When modernization ruins the vibe

Captain

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One of my local malls in 1995ish and today. This modern mall architecture has no soul. I didn't know how lucky we were living in a time when designers could balance neon, modern, and nature. Sigh
 

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macrobyte

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The problem with the modern mall is that it is filled with a bunch of big retailers who want to save money by copy and pasting everything, and eschew having to make something creative or ornamental or unique because then it is less quantifiable and more qualitative. The other thing is that modern malls could look nice, it depends on who looks at it. If someone who enjoys "minimalism" (which I think is bs) looks at the modern mall they would love it, but the person who doesn't like minimalism would hate it.
 

handoferis

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1695515756145.png

Check out this sweet terminal from the early 80s. Loads of cool design features, the keyboard being designed to nuzzle into the screen is really fun, and the general shapes cut by the thing are pretty nice.

Compare that to current hell:
1695515934504.png


I swear to god that this obsession with everything being so small has basically led to things just being the shape of their internal components and there's just not enough room to do anything cool anymore at all. When you mix that in with the prevailing minimalism, everything just seems so austere and lame. If it doesn't need to be moved, it doesn't need to be tiny and light. Hell, I wanna see a modern flatscreen where the stand is just a big fuckoff piece of plastic that grows out the back of it instead of some shitty plastic stick, maybe then I could have something that looks cool on my desk rather than having to trash the stands immediately and put my monitors on arms.
 
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Obake

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One of my local malls in 1995ish and today. This modern mall architecture has no soul. I didn't know how lucky we were living in a time when designers could balance neon, modern, and nature. Sigh
No wonder shopping malls died. I remember loving the mall as a kid, but when I became an adult I hated it. I don't remember what it was like as a kid, but as an adult it was mostly empty.

I think this is an American problem though. Over here in Japan shopping malls remain popular and there's lots of stores. They are quite sanitized though.


View attachment 75621
Check out this sweet terminal from the early 80s. Loads of cool design features, the keyboard being designed to nuzzle into the screen is really fun, and the general shapes cut by the thing are pretty nice.

Compare that to current hell:
View attachment 75622

I swear to god that this obsession with everything being so small has basically led to things just being the shape of their internal components and there's just not enough room to do anything cool anymore at all. When you mix that in with the prevailing minimalism, everything just seems so austere and lame. If it doesn't need to be moved, it doesn't need to be tiny and light. Hell, I wanna see a modern flatscreen where the stand is just a big fuckoff piece of plastic that grows out the back of it instead of some shitty plastic stick, maybe then I could have something that looks cool on my desk rather than having to trash the stands immediately and put my monitors on arms.
I'm unsure of the name for this style, but I love PC's where all of the hardware is built into a mechanical keyboard. Something like an MSX or Commodore 64. Recently I was thinking that when it becomes time to replace my current computer, I would like to build a modern version of something like that, but when I looked into it I couldn't find any shells for sale. I did find one company that made a Commodore 64 shell for modern PC's but literally everything in their shop was sold out so I assume they're done.

I guess I'll contact them and see if they ever plan to restock. If not, maybe I'll put a single board computer into a mechanical keyboard and run Linux on it. I'm not sure what I'd do with it though, since I don't think I would ever use Linux for my main PC.

Everything has to be bright and sterile. It was much cozier when it was darker. Modern minimalism is so cold and lonely.
I miss when electronics came in fun colors.
 
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shinobu

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this obsession
You nailed the term. It almost wasn't gradual at all. There's was a pre-2012 and a post-2012 (maybe post-2015 actually?) where design turned to shit everywhere. All "big" websites adopted the same look, advertising stopped being about putting in effort (I remember watching ads on TV that had great charm in their animations near 2008). Many moved from serif typefaces to sans serif ones. A lot of games have the same user interface (almost nothing, maybe a minimap and some text). Hardware is all following one of a few trends (ultra-thin laptops, phones with notches and no bezels nor headphone jacks, heavy RGB computers, and a few others)
I've read articles like this https://www.avenga.com/magazine/skeuomorphism-neumorphism/ and it's just like reading something from another planet.

here's a quote from the article
Skeuomorphism became very dated [...]
The idea was to create a revolutionary digital-first interface design language for digital natives, getting rid of old physical metaphors.
(he's talking about material design, which looks like a psychopath's user interface)
I could go on, but it's just a matter of decency rather than usability, so I don't know what to do about it.
It feels like everything moved from idiosyncrasy to homogenization, but thankfully we can still find (simulacra of) those older things. They are removed from their original context, almost OOPArts, and oftentimes static rather than alive and changing, but it's better than not having them, at least.
 
