As a senior in college, I’m now more than ever aware of various stressors Millennials and Generation Z experience. There’s the pressure to pay off college debt. There’s the pressure to find a high-paying job. There’s the pressure to buy a big home with a walk in closet and to fill it with as much stuff as possible because that’s how the generations prior to us measured success. There’s the pressure to put one’s life on display, and to appear as busy as possible for some invisible audience. What many people don’t realize is that there’s an alternative lifestyle that can take away some of this stress. That’s where minimalism comes in. Minimalism is a lifestyle concerning the elimination of physical and mental clutter so that one can live one’s best life possible, and potentially feel calmer and happier on a daily basis. Because I feel that minimalism can be beneficial but that it is often misunderstood, I will create a Minimalist Myth-Busting mini-mag in which I describe minimalist myths and state my interpretation of the true minimalist ideology associated with it.
Because I’ve never created a minimalist mini-mag on the topic of minimalism, it will be beneficial to compare and contrast what other people are doing that is similar. I want to create a lifestyle guide that is comparable to a virtual magazine; it will be highly graphic, but also have a good amount of text, and be a multi-paged. For the sake of analysis, below are two graphics I will compare and contrast that will help me further conceptualize how I will go about completing my project
The graphic on the left contains bold, black text against a marble background. The content of this graphic encourages one to complete various tasks that are often associated with minimalism in order to convince audiences to try the lifestyle. The graphic on the right is a minimalist quote overlaid on a picture of someone relaxing. In my opinion, this is more effective than the graphic on the left because it is slightly more informative, and attempts to persuade its audience through the inconspicuous use of pathos. Although it doesn’t cover the entire meaning of minimalism and does not provide concrete examples of how to achieve it, it still provides more context than the first graphic. Furthermore, the design is much more appealing. Because the first graphic is labeled as being a minimalist challenge, one assumes that the challenge is congruent with the minimalist lifestyle. However, the graphic fails to describe the values behind the lifestyle and in doing so may perpetuate several minimalist myths that I intend to debunk in my project. For example, one of the challenges listed is to “ditch makeup for the day.” By reading this, one may assume that minimalists don’t wear makeup. In the case of other media I’ve discovered in which people try minimalism for a period of time, others assume this too. However, this is a misconception. Minimalists can wear makeup and often do; most just don’t have bags and bags of makeup and tools that they don’t actually use. The graphic on the left also fails to be persuasive by lacking ethos, pathos, and logos, and because the actual design of the piece isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps the varying levels of persuasiveness between graphics indicates that the audience of the graphic with the quote is people who either know nothing about minimalism, or know a bit and need convincing while the audience of the other graphic is people who are already knowledgeable of minimalism and willing to give the lifestyle a shot.
Finally, in the graphic with the photo of the girl and the quote, the visual elements and the written text work together to create a cohesive piece. Whereas, in the 30 day challenge graphic, the text and the background do not work together to successfully convey meaning. The important thing to note is that both graphics attempted to use both a purely visual element and text, so this is something that I will have to do for my project as well.
The project will be a lifestyle guide in the form of a PDF that one can access digitally via my website. I intend for the design of each page to be akin to that of a page cut from a magazine; it will combine words and images in a visually appealing way. Keeping the attention span of my audience in mind, the guide will not be too long, and it will not contain an overwhelming amount of words. I will have a minimalist myth at the top of the page, a related hero image somewhere in the middle, and a brief description debunking this myth at the bottom. This design will be effective because it will educate audiences about minimalism while allowing them to explore the lifestyle at their own pace, and to ignore the information that they already know. This is different from a video or a podcast where one is forced to watch or listen to everything the speaker has to say whether or not they want to hear it, and at a rhetorical velocity that may not work best for them.
Center of Gravity
The primary claim that I will be making in my multimodal project is that once one learns the truth behind minimalist myths, one can understand that it is a beneficial lifestyle. Audiences should react favorably to this because it is human nature to constantly look for ways to be happier and less stressed. Also, many people my age and slightly older are discovering that the lifestyles that their parents and grandparents had aren’t achievable for them, or that they don’t want them. My project will provide these Millennials and members of Generation Z with the information that they need to know about minimalism so that they can decide if this alternative lifestyle is right for them.
After learning about minimalism from The Minimalists blog, Youtube channel, and documentary, and by analyzing social media deemed “minimalist” I feel comfortable discussing the topic without more heavily researching it. However, I will re-watch Youtube videos related to minimalism located on my Storify page and refer to The Minimalists blog just to make sure that I’m being as accurate as possible with my portrayal of minimalism. I will also consult with friends, family, and Mr. Google in order to find minimalist myths to include in my guide.
Once I have brainstormed ideas, I am going to need to create a draft of the written text, photograph images that match the idea being conveyed, edit these photographs (probably using Photoshop), and compose them into a graphically pleasing style and arrangement using Canva.com before uploading the project to my WordPress site.
Culture Trip. (2017, January 27.) 30 Day Minimalist Challenge [Infographic]. https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/articles/the-30-day-minimalism-challenge/?utm_content=buffer21c61&utm_medium=pinterest&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=buffer
NoSideBar. (N.D). Untitled [Pinterest Post]. Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/184295809734855913/
Header image taken by Me