Saturday, 14 June 2008

Make Me Pop (Part 1)

Here's something to which I've been devoting a lot of thought, recently: the notion of feeling like oneself.

What does this mean?

I am an introverted hooligan, and – at one time in my (long and weary) life – I formed the belief that I could not possibly feel any more 'like myself' than when alone. The intrusion of other human beings, after all, causes one to make alterations (however small) to one's "natural" behaviour.

… And some human beings provoke alterations to one's behaviour that are immensely troubling. These are the people whom I would wish to avoid; whom I may, furthermore, consider myself to dislike. But, ultimately, it's perhaps not they whom I dislike. It's my own behaviour and the sensations I experience when in their presence.

But what about the rare human whose presence has the power to make one feel that one's behaviour and characteristics are improved, or thrown into a more flattering light (at least)? Like the perfect frame for a painting, the context given by these people's influence may illuminate and distinguish; may rouse that which is latent.

Designers use the word 'pop' to describe something like this. A colour such as magenta (in the rather arbitrarily googled image to the right) will seem that much bolder, more powerful and present against the right background. Here, black (I think you'll agree, whatever you think of the design itself) does the job admirably.

Pop is good, in design. People notice pop. Pop is, um, popular. And this principle is (to some degree, I suppose) what Andy Warhol et al were taking to its extreme.

A seasoned Art Director might look at the work of a junior designer, perhaps, and advise: "The image is okay, but that colour combination isn't strong enough. You need to look for a background that'll make it pop."

In life, then [he says, in the tone of one settling back into a sumptuously plumped-up metaphor], we're all designers. And we're looking for the people that will make us pop.

[Tune in soon for Part 2, in which the Intellectual Hooligan will Dazzle All and (quite possibly) Sundry with Quotations from Celebrated Poet-Critic Thomas Stearns Eliot! Be Amazed – Or Your Money Back In Full!]

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