Cool Has No Law
I intend to be cool
Although, I think being cool is like being a celebrity: If you have to say it, it probably ain't true. Being cool, though, does not just mean being popular: it can mean cold, awesome, interesting, quirky, inspiring, exhilarating, disinterested, bad, calm, wonderful.
So what is information cool?
It comes from The Laws of Cool (2004) by Alan Lui. He was writing about something that had been going on for a while in the media industry.
People were starting to realise that format really affects how people take on information.
This affects all mediums (media), especially the Internet.
I really don’t like Dirt Style.
When I first used the internet in the mid 90s I thought it was really tacky and 'uncool' so I avoided it. I preferred books and magazines because they were printed, tangible, and more beautiful.
Neopets ↑ just didn't reach the high standards set by video games and presentation of sites was often dreary, hard to access and plain. A reaction against this kind of over-animated, fluorescent, Hello Kitty-style design is evident in closed source devices like Apple products. I think open source is great for bloggers and techies, but confusing and off-putting for the average user. The success of Apple (I promise I don't work for them!) is due to the fact they've made simple products which any person can use intuitively. I suppose in a really abstract sense this blog should be similar because it is trying to condense the clutter of the media.
I think as the simple aesthetic of the internet improves people have been drawn to it. Kind of like why the iPod was more popular than other Mp3 players.
Compare the pair:
1) Normal Mp3 Player Asymmetrical design does not fit well with the minimalist trend in today's technology 2) iPod Epitomises anti-design and intuitive technology
This is what Lui means by information cool.
There is a 'struggle' between the music and the device, highlighting that the listener's experience is influenced by the the aesthetics of the music player. This means that presenting information in an unordinary way might mean the reader keeps reading even if they would turn away from the same information presented in a different format. Like McLuhan said, the medium is the message. And in this case, it is not just the blog, or its content, but the way it presents itself and the content that will distinguish it.
The Guardian newspaper in London has hired Michael Robinson to do their graphic design. He is responsible for presenting the information in a way that grabs people's attention while not distracting them from the facts. I think this is an important part of cool. While cool competes with knowledge, it does not defeat it, but makes it more interesting, more cool. Robinson turns information like carbon dioxide output per country into a striking graph that you want to cut out and keep for art's sake:
You have to be able to follow the story but at the same time be interested by the form it takes. Similarly, news and blogging today is not just about opinion. Presentation of information is integral.
In an interview with Grafik Magazine, Robinson said thatdesign should be comfortable, un-intimidating, and easy to understand.Design is a "visual language" - that is, more than just regurgitating facts.I think this technique is worth more than complementing your story/blog with with pictures and YouTube videos, because it helps people to understand the message without being confronted by it. It is 'cool' because the design makes it easier to digest, more interesting, and more engaging.
Geert Lovink spoke to Alan Lui about exactly what he meant by his definition of cool. Lui says it is beingslightly rebellious, kooky, a little subversive, but not to the extreme where you are downright anarchic.
It is the subtle challenge to the system. Lui says: "There is no “producer” today in any realm (scholarship, the film industry, the technology industry, journalism, you name it) who is not first of all a prolific and creative “reader.”
With my niche topic I don't want to just be another news source or opinion writer. The blog should present the same information in a new way. Like looking at a painting from a different angle, listening to a song when you are drunk, dancing late at night, perspective in a story can alter how people make up their minds. ---The Header--- is just an experiment to see what I could make. It's kind of obvious what it means: all the clutter implies that there is so much media out there, even just in Melbourne, so there is always a second opinion. This blog, as much as possible, will try to distil the noise into something meaningful, something...dare I say...cool? I've tried to avoid too many widgets because they can often be annoying or confusing. That said, I will always annoy readers with freaky paragraph spacing because it makes you move your eyes while staring at a computer screen!
This art is from infosthetics.com. It is cool. Can you guess what it is? Answer: A map of mouse movements from a single computer over a long time.I drew inspiration from some wicked sites and magazines: http://infosthetics.com/ turns boring information into art http://www.grafikmag.com/ is the mag of choice for graphic designersAdvertisements