Design Student's Orgasm
This is something of a fashionable and stylistic approach in visual media. Overwhelmingly, these designs are made with vector graphics, to create solid areas of colour with crisp, geometrically neat outlines. Usually involves vivid colours over a monochrome background (white has preference as a neutral colour, but it can easily be black). The colour patterns can also be switched for the negative space, while the solid colour becomes the foreground. It's easier to show than to describe, hence the picture. Look for examples of this rather abstract art in commercials and opening credits. In animated works, designs may flow outwards from a central point, gaining variety and complexity as they grow. Compare this visual trope to the literary-only Purple Prose. Failure to maintain focus on the product can result in What Were They Selling Again? Video versions of this trope might employ Blipvert as well. Contrast Ascetic Aesthetic, Face on the Cover & Minimalistic Cover Art (though this can also be done in a very striking and artistic way).
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- This commercial from Microsoft describing what they think the future will be like has lots of computer screen images popping out all over the place.
- This anime-style Louis Vuitton ad from Japan, starting at about 1:16, features a trippy world filled with colorful patterns.
- A number of television commercials in the UK for HD TV sets use this trend, using "arty" graphics over a white background. Usually in slow motion and with a calming acoustic guitar soundtrack. The tag line usually being some variation of "look at this amazing image and how detailed it is in HD". Which is fine...unless you are watching in standard definition in which case it is no more detailed than any other ad.
- The recent "a.s.i.c.s." sneakers commercial stars a jogger running through a drippy white M. C. Escher room, leading to his apartment. Wait, will someone explain the pillar jumping and the squishy ground and the gravity problem? Please?
- Packaging for Wacom pen tablets. Simple backgrounds with the common artsy stuff. The Bamboo Pen & Touch Comic Edition◊ pretty much covers the entire front with cartoony stuff with only small bits of white background showing through.
- Recent Comcast commercials show inexplicable, joyously erupting rainbow scenery that turns into letters. It's Comcastic!
- The psychedelic "Feed the Senses" Friskies cat food commercials. Especially the new one — one full minute of a cat jumping through a dimensional portal into 3D Kitty Pepperland.
- The Axis Powers Hetalia credits fit in as many colours, random shapes, and movement as is watchable within 30 seconds.
- Ouran High School Host Club's opening sequence features plenty of organically growing curlicues in the background.
- The "dream" sequences of Black★Rock Shooter are basically this, complex designs and scenarios, with lots of color motifs and use of CGI. All employed to illustrate the conflicts of the main characters.
- The opening and closing sequences of Tatami Galaxy. Additionally, the black and white background with selective coloring in the opening sequence prevails through the entire anime.
- A short but cute anime video of Superflat First Love has strong elements of this.
- Your average deck of hanafuda (Japanese playing cards). The standard western set of cards only gets fancy for the face cards and the ace of spades. Hanafuda have twelve suits of four and each suit has a different motif, and numbers are represented graphically rather than with numerals. Confused yet?
Films — Animated
- The Thief and the Cobbler: Everything is extremely stylized to the point of being super weird. Lots of Amazing Technicolor Population, Unmoving Plaid and Deranged Animation.
- In Coraline, the other world starts to look like this - geometrical, sometimes fractal trees rendered in black and white - the further you go away from the house. The house itself turns into Design Student's Orgasm once the Other World starts to fall apart.
Films — Live-Action
- Name a James Bond film. Any one. Now fast-forward to the opening credits of said film, and there the viewer will find an entire design college's orgasm. Most feature a design motif related to the preceding scene or with the plot of the movie, and many feature scantily clad women dancing to the film's particular theme.
- Stranger Than Fiction visualizes Harold's number obsessed subconscious by having numbers, graphs, and equations pop up, fall down, or move along with him. You can see the opening here.
- As the page image shows, the "past" poster of The Last Witch Hunter qualifies when one looks at the throne. It's rather baroque, incorporating dozens upon dozens of inerwoven, intricate details, each of them somehow referencing witchcraft as depicted in the film.
Live Action TV
- The Vancouver Olympics graphics. There's spray paint, clip art, and origami-style patterns in them. The colors are springtime-y, but Vancouver's actually like that in February so that's understandable.
- The 2008 on-air look for Oxygen, of which the primary motif seems to be flying things (such as cell phones, lipstick, disco balls and even lips).
- Especially from the second half of the 1960s on many album covers by rock bands and artists have become more artsy, especially by psychedelic rock bands. Art photographers, painters and designers were hired to provide beautifully crafted covers that had stunning visuals, lots of Scenery Porn and sometimes even extra details and secret messages for the fans.
- Coldplay's cover for A Rush of Blood to the Head looks very simple, but the photo was taken using a 3-D scanning machine and overlayed with various enhancements by the artist.