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handoferis

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You nailed the term. It almost wasn't gradual at all. There's was a pre-2012 and a post-2012 (maybe post-2015 actually?) where design turned to shit everywhere. All "big" websites adopted the same look, advertising stopped being about putting in effort (I remember watching ads on TV that had great charm in their animations near 2008). Many moved from serif typefaces to sans serif ones. A lot of games have the same user interface (almost nothing, maybe a minimap and some text). Hardware is all following one of a few trends (ultra-thin laptops, phones with notches and no bezels nor headphone jacks, heavy RGB computers, and a few others)
I've read articles like this https://www.avenga.com/magazine/skeuomorphism-neumorphism/ and it's just like reading something from another planet.

here's a quote from the article

(he's talking about material design, which looks like a psychopath's user interface)
I could go on, but it's just a matter of decency rather than usability, so I don't know what to do about it.
It feels like everything moved from idiosyncrasy to homogenization, but thankfully we can still find (simulacra of) those older things. They are removed from their original context, almost OOPArts, and oftentimes static rather than alive and changing, but it's better than not having them, at least.
Honestly I remember being around at the time and being somewhat excited for the flat design thing coming in, especially with some stuff the skeuomorphism had been pushed so far that things were starting to look fucking ridiculous. If I'd known where it would end up though, I don't think I would have been so hyped for it. If nothing else though, I think that a decade of this minimalist stuff has kinda left people not knowing how the fuck to design anything anymore - you can just see things becoming lower and lower-effort, and I wouldn't be entirely surprised if this isn't a result of new "designers" entering the field who've grown up with only this stuff, and thinking that a company's name in Helvetica is the height of design.

My personal recent bugbear in this regard is Apple replacing Mac OS System Preferences with a rebadged version of the iPad settings app that doesn't follow any of their own Human Interface Guidelines and I'm pretty sure that's the fault of newbie designers who don't know any better.
 
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Outer Heaven

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One of my local malls in 1995ish and today. This modern mall architecture has no soul. I didn't know how lucky we were living in a time when designers could balance neon, modern, and nature. Sigh
I find it fascinating the depths of how bad architecture can get because this same comparison can be made with a medieval building vs the 90s mall. Most premodern buildings are more aesthetic and have more soul but things have degraded so much that even the 90s mall is nicer looking than current minimalist malls. The difference is staggering if you see them side by side. At my university, literally everyone I know prefers the traditional designs of our oldest buildings to the concrete and glass garbage buildings made in the 70s or now.
 
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RisingThumb

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being designed to nuzzle into the screen is really fun, and the general shapes cut by the thing are pretty nice.
Except for the cable.
I swear to god that this obsession with everything being so small has basically led to things just being the shape of their internal components and there's just not enough room to do anything cool anymore at all. When you mix that in with the prevailing minimalism, everything just seems so austere and lame.
This isn't entirely true. Mobile phones have increased in size. Handheld gaming consoles have increased in size. These products are being marketed towards a global audience, so you're wanting to go for globally good qualities, not locally good(i.e. within design or within aesthetic communities). Even Laptops if you look at width and height, have moved more to 13" and 15", where before it used to be 11" and 13" "netbooks"(which have become your tablets).
I'm unsure of the name for this style, but I love PC's where all of the hardware is built into a mechanical keyboard. Something like an MSX or Commodore 64. Recently I was thinking that when it becomes time to replace my current computer, I would like to build a modern version of something like that, but when I looked into it I couldn't find any shells for sale. I did find one company that made a Commodore 64 shell for modern PC's but literally everything in their shop was sold out so I assume they're done.

I guess I'll contact them and see if they ever plan to restock. If not, maybe I'll put a single board computer into a mechanical keyboard and run Linux on it. I'm not sure what I'd do with it though, since I don't think I would ever use Linux for my main PC.
This format of PC exists, it's called a laptop. Don't like that it's not headless? Rip off the screen and plug in a display port cable to your monitor. For high computation uses, this is a bad format for a PC as you add thermal considerations to the keyboard. It can't give off heat on the top, or the bottom, only the sides. It has to cable to the monitor, it has to take more peripherals, and it has to be low vibration(meaning most thermal cooling options are off the cards).

