Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Credibility In The Strangest Places

Everybody has their guilty pleasures. Some people are addicted to reality television, some people can eat their weight in ice cream if you don't wrestle the spoon out of their hands. Mine is only slightly less horrible than that; it's memes. Yes, I can admit that I am addicted to memes.

Just in case you've ben living under a rock and have no idea what I'm rambling on about, Urban Dictionary defines that pesky meme as:
1 : an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media)
2 : a pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means; a parasitic code, a virus of the mind especially contagious to children and the impressionable
And what's worse, I know they're not even that funny. In fact, some of the stuff on 9gag and Reddit is so terrible that I cringe when I read it. The internet is truly the only place where the freaks of the world can show their true colours. Much as they shouldn't.

I find the above definitions at once accurate and hilarious. They make memes sound like some kind of predetermined, enlightened and highly researched subject matter that is taken as fact because it should be. Let me tell you that this is not the case. Here's my definition:
an opinion, usually politically incorrect and highly offensive, disguised as a fact or clever quip through use of interesting or humourous imagery 
But the part about "virus of the mind" is certainly true. Now that you definitely know what a meme is, let me get to my point. As a budding graphic designer, I am trained to believe that design can be used as a method of giving credibility to an idea. For example, designing a bright and friendly package for a new cereal on a supermarket shelf in order to entice customers to purchase it instead of their usual cereal. While I know this method to be almost foolproof, many people (especially those not currently holding jobs related to design) do not believe in it as wholeheartedly as me.

I have noticed a phenomenon spreading around the meme websites of the world which only furthers my belief of design's power of persuasion. While there is a specific 'brand guide' (you might say) to each meme, such as using the correct image, typeface, font weight, etc; some crafty people have decided to mix things up a bit by taking these memes a step further.

Disclaimer: I do not necessarily believe in the theories behind these memes, I am only discussing their visual quality.

Unpopular Opinion Puffin (more examples)

Look at all the f***s I give (more examples)

Confession Bear (more examples)

I especially appreciate the Sound of Music change-up, which has Julie Andrews now blocking the offensive word. Not that I am all about censorship or anything like that, I just think it's well done.

Anyway. So because there is attention paid to the layering of the type against the usually flat image, I would argue that more credibility is given to the meme. I would make an educated guess by saying that the usual method one might use to make these memes is through Meme Generator, where literally all you have to do is pick the appropriate meme and type in your text. As far as I know, these people have used Photoshop or some other program thereof to make custom memes. What was their motive? Why did they decide to put so much work into something that they probably understand to be more disposable than an old Kleenex you find in your winter coat? Could it be that they understand the value in design? In every sense and in every realm of the human world? I don't know if I can dream that big. But I can hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment