Do Americans Have Bad Taste?

A friend of mine sent me a link to a topic about whether or not Americans have bad taste in design. Being a designer myself I like to think that at least some of us have good taste. However, seeing results from some focus groups I can see where this is coming from. Many people have commented on this topic with a lot of sound explanations. Some think Americans go for more functionality than for aesthetics, or that even though we buy more stuff we buy things that are cheaper where design has been sacrificed for price. On that same note Americans have more space to buy and throw away, or hide in a closet, all of the things we buy; unlike places such as Japan where space is limited and you live in closer quarters with your items and will probably keep them for much longer instead of just throwing them away.

There are many different ways to explain this idea, but what if Americans really just don’t understand good design? It seems like to me that other countries, especially Europe and Asia, are more exposed to the art world growing up. Fashion is more stressed in these countries as well, contrary to America where people are getting bigger and more lazy and don’t feel like taking that extra time to look nice. Many people in America aren’t required to learn any sort of Art or Art History or take a Design class. To some it comes naturally but others have no idea what unity, movement, asymmetry, focal point, repetition, leading lines, or the rule of thirds means in design. Just an idea.

So what does everyone think? Do Americans have bad taste?

Here’s an example of a Kellogg’s box from one of the commenters from the above link. Same product, one designed for US and one designed for UK.

UK Design

UK Design

US Design

US Design

1 Comment

  1. Fil

    I don’t know if I would necessarily say Americans have bad taste, but rather that a lot of Americans may LACK any taste. That being said, I still think our priorities/values are just different. That being said, I don’t think our priorities/values are all right either, but I suppose that comes from living abroad for the past 3 years.

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