By Courtney E. Smith
DONDA and Kanye West would like to take on a massive task: redesigning the internet.
It was one of many things West said in his surprise Cannes seminar titled “Technology, Culture, and Consumer Adoption: Learning to Read the Cultural Landscape.”
Adweek reported a recap of the event at which West preached a design gospel of simplicity, as practiced by himself with the design of his album Yeezus, and he made the case that his desires only followed in the footsteps of his idol.
“Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, was my biggest influence,” West said. “Just seeing the way he fought to make things easier for people. After he passed, I made it my life’s mission to do what he did inside of that company. I dream to help raise the palette and raise the taste level of a generation and also be involved with the production and distribution and advertising of that thing everyone’s begging for.”
That plea was followed by West calling the whole of the Internet ugly, meaning it largely has bad or no design, and turning his critique to Instagram, which he feels could use a few adjustments.
“The world as a whole is f—ing ugly,” he claimed. “The Internet as a whole is f—ing ugly, too. But I’m not in the construction business. I said to Kevin [Systrom, co-founder of Instagram], why don’t you let us redo Instagram? Now, you know, Instagram is nice. It’s nice-looking. I’m not knocking it. But just in general, everyone spends all of their time looking at their screens or their phones. And just as a simple task, we could clean that up.”
He let the crowd in to his personal design aesthetic as well, telling them that the famous wall of flowers wedding photo he Instagrammed required four days of Photoshop work to become that iconic image.
“Annie Leibovitz pulled out right before the wedding — maybe she was scared about the idea of celebrity,” the rapper said. “…But I still wanted my wedding photos to look like Annie Leibovitz. Now, can you imagine telling someone who just wants to Instagram a photo, the No. 1 person on Instagram, that we need to work on the color of the flowered wall? But the fact that the No. 1 most-liked photo has this certain aesthetic on it was a win for what the mission is — of raising the palