Since I’ve been working out the new identity for RDQLUS, I’ve been defining a few new modes of operation and how I go about my work. I’ve been tossing around the idea that to see the all-too cliché ‘big picture’, we often over-shoot the mark and head straight for oatmeal-bland Acceptance Land. In our efforts to become more PC or acceptable on a wider range, we often ignore the fact that culturally we ARE different. As a part of our larger idealistic cultures, we exist—day-to-daily—in spheres of subculture. If the big picture is our mainstream culture, then the smaller, more pointed, more personal 'pixels' in that big picture are our each and every subculture. Subculture is our base station in the larger landscape of life. It’s how and where we define homebase for our expeditions out into the bigger world.
We are all a part of a subculture, maybe even a few of them. If we (especially independent/freelance creatives) design for the subculture links within our clients we stand a better chance of helping them find their place in the bigger picture in a way that breeds success, has lasting effect and adapts to changing needs more organically. The work is defined by path, not niche. Not as “small corner in a big house” but more a interconnected “key-to-lock” --> “lock-to-door” --> “door-to-big-house” lineage. Using subculture as a basis for tapping into clients needs and wants will often get us a step past
I don’t know if this is making any sense but in all the reading and articles I’ve seen, it’s always mentioned as “niche markets” and not so much subculture. As a hip hop-BMX-sneakerhead-fashionisto-style junkie, I know a little bit about how directing a message at a subculture vs. a niche market works better because the market aspect dies with dollars & cents at the end of the day, but subculture resides with us at all times in life.
This thinking easily attached to daily creative work and brings me all the way around full circle to my own personal design motto that “Functional Art Works!” meaning it has a particular and pointed job to to while looking good. So if our art has to be pointed, the overall approach should be as well. Cars don’t go without engines, but they sure as hell don’t roll without wheels! The grand idea of a vehicle is great but the particulars (the tiny “subcultures”) make it move. The grand scheme means nothing without the smaller groups.