Our first installment of this column really seems to have struck a chord—or maybe a nerve?—after it debuted last week. We’ve noticed a sharp uptick in tweets about Design Twitter. Yes, it’s all very meta, but it left us wondering: Did you really not already know about Design Twitter? Or are we doing the middle school thing where we’re acting all shruggy and nonchalant even though we’re so self-aware that we’re practically buzzing on the inside? Like, ohhhhh, this tweet? This lil’ thing I wrote about fonts that’s all pointed and wry and will make a handful of people chuckle at the same time that it completely destroys someone else? Oh yeah, I guess that’s, like, a thing.
ok i’ll bite. who is design twitter?
— Bhoka ✨ (@boop) October 18, 2019
Who is Design Twitter, you’d like to know? Is it all of us or none of us? Is it a smoothie made of the blended tweets from trolls and the “design elite” alike? Is the takedowns and the overblown statements of gratitude, all coexisting in one toxic cocktail? Or is it:
not a designer. I assume it’s you and like 3 of your friends, and then some asshole and like 2 of his asshole friends
— Jordan Scales (@jdan) October 18, 2019
Or we can just act like we’re not all doing what we’re all doing:
no one is a part of design twitter when they talk about it but everyone is a part of design twitter when they’re not
— Justin MezzHELL 🦇 (@JustinMezzell) October 18, 2019
First rule of design Twitter is you don’t talk about design Twitter.
— Anthony Fonte (@amfonte) October 18, 2019
Well too bad! We’re talking about it! And we know one group that’s really excited (maybe too excited?) about it:
— Twitter Design (@TwitterDesign) October 18, 2019
Now that we’re (a little) clearer on who Design Twitter actually is, let’s get to what Design Twitter had to say this week…
Conservative Party using club music sounds, aesthetic and language to try and gather support for Brexit. Told you it would get stranger. Buckle up. https://t.co/cbf07ty6XH
— Mat Dryhurst (@matdryhurst) October 22, 2019
When the UK’s conservative party posted an embarrassing pro-Brexit clip that looks and sounds exactly like a trendy party promo, Design Twitter and Music Twitter came together to call out the blatant BS.
18 year old graphics student in 1994 tries to imitate Saul Bass for a short video that desperately tries to warn kids about the dangers of going to a “rave”. https://t.co/K2ScSDhbUw
— Richard Littler (@richard_littler) October 22, 2019
Many of the design style’s greatest players and originators chimed in: Hassan Rahim noted the typeface in the Conservatives’ clip is bizarrely similar to the one he created for LuckyMe and Jacques Greene’s debut album, Feel Infinite.
honestly i’m not the one to give 2 sh*ts about getting ripped or copied, you’ll never see me call anyone out. even big agencies cause they corny anyways. i’m usually amused.
but sometimes it’s just… dark!
— out getting rims (@hassanrahim) October 22, 2019
David Rudnick’s response said it all:
— ཊལབསརངཧ (@David_Rudnick) October 22, 2019
And Metahaven reminded everyone that the Conservative party’s hijacking of countercultural aesthetics is nothing new:
they’ve been there before though as per 2010’s “big society” pic.twitter.com/PSZX4v6sTJ
— Metahaven (@mthvn) October 22, 2019
The Conservatives responded to the heat by opting for the oldest, most tired trick in the book… the ’ol Comic Sans gag:
— Conservatives (@Conservatives) October 22, 2019
But we should be careful and not simply roll our eyes—what seems like blundering foolishness is indeed carefully planned. It’s not just a coincidence or a new design intern that has spurred the recent posts. Conservatives have brought in a new PR firm known for its shoddy “boomer memes” that resonate with many voters. Retweeting its trendy clip (even while criticizing it) is probably precisely part of the party’s plan: designers with large followings disperse pro-Brexit graphics to young, creative audiences that wouldn’t otherwise see them. Looks like it’s time for us all to reread Metahaven’s Can Jokes Bring Down Governments?
But before you hop off Twitter to start reading an actual book, maybe check out one tweet that we found pretty helpful. Carly Ayres is very good at harnessing the collective energy of the platform into one, crowdsourced mega-thread. This week she did it for design jobs—those looking for one, and those looking to hire for one. If you fall into either of those categories, it’s a good, real-time resource:
💼 Job tweet! Got a few recent requests for folks looking for ~* junior brand designers *~ as well as those on the hunt. If you have a job or are seeking one, please respond to this tweet with the posting or your portfolio — thanks!
— Carly Ayres (@carlyayres) October 18, 2019
And while we’re at it, here’s another good job resource thread courtesy of, yes, Design Twitter.
Hey DESIGNTWITTER (if that’s really a thing): if I have an existing portfolio site that I wish to make dynamic (with as intuitive a CMS as possible) to whom—or to what—should I talk?
— kelli anderson (@kellianderson) October 19, 2019
There are tons of examples of this kind of open reference-sharing on Twitter, and it can be a truly useful tool for breaking down the barriers to entry into the design profession.
It can also just make us lol:
Every magazine on earth looks like a 30lb. independent London fashion biannual with an 80%-volunteer staff now pic.twitter.com/myyH2KuEFN
— Matthew Schneier (@MatthewSchneier) October 18, 2019
That’s it for this week’s edition. We’ll leave you with this special nugget of Design Twitter to carry with you until next time. (And remember you can always find us in the feed at @AIGAeyeondesign.
— Maxim Leyzerovich (@round) October 19, 2019