Brian Feeney

Designer & Front-End Developer

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Resident of Brooklyn, NY. Senior Product Designer at the Wall Street Journal.


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August 03, 2016

Cutesy Design

I’m in total agreement with this article deriding the nature of cuteness in so much of the software and products we use today.

“We’re in the middle of a decade of post-dignity design, whose dogma is cuteness. One explanation would be geopolitical: when the perception of instability is elevated, we seek the safety of naptime aesthetics.”

Ben Chestnut pushed this esthetic with Mailchimp, and wrote a book about it. I actually happen to be smitten with Freddie, the company’s mascot, and how he is used in the overall brand. The trend caught on like wildfire, however, and now so many apps feature illustrated animals hidden among the edges.

The popularity of Tumblr, gifs, and emojis has pushed them into the world of marketing. It really does infantilize the world we live in. There are plenty of sad reasons for why my generation feels a little less like the adults we figured we’d be by now. I’d prefer brands refrain from assuming it’s all a joke worth marketing upon.