The Trumpification of America
As the creative director of a new media company striving to do creative and well-designed work, the thing that worries me about Donald Trump becoming president is much more than politics. What I’m really worried about is the Trumpification of America.
Trump’s presidential campaign tagline is “Make America Great Again”. But what if his version of “great” is just plain excess.
Trumpmania, Trump-o-rama, Trumpconglomerate, Trump it all. Plainly put, he wants it “biggest” and “best.” Period. He owns the world’s best golf courses, his condos are the biggest and most stylish, his hotel rooms feature the tallest ceilings and the biggest couches. Most hotels feature 32 inch or smaller TV’s, not Trump Hotel Central Park, which has 55 inch flatscreens in every room! And the Donald also sells us the Trump-branded Serta mattresses, (which he claims is Serta’s “best selling mattress ever”),
The Donald J Trump collection of men’s suits, Trump Spring Water, (“the best water you will ever taste!”) and lately, even (“the finest men’s fragrance you will ever smell”)… Trump perfume.
You too, can smell like Donald Trump!
We’ve been seeing it happen right in front of us for decades now, a complete rejection of any of the lessons learned from Modernism, that we should live eloquently, tastefully, and simply, that function dictates form, the positive values in conservation and finding a universal harmony without embellishment and decoration.
Trump is selling the polar opposite…. In Trumpville everything is bigger, grander. And all that he touches is The Best! Rich people are really rich and even the middle class should live in mini mansions or as they are known: McMansions, because they tend to go up so fast.
TRUMP appeals to our core instincts, that bigger is better and that we should always strive to be a part of the grandest and most beautiful things. He makes us feel that we are missing out on something. That our thinking is too limited, that we aren’t being REAL Americans, because REAL Americans always have the the biggest, the baddest, the largest stuff in the world.
If Trump is president will he tear down the White House because it’s too small?
Trump embellishes. He decorates. He adds little curly q’s to his favorite branded term “YOU’RE FIRED” because you are fired for not thinking big enough. You are fired for being too plain. The TRUMP logo is a chiseled serif font stolen from French aristocrats who used it to emboss their golden candlesticks with the lascivious titles of inherited wealth. They used it to demark their palaces, and put it on the land grants and menus and posters of the upper class, covering every square inch with elaborate, over-decorated imagery and type.
Modernist design was a rejection of that kind of pretension. Negative space and a strong grid system dictates the design, along with clean san-serif fonts like Futura and Helvetica Neue. The strength of the graphic goes to battle with commercialism, greed and yes, cheapness.
Donald Trump is the great exaggerator. Elected president he will be the exaggerator in chief. Forbes magazine tells us he even exaggerates his own net worth… by 100%.
To my eye so much of TRUMP style just feels cheap and overblown, like ornateness for the sake of ornateness. The man selling us this vision of America is the Emperor with no clothes. He thinks he knows what is fine and what is beautiful, and he thinks he has the most of it, but really some rascal designers from a tacky New Jersey sweatshop have sold him a bill of goods, and he is no wiser for it. And he turned around and sold it again to us.
So we here we are, it’s 2015, and modernism is dead. And Trump is building a grand new hotel in DC that promises, ”The richly luxurious guestrooms will average more than 600 square feet, making them the largest in Washington, DC, with lofty 14-to-16-foot ceilings, soaring windows, beautiful existing millwork, and glittering crystal sconces and chandeliers. A study in refined elegance, the transitional design will feature a palette of Federal blues, creams and ivories, paired with soft gold and silver accents and punctuated with deep red.
The richly detailed historic Trump Library will impress with its soaring 25-foot coffered ceiling, high arched windows, ornate columns, intricate millwork, hardwood floors, velvet draperies and hand-woven area rugs, the likes of which are not seen in contemporary hotels. Glass-front bookcases will line the walls, while leather club chairs and executive task chairs will exude a subtle masculinity.”
When I read that and I read about Donald Trump on the campaign trail, I see a Frankenstein monster plotting to take over my world. Which is kind of scary, if you really think about it.