- Liz Phair's inside artwork for Exile In Guvyille was influenced by Lopez Tejera's 1952 album "The Joys and Sorrows of Andalusia". It even features polaroid shots of Liz and the management team, along with various other people.
- The Beatles:
- With The Beatles: The album cover by Robert Freeman shows the band members as four floating heads against a black background. It's simple, but so striking that countless bands have tried to imitate and parody it.
- Revolver: a collage of various pictures mingled together with hand drawn portraits. The designer was Klaus Voormann, who would also create the collage posters on the cover of The Beatles Anthology.
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, designed by Michael Cooper: a large collage of celebrity and more obscure photo cut-outs and wax statues together in an iconic background.
- Hipgnosis and Storm Thorgerson were among the most famous Album Cover Designers and are best known for their covers for Pink Floyd. They made the psychedelic universe cover of A Saucerful Of Secrets, the Droste Image on Ummagumma, the rainbow prisma of The Dark Side Of The Moon, the man shaking hands with a Man on Fire on Wish You Were Here, the countless beds on the beach on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and the ambiguous faces on the cover of The Division Bell.
- The album cover of Diamond Dogs by David Bowie was designed by famous Belgian pop art painter Guy Peellaert and shows Bowie and two other people are man-dog hybrids. Peellaert also did the cover of It's Only Rock 'N' Roll by The Rolling Stones.
- Captain Beefheart painted several of his album covers himself, always in abstract, but very striking art: Shiny Beast and Doc At The Radar Station.
- Anton Corbijn has designed the album covers of Captain Beefheart's Ice Cream For Crow, REM's Automatic For The People, U2's The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby.
- Andy Warhol was another world famous album cover designer, responsible for the iconic yellow banana on the cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico By Velvet Underground that could literally be peeled and the crotch shot on Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones with a real-life zipper.
- The album cover of Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses was first a painting by Robert Williams where a robot has just raped a girl. It was deemed to controversial and replaced by a shot of the band members as skeletons, painted by Billy White Jr.
- Daniel Johnston designs the covers of all his albums, including Yip/Jump Music and Hi, How Are You.
- Derek Riggs made a iconic painting of Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie the Head defeating the devil on the cover of The Number of the Beast.
- Mark Ryden's design of Dangerous by Michael Jackson had a lot of surreal imagery and references to "The King of Pop" himself.
- Peter Saville's design of Unknown Pleasures is based on an image of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919.
- The album cover of The Man-Machine by Kraftwerk was designed by group member Ralf Hütter himself and shows the band members in a pose and typography that resembles a Soviet propaganda poster. The album covers of Autobahn (a POV shot from a car driving over the highway) and Computer World (the band on a computer screen) are also notable for their graphics.
- The album cover of News Of The World by Queen is based on a painting by Frank Kelly Freas, an artist best known for painting scenes of science fiction stories. The image showed a giant intelligent robot holding a human corpse. The members of Queen asked Freas if he could paint the exact same image, only with them in place of the corpse.
- Frank Zappa's albums also often had detail grabbing covers or covers with a visually striking image: Freak Out, Hot Rats (a photograph in psychedelic and bright colors), We're Only in It for the Money (Cal Schenkel's famous Sgt. Pepper's Shout-Out parody), Cruising With Ruben And The Jets, Just Another Band From L.A.., The Grand Wazoo, Waka/Jawaka, Ahead Of Their Time (Cal Schenkel's naïve cartoonish drawing style), Uncle Meat and Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Tinseltown Rebellion (collage covers), Weasels Ripped My Flesh (Neon Park's design of man shaving himself with a weasel), Two Hundred Motels, Over-Nite Sensation, One Size Fits All (covers full with details), Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt, Orchestral Favorites (Gary Panter's designs).
- The album cover of Abraxas by Santana, which is a 1961 painting by Mati Klarwein.
- Kurt Cobain designed the album cover of Incesticide and the back cover of In Utero himself.
- Bob Dylan also painted the portraits on the album covers of Self Portrait and Planet Waves themselves.
- The album cover of Licensed to Ill by Beastie Boys was designed by World B. Omes (pseudonym of David Gambale) and features a Boeing 727, with the band name on the tail, crashing head-on into a mountain side.
- Pocket Revolution (2005) by Belgian band dEUS features a Cool Star Ship on the cover, designed by Don Lawrence, author of the comic strip Storm.
- The iconic shot of Patti Smith striking a pose, with her Coat Over the Shoulder on Horses, was shot by famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
- The album cover of Songs About Fucking by Big Black is done In the Style of... Manga art.
- The cover of The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest shows a stylized black woman painted green and red.
