own bamboozlement.+