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June 5th, 2023

Georgie

Chaos, refined.

In Part One of this series, we take a look into how Maximalism emerged centuries ago and why the style has filtered into everyday life over the past few months.

As a response to the Minimalist movement of the early 2010s, Maximalism celebrates excess, colour, and boldness in all aspects of life. From fashion to home décor, Maximalism encourages individuals to embrace their unique tastes and express themselves through vibrant and eclectic designs. In this area of individualism and self-expression, Maximalism provides a refreshing departure from the muted and uniform aesthetics of the past decade.

The beginnings of Maximalism

Maximalism isn’t confined to, nor does it encompass one genre or era, it is an amalgamation of aesthetics over the years which, much like Maximalism prints and patterns themselves, is what adds to the charm of its brazen style.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Baroque movement dominated Europe with its powerful statements and oversized characteristics which then gave way to the softer, yet equally bold and ornate, Rococo, followed by Neoclassicism, a movement influenced by current global events. Whilst all of these movements fall under the umbrella of Maximalism with their alternative and more-is-more approach to design, it was not until the mid-19th century when the Maximalism look was fully achieved by the process of mixing art and objects from various eras and cultures.

Today, the real power of Maximalism as a decorative and purpose-driven statement is about having the attitude of pouring on, rather than editing, whilst not just simply adding stuff for stuff’s sake.

Why now?

Gen Z are influencing design in real-time as brands look to align themselves with this fast-emerging market. These digital natives are growing up in a world where information is readily available, and design is all around them, both online and offline. They are known for their unique and diverse tastes, and they are seeking our new ways to express themselves.

Resonating with the consumer.

In this content, Maximalism resonates with Gen Z for four key reasons:

1) SELF EXPRESSION

Post-lockdown Maximalism allows Gen Z to express themselves boldly through experimenting with various colours, patterns, and textures, reflecting their personality and style. Covid presented us with time, in excess, to reflect and reinvent. For many this way the perfect opportunity to experiment with self-expression. For some, it was about learning something new, others it was dying their hair, or refashioning their style. As a result, the bigger, the brighter, the better, in all aspects of life!

 

2) REJECT MINIMALISM

Some say the rise of Maximalism is a battle between Gen Z’s and Millennials, others say it’s a response to the pandemic. But many suggest Maximalism is a rejection of the past decade’s dominant design trend of Minimalism which Gen Z find sterile and boring. Maximalism offers a bold and eclectic alternative that is more vibrant and exciting and with so much colour, print and design possibilities available to us, why be minimal.

 

3) SOCIAL MEDIA

Gen Z’s are heavily influenced by platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, where Maximalist design inspiration is abundant. They are inspired by the creativity and uniqueness of Maximalist design, incorporating it into their own spaces. TikTok, as we all know, has taken over the social media world and offers another realm for Maximalism to thrive in. With the introduction of Maximalism influencers and the #sadbeigemum trend going viral, Maximalism becomes increasingly more accessible and achievable, and less of a style fad.

 

4) SUSTAINABILITY

With the state of planet being at the forefront of our minds and this generation not only being more interested and involved in political, social and environment issues but, more importantly, wanting to have more of voice and make a change, Gen z’s are looking for new ways to enjoy aspects like fashion – the second biggest polluter. The way forward is reducing and reusing. The maximalism trend allows Gen Z’s to incorporate vintage and second-hand items into their lives, giving them a new purpose and reducing waste.

In June, we touch on into Maximalism’s roots, explore what design choices define Maximalism, analyse Maximalism in graphic and retail design and finally, outline the current drivers that are influencing this movement in 2023.

 

Part One – Maximalism: What’s The Trend? (You are here)

Part Two – Maximalism: The Toolkit (coming soon)

Part Three – Maximalism in Retail (coming soon)

Part Four – Maximalism in Graphic Design (coming soon)

Part Five – Maximalism: Drivers for change (coming soon)

 

We are a retail design agency that understands the importance of responding to the future of retail and keeping up-to-date with the latest physical and digital trends to create best-in-class brand experiences and customer journeys.

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Every trend has an opposite, a counterpart that is its antithesis, and these ‘design dualities’ is precisely what our latest insight report explores. Delving into these dualities is not merely about style; it’s decoding the unspoken conversation of fractured communities, seeking pathways for bridge building through forms that reflect our division. Request the report!