The neon trend has been around for a while and it looks like it’s staying. It’s visually stimulating on a screen as well as in the physical world, which makes it into a trend both in graphic design and interior architecture. Letters written in neon light has a much more millennial touch than the interior letters (the HOME-letters placed in a, not surprisingly: home). Whether if it’s the effect of light (in web design) or physical it all comes down to human senses. Light makes a significant and at times hard contrast to the background and moves our eyes as if it was magnetism. Add that thought to the fact that it’s concentrated light and also neon colored. However, the concept of the neon light effect has extended throughout considering neon as a color group isn’t always suitable to the specific brand it’s going to represent or the interior architecture etc. Lit up letters in more calm colors are therefore a safe choice. The contrast light makes in this case will not fade away, just the shock effect of neon. In a combination with lit up letters and graphics I’ve noticed more honest and original words and lines compared to letters without light. Just as if lit up elements were an exception from the unwritten rules of sharing unfiltered thoughts and viewpoint in a public space. Those statements make it to social media, which makes it go viral easier. It’s the cliche of the year but the society seems to be in a need of more unspoken words being spoken considering social media, generally speaking, being filtered to the bone. Neon signs are in many ways misfitting objects, meaning they in the first place might not really fit into the given space. It’s a certain misfit, you can tell that it’s done on purpose, which makes it fit. The neon lights were well represented throughout the Junipero-episode from the Black Mirror series, which yet again emphasize how well it looks in spaces. No matter if the spaces makes it to scenopgraphy or just real life surroundings.
Japan is always ahead of its own century, whether if it’s technology or concept stores. Bally café is a part of the fashion company Bally, and is a combination store of café and retail. This combination is not in any way new due to the online retail running over the physical stores. To make the rent of an expensive address more profitable as well as actually go surplus, it’s strategically wise to add more of a public space (as a café) into the mixture. This results in more people visiting no matter how slim or thick their wallets are. The more people occupying a space the more popular it looks. It’s our subconscious telling us that a store or restaurant is either shit or too expensive if it’s virtually empty.
Neon is used in an eye catching yet informal way, and does not make a reference to how expensive the brand really is. The brand’s graphics have a hand drawn touch to it which makes room for a playfulness. On the other hand, luxurious brands have in general welcomed neon light(s) into their spaces. It might concern the concept of being trendy and up to date, but it might also concern the approach of being more cool. Which is the consequence of the streets almost taking over the real catwalks.
Graphic design is a field in this context worth mentioning because physical neon lights in the objects of fonts is: graphic design. Not pure decoration. At the very same time neon lights have made its mark on digital design as well, using the tools of Adobe and not physical LED and steel. The eye of a designer can tell that it’s done digital and not pictures of physical objects, but it’s still the same expression with the same vibe. The earlier centuries always appear in the current present when it comes to trends, but at the other side technology’s not a theme the 21st century can drag from the 50s or 60s. Sure the past is the reason for the development of today, but LED is concerning this century. Who knows, the light of today might be the inspiration of a trend in 2070.
Header image: Bally café, Ginza. Photo credit: Coma-Chi/Instagram