Designs that rage against minimalism

The delectably unreasonable verbosity of antiquated salesmanship

I noticed this soap bottle at the climbing gym last week.

I see this kind of maximalist, "wordy" aesthetic in a lot of places.

I think I like these designs for the same reason I like the UI in Red Dead Redemption 2. When you walk into a shop, you actually select guns from an old-timey catalogue:

It feels cool to read about the product. I like being pitched. I like being convinced that the product I'm buying is absolutely right for me. It's reassuring. It's like being picked out and directly told: This is for you. I like being told something.

This is also why 60s ads seem so cool now.

Where minimalist products stand alone, maximalist products speak to you. The minimalist product is mute. The maximalist aesthetic is loud and opinionated. Text seems like a key component - instead of a faceless Instagram-friendly commodity, the wordy product is something you have to slow down to experience.

I love the design of this soap bottle that seems to hold both principles: the color and composition is dead simple, but they serve you a delicious manifesto front and center:

Now, I think this trend has peaked if it's being used by random soap companies like the one I found at the gym. There's also a big difference in quality between the kind of generic copy that's on the Newport bottle v. the writing on Pure Grace's soap or in the Sony ad. This aesthetic, like every other, will succumb to laziness and saturation.

But I'm curious what the next resonant aesthetic might be. What salient elements of our culture would it react to? What new values might it draw on? What old aesthetics might it resurrect? What might a cool new soap bottle in 2025 look like?

Let's pick a random decade. Maybe let's go even further back, to the 1700s.

Here's a beautiful piece of advertising.

Maybe add a dash of 2000s design nostalgia:

Let's say that the 2025 aesthetic is reacting to complete disillusionment and trust in all text-based media. It's impossible to tell what's been written by a machine or a human, and so we seek cozy spaces and direct connections with the people we interact with and buy products from.

(Honestly, I have no idea where this is going. I'm going to hit publish and see if I want to pick this up later with some sketches or something.)

Happy New Year!