Every year, in late December, as the solstices approach—winter or summer, depending on your hemisphere—the design-trends-for-the-next-year articles appear, as if to beat the new year deadline.
Draw a flower, carefully unfurling its petals. Follow the line of its sinuous stem, adding tendrils to its flow, extending and multiplying their curves, sprouting a bud here and a leaf exactly there. Repeat, with loose wrist and elegant variation, and an ornament is born. Surely making and looking at them an innocent even natural, pleasure?
A human being, wrote sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein, should be able to fight, write poetry and die gallantly, among 18 more things. Specialisation, he famously said, is for insects.
You see it everywhere, absolutely everywhere: rough-and-ready brush lettering or something like it. It’s proudly imperfect and knowingly naive. It’s bold and inkily raw; its voice can be raucous and assertive or tremulous and quivering. It’s on posters, packaging, banners and trademarks of food brands and political movements; on literary book covers, at conferences, and perhaps most of all as messages on social media.