As gadgets become more popular, everything starts to get better and somehow, worse. My school’s computer lab has replaced neon iridescent iMacs with nondescript black and gray alternatives. My earbuds sounded better and looked worse. My phones have become smarter, uglier and much more expensive. The rectangle has attacked.
Music is a prime example. We took brittle, heavy tapes, including colorful packaging and album art, and organized them into neat digital files. We have improved the design until it works as efficiently as possible. When it comes to bright and beautiful, I think we missed a turn.
I know about being pink and shrinking, different marketing strategies that promote women to the privilege of worse technology in a pink package. The classic example is Bic for Her Pens debacle, a ballpoint pen that has been marketed to women because it is… glossy and pink. But offering pink as a consumer choice is not misleading or insulting, unless it is the only option and it is definitely not marketed “for women”. In fact, these choices are not offered, in some ways, less included.
Pink is perfect
Everything that is not discriminatory is different from being the same. While smaller companies such as Laura DiCarlo, Crave and Sequin have made progress in hiring marginalized people and creating more inclusive technology, larger companies have somehow failed to get memos. Some monoliths, such as Google, Samsung and Nintendo, have taken steps towards more fun designs. But they are baby steps. Finding good pink gear is so, so hard. Either something isn’t very pink, or it’s not very good.
I’m not stuck in the past. Junes was great at the time, but I don’t want to now; I love my e-reader, and I never want to go back to the days of avoiding headphone splitter or walkman. But when I use a modern computer in my pocket, the beep and beeps of a modem that connects are missing and something else.
When I was 17, I chose tasteful design and never dreamed about careful market analysis. I didn’t crave for infinitely smaller bezels and more refined glasses. When I imagined the future of technology as a child, I wanted more. I envisioned a bright latex bodysuit and compact touchscreen makeup Complete spy. I thought we were all going to go around our clothes in programming clothes like the giant closet, Cher in. Unknown. I imagined my neopets would come into life. I wanted to cover my iPod with RGB LED glass.
I know the height of privilege to complain about what a $ 1,000 phone looks like. But it’s not just about color. It’s about getting tired of choosing between blush, petals or any other kind of pink. It’s about trying to blend into a world that never had you in the first place.