That said, for stuff like 9front, Linux and low computation uses, it's practical. See this as an example. If modern software was built not to fill all the available hardware resources, modern software would also be fit for use(but most software developers are bad).
There's was a pre-2012 and a post-2012 (maybe post-2015 actually?) where design turned to shit everywhere.
You're right. It's the natural evolution of finding out what works best from a psychological manipulation point, following from 2007 where social media started going on, 1st gen of Iphones came out, Big Bang Theory(and decay of what memes were happened). I've written about this before, and put 2007 as the year it went bad, but 2012 is probably the point where the frog really felt the boiling water.
It feels like everything moved from idiosyncrasy to homogenization, but thankfully we can still find (simulacra of) those older things. They are removed from their original context, almost OOPArts, and oftentimes static rather than alive and changing, but it's better than not having them, at least.
If a way of doing things becomes homogenised, it also becomes idiosyncratic. This happened in the 90s and 00s with skeumorphic design for OS GUIs being idiosyncratic. As for skeumorphic design becoming dated, it's because the metaphors required context, and that context has dissolved away with technological progress. I.E. The skeumorphic design for a folder, most people don't keep folders. The skeumorphic design for saving, most people don't keep floppy discs. Arguably CDs and DVDs are becoming rare now too. This changing context. Arguably context changes too fast nowadays, that it's better to go do mintrubbing over timeless arguments... like rounded corners vs sharp corners.
 
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Captain

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I find it fascinating the depths of how bad architecture can get because this same comparison can be made with a medieval building vs the 90s mall. Most premodern buildings are more aesthetic and have more soul but things have degraded so much that even the 90s mall is nicer looking than current minimalist malls. The difference is staggering if you see them side by side. At my university, literally everyone I know prefers the traditional designs of our oldest buildings to the concrete and glass garbage buildings made in the 70s or now.
Brutalism was the only glass and concrete building style that looked good and had an aesthetic. Bland flat walls and glass are shit.
 
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alCannium27

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View attachment 75621
Check out this sweet terminal from the early 80s. Loads of cool design features, the keyboard being designed to nuzzle into the screen is really fun, and the general shapes cut by the thing are pretty nice.

Compare that to current hell:
View attachment 75622

I swear to god that this obsession with everything being so small has basically led to things just being the shape of their internal components and there's just not enough room to do anything cool anymore at all. When you mix that in with the prevailing minimalism, everything just seems so austere and lame. If it doesn't need to be moved, it doesn't need to be tiny and light. Hell, I wanna see a modern flatscreen where the stand is just a big fuckoff piece of plastic that grows out the back of it instead of some shitty plastic stick, maybe then I could have something that looks cool on my desk rather than having to trash the stands immediately and put my monitors on arms.
Meh, at least I can put my monitor and my keyboard on a desk without a keyboard drawer, flat screens all the way
 

handoferis

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Until videos are rendered in oval shapes, I'm afraid a sqaure is the most space-efficient shape there is for a monitor screen
I have no idea what you think i'm on about but here's a 2-minute doodle of the kind of thing I imagine when I look at that old terminal and modern flatscreen and try to think of the latter with inspiration from the former. I don't know where you got "oval screen" from.
 

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mesaprotector

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There's some pretty and unique current architecture. I get the complaints of soullessness but, my dude, the whole reason Youtube compilations of abandoned malls are popular is because they're soulless. If you left an Apple Store alone for five years and took photos with the mold growing over the advertisements you'd get some highkey ~~~AESTHETIC~~~ right there. I think aside from the lack of color:
culturaltutor.jpg
(obligatory "color is disappearing" graph attached), architecture is one of the healthiest design disciplines today. Certainly city planning is going in better directions now than it was under Robert Moses in the 40s.

Website design on the other hand I entirely agree. I love simple, functional Web 1.0 stuff and despise shiny Javascript overuse. I never get people who complained about Wikipedia's old look (among other websites) being "dated" and applaud its new design that forces you to scroll endlessly, covers half the screen with whitespace, and hides stuff away in menus for no reason. And even with the new design, Wikipedia is much better than the average modern website. I really learned to hate modern UI once I had a smartphone with strict data limits.
 
Website design on the other hand I entirely agree. I love simple, functional Web 1.0 stuff and despise shiny Javascript overuse. I never get people who complained about Wikipedia's old look (among other websites) being "dated" and applaud its new design that forces you to scroll endlessly, covers half the screen with whitespace, and hides stuff away in menus for no reason. And even with the new design, Wikipedia is much better than the average modern website. I really learned to hate modern UI once I had a smartphone with strict data limits.
 
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who want to save money by copy and pasting everything
soc media and web3 too
but not to save money,
but to (kill innovation) just copy "what works"
 
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