You’ve Got To Be Kitsching

I was enjoying a coffee the other day with a design student mate of mine who introduced me to what I found to be a very fascinating concept; kitsch design.

Kitsch design, he explained, at its most basic is design that is both useless and almost immediately becomes outdated. Perhaps the most common example is those cheap tacky plastic phone holders. They don’t do anything except hold your phone, even though the desk is perfectly capable of that. Further, three months later every mobile phone on the market is too small to sit properly in the holder.

This is kitsch design. Temporary with no real use that just ends up as land fill.

I asked my mate why kitsch design even existed, and interestingly his answer was, “Marketing”. The ability to make $2 million in two weeks from cheap crappy mobile phone holders means that kitsch design will always exist.

But in a society where we place such importance on long term vision and sustainability, I hope you’re not marketing something kitsch. And if you are, then it’s probably worse than marketing ecstasy to children.

No Comments
  • Julian Cole
    Posted at June 5, 2009 3:57pm, 05 June Reply

    What if Marketing something kitsch will solve world hunger?

    For instance, say that the whole of Africa came up with a really awesome kitsch product that they sell to the richest 10% of the world. The product was so expensive that it helped to feed all the starving families in Africa?

    That sounds like it would be pretty bloody good in my head! Not as bad as selling ecstasy to children!

  • Roxanne
    Posted at June 5, 2009 7:01pm, 05 June Reply

    I agree Zac. This issue of 'waste' in our society really makes me sick.
    Instead of Africa having to create and then sell the rich some dodgy piece of kitsch that will end up in our landfill wouldnt it be amazing to skip that whole 'wasteful' step. That way the rich could just donate some of their disposable income out of the goodness of their hearts. Without wanting anything in return. Wouldn't that be something!

  • Lachy
    Posted at June 9, 2009 2:11pm, 09 June Reply

    that is idealism vs pragmatism. or perhaps communism vs capitalism.

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