The era of maximalism
And The Nostalgia And Beauty Of Vintage Camper Van Cafes
I have a source request call: I’m currently working on a piece that looks at the history of specialty coffee menu designs through the years. If you’ve been around in the industry for a while (~10+ years) and have some memorable moments/cafes you can point to as a trendsetter, I’d love to hear from you. Especially if you have photos!
The era of maximalism
If you know me–or have seen the inside of my apartment via IG–you know that I love, LOVE, color. Give me all the saturated, bright colors. Fill them with patterns and layer them.
I never got into the Scandinavian trend of minimalism that seemed to run for a decade in cafe design. All-white (pun intended) spaces make me uncomfortable; the bright white walls remind me of the disinfected walls of a hospital. I don’t have any negative associations with hospitals, but I also don’t want to drink my coffee in one.
Not that I invest in design trends, but I do observe the design world. This is why I was excited to read this piece on how more is more and that minimalism is ending. Beyond interior design, I’ve seen the embrace of maximalism reach into colorful graphic design (some might say those IG templates are going too far these days), fashion trends, and social media. Fashion-wise, I’m glad I have more choices than the Everlane-esque long, loose lines in neutral or earth-tone colors.
Social media-wise, maximalism shows up as more colorful photography, brighter design choices, and loud, exuberant voices (written or otherwise). Your brand voice wasn’t that important in the early days of social media. The fact that you were online at all made you stand out. But now? It’s a competition of who has the most unique voice (and I do not mean co-opting AAVE vocabulary).
The accounts I’ve seen succeed the most are the ones run either by corporate social teams with tons of money (i.e., Wendy’s) or very small businesses usually run by the owner (I’ve been enjoying Cafe Cà Phê’s posts) — and the owner has a personality that shows up loudly in the best of ways on social media.
So in this new era of maximalism, I think it’s time to let go of those restraints (within reason and not in an offensive way) on voice and color and design. I want to feel the sarcasm, welcome back the neon, and see all the colorful walls in cafes.
If you’ve been hesitant, take this as a sign to try that trend you’ve been thinking about.
[BYLINE] Where the coffee shop meets the van life.
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What'd you think?
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By Jenn Chen
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