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Asylum’s “Utterubbish” vs Brand New School’s “Sharwood’s”

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This is the design used by Asylum in a Singaporean Design Festival. It is called Utterubbish and, as the name implies, it is focused on the theme of recycling. What is interesting is how minimalist the design is. If anything, while the colors are bright and the logo attention-grabbing, the design is so simple, with an almost Occidental feel. That aside, the clean, polished spartan look fits with the theme without being too anvilicious about its theme (something that most environmental-themed projects have an unfortunate tendency to do). bnsChinese

This design, on the other hand, is from Sharwood’s. The design was concocted by Brand New School and it is a curious one on account of the “Orientalism” flavor to it. It didn’t just appropriate an “Eastern” style from one country, but rather it’s an over-the-top mix  of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc… aesthetics mashed up together to make one odd “globalized Eastern Look.” The odd thing about it is that I don’t feel any offense at this appropriation BECAUSE of how over the top it is. It’s practically a parody of what people think the “Eastern aesthetic”/Orientalism is (nevermind that there is no such thing as a global “East” as a whole culture, considering that all of the countries’ cultures have little to nothing in common with each other and some of them have opposing philosophies, but I digress). It somehow catches the eye, has a distinct aesthetic with an actually pretty design, and somehow manages to not be offensive at the appropriatization. Now that is what I call a risky design somehow winning against the odds.