So the other day I was driving home and listening to NPR, and there was a story about the misuse and overuse of the word “MODERN” on design shows on television.
“Modern and contemporary can — and do — mean the same thing, of course. But in the world of art and design, “modern” means Kandinsky or Picasso, Schoenberg or Stravinsky. It means daring experimental writers such as Ezra Pound or Gertrude Stein. It means Frank Lloyd Wright sweeping out the overstuffed and fusty in favor of long, clean lines.”
Reality TV’s Thoroughly ‘Modern’ Mistakes
by NEDA ULABY
This story reminded me of one of my pet peeves. I may have mentioned this a time or two before, but here goes.
I can not stand when designers (or anyone) use the word “SIMPLISTIC” when they mean simple, clean, minimal, etc.
Simplistic is a negative term meaning overly simple, or simplified “to a degree where important details are lost.” - wiktionary.org
Anybody else have any words or terms they hear/see misused that frustrate them?
There is no doubt simple can be loaded, or have a negative implication, but I do not see it as INHERENTLY
flawed or wrong as with the misuse of of simplistic outlined above as the negative implications derive
from the fact that the word simple has multiple definitions of which SOME are imply the negative, where
as with simplistic there is ONLY the negative.
Yes! a fellow language curmudgeon. I feel your frustration, when I hear words misused- and by people who say that language is flexible and that syntax and meaning change with time (it might be, but seems lazy to me)
My biggest pet peeve is when 'Big’ or ‘small’ is used instead of more descriptive words such as tall/short or wide/thin or voluminous -particularly important if someone is describing how they want a design changed.
And I hate it when the following words get mixed up (in a written brief for example), potentially setting you up for disaster: ‘Concave’ and ‘convex’ ‘LED’ and ‘LCD’ ‘embossed’ and ‘debossed’
And these get just plain abused: ‘Cubist’ -sometimes used to describe something…square
'form follows function’ -not only is this an overused phrase but it usually gets used to describe ‘utilitarian’ rather than its original meaning.
'just a quick beer’ when they mean a pub crawl…
When people describe an experience as ‘surreal’ when they mean ‘unreal’ or ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’. To me a ‘surreal’ experience would involve melting clocks.
Other peeves include confusing ‘affect’ and ‘effect’, making media plural (i.e. “mixed medias”) and putting the letter ‘i’ infront of something to give it an air of technological sophistication- witness the debacle of ‘Vegemite iSnack2.0’:
One of my biggest pet peeves lately is the phrase “dumb it down.”
So, if I were presenting to intelligent people I’d want to make it wordy, three times longer, and boring with no imagery? Anyone, no matter their intelligence, can understand and be captivated by a good, concise, visual story.
With regards to ‘modern,’ I didn’t really understand what that meant until last year even. I love on Psych when Tim Curry guest stars on the American Idol spoof, after the horrible skit, he praises it as “post-post-post modern!”
This conversation makes me chuckle. Back when I lived in NYC, it drove me crazy when people misused the term “minimalist”, which I always interpreted to mean “stripped down to the most basic elements, generally based on a grid”.
Those days are long gone for me now that I’m living in a mountain town of 80,000 people without a university, where most people don’t seem to have any post-secondary education. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone drop the term “minimalist” in all three years I’ve been here. Sigh…
How about the hot topic of moment: Design Thinking, or methodologies that give managers an excuse to wear black and thick framed glasses and play mood music while developing new and better solutions to new problems. As opposed to before when they had to wear suits and play golf and develop new and better solutions to new problems.
Some of my favorites (by favorites I mean most hated) include designer use of ‘utilize’ instead of ‘use’ - how many copywriters do you see over-using the word utilize when use works just fine. Chances are that the offending designer likes to ‘utilitize’ as well and turn lots of words into their ‘fancimitized’ downgrades…