The Aesthetics of Control
Markets and needs are constantly changing, the want for new things is getting more immediate with each passing moment. In our trending topics we discuss and evaluate what we see and how we interpret this.
In our current western society food has become abundant, with no necessity to hunt, farm or forage for it as a consumer. We seek other ways to limit our food intake. Food has become a way to define your lifestyle and personality. The late part of the 20th century was defined by fad diets, like Atkins, paleo or macrobiotic eating. Nowadays we seem to have shifted from diets to a more lifestyle centric approach, where people note ‘food’ as their hobby. The rise of the foodie gave shape to a whole culture of celebrity chefs and farmers. Food has to be as authentic and real as possible. Selfies with smoothies populate instagram.
You are what you eat
For a while now we’ve seen foods that are marketed towards wellbeing, things like health bars and cold pressed juices are specifically marketed towards healthy food moments. The next step in this trend is consuming to make yourself better, food as a supplement. The addition of supplements to the body creates a better version of you.
The ‘aesthetic of control’, an aesthetic that glamorizes and shapes control into the most important USP of a product or service. In order for us to explain this topic we have to go back to the rise of the smartphone. Smartphones have a number of complex sensors that led to a shift towards indexing your own life. Counting steps, tracking movement, breathing and meditating with an app became normal with a smartphone. All this new control comes with a new need: food and medicine that are able to react to your statistics. Suddenly we want a precise idea of what we’re going to consume and what effect it will have on us.
Taking inspiration from medication
All this control needs a look and feel. We are currently seeing a movement towards minimal branding and packaging. Clean surfaces that clearly communicate effect, content and data. A clear connection can be made to medicine packaging, where function is the prime objective.
Aesthetic of control in multiple markets
The aesthetic of control is minimal, all about ingredients and enticing in its effect. We see this happening in food, like L.A’s Moon Juice or Blue Bottle with its minimal packaging and cafe’s. But its also happening in cosmetics, where brands like Deceim and Aesop are actively referencing a medicinal communication method.
Blurring of markets
Food as medication, cooks that look like chemists and skincare sold in restaurant like spaces. Currently there is a blur happening in all these markets. Markets that had nothing to do with each other are suddenly inspired by this new need for control. Blue bottle Coffee is being sold in clean and almost clinical spaces and Deceim chooses to make its stores look like restaurants. Will food and skincare be sold next to each other in the future?