- The black-and-white stylized portrait of Lou Reed on the cover of Transformer, designed by Mick Rock and Klaus Voormann.
- The colorful album cover of Virus by Doe Maar features four shots of a female model.
- The album cover of Pictures At An Exhibition by Emerson, Lake & Palmer is literally a group of paintings in a museum.
- Led Zeppelin's first four albums are also very striking designs. Led Zeppelin I features a shot of the Hindenburg disaster, Led Zeppelin II is a collage of the band, based on a picture of World War One, Led Zeppelin III is another collage cover and Led Zeppelin IV features a 19th century rustic painthing of an old man. Houses of the Holy was designed by Hipgnosis.
- The Grateful Dead were known for their psychedelic album covers, full with colorful and trippy abstract images, such as Anthem of the Sun and American Beauty.
- Oxygène by Jean-Michel Jarre: The album cover is a painting by Michel Granger, depicting the Earth as a skull, for which Jarre received official permission to use it.
- The album cover of Dookie is a very detailed drawing full with little humoristic scenes going on.
- Another way of using a design students' orgasm on your album cover is by literally using an actual iconic painting or statue. Since many of the artists have been dead for centuries you have the advantage of not having to pay any copyright.
- Another Monty Python Record uses "The Census At Bethlehem" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder on its cover.
- Deep Purple, the third album by Deep Purple uses a black-and-white image of the "Hell" panel of Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden Of Earthly Delights on its cover. Dead Can Dance uses a small image from the second panel of the same painting on the cover of their album Aio. The cover of John Zorn's "Chimeras" (2003) is a detail of the Hieronymus Bosch painting "The Last Judgment", a tryptich where only a fragment has survived.
- John Zorn's album "On the Torment of Saints, the Casting of Spells and the Evocation of Spirits" (2013) uses Salvador Dalí's painting "The Temptation of St. Anthony" on the cover.
- John Zorn's "Magick" (2004) has a drawing from Gustave Doré on the cover.
- Most of Roger Dean's album covers for Yes were depictions of lush psychedelic landscapes. Tales From Topographic Oceans◊, Fragile◊, and particularly Relayer◊ are probably most representative of this style. Also his album covers for Asia. (The covers for Aqua, Arena, and Archiva were done by Rodney Matthews.)
- PixelJunk Eden uses this almost exclusively, with copious amounts of wiggly, spiraling lines on an abstract patchwork background.
- A lot of the gameplay in Audiosurf ends up looking like this, especially with the background color set to white, due to the graphics generation engine throwing dancing towers and colorful explosions around.
- Any installments of Wipeout (1, 2097/XL, 3) that has designs by The Designers Republic/tDR is this trope, with flashy and catchy colors, amazingly minimalistic details, and eye-candy futuristic aesthetics that are timeless and still looks futuristic, even for today.
- An egregious offender is a particular trend in men's designer t-shirts, to cram as much random stuff on a square yard of fabric as possible. On one particularly offending sample: a skull with a rose between its teeth, five ravens, a statue of Justice, the innards of a cassette tape, a Shinto shrine, some more roses, a wreath of thorns, and what looks like a map of the coast of Norway. This is all on the same shirt.
- There is a Guitar Hero shirt with a similar baroque-inspired take on this style, involving many vaguely organic shapes centered around a Gibson SG controller, with cherubs facing opposite directions holding Kramer Striker controllers.
- Design students' orgasms aren't only limited to Western art, either; there are Islamic styles very prone to them such as 15th- and 16th-century Persian architecture. Almost every available surface was decorated with painted tile. Then there's Ottoman Turkish buildings, which don't look like this until you go inside them.
- Pencil Vs Camera by Ben Heine. A photo background framing a drawing of random stuffnote 'exploding' out of the camera.
- All the works by the aforementioned The Designers Republic/tDR from Sheffield are these. Their◊ early◊ works◊ incorporates Russian Constructivism themes with Colorful inputs, rebellious themes, and awesome typography which boosted their popularity. Their◊ 90's◊ works◊ are mostly Animesque (though they are one of the early adopters of such style), but has flavors (catchy color palettes) and details (cute icons, shapes, and intentional Gratuitous Japanese) that popularized such style. Later◊ works◊ features futuristic minimalism and unique fonts that was regarded as the defining visual aesthetics of Electronic Music. Their works are highly regarded, to the point the studio became the most copied design studio ever existed. They are one of the only Graphic design studios who has a large following/dedicated fandom. They are currently deadnote , but their legacy and impact in the graphic design industry is huge.
- The 2014 Football World Cup official poster◊ provides a perfect example: vectorized graphics with a net outline made of a myriad of bright blue, orange, yellow, orange and green little Brazilian motives, all on a white background. A textbook (and beautiful) example.