An Undergraduate Thesis Presentation

Web Brutalism

Ideas of standardization and universality are a cornerstone of user experience design. UX is an implement of capitalism—it aims to transform design into a standardized and universal tool, prioritizing usability and efficiency in order to make products mass-marketable and profitable. The banality and frivolity of the current trends in web design are condescending; they avoid controversy, they completely sacrifice tone and opinion in favor of universality.

Web brutalism is a reactionary design movement realized over the past couple of years. It utilizes aloofness, irreverence, apathy, and irony in order to rebel against and critique the triteness and monotony of the current trends in web design.

As a profession, we need to distill what others are doing in order to oppose monotony and understand the purpose and ideals behind reactionary aesthetic and contextual decisions. In a time where standards such as iOS and Material Design begin to become more powerful, precise, and popular, the threat of a standardized web becomes increasingly real. When the web is at risk of becoming standardized and templated, can reactionary aesthetics and ideals maintain an open and diverse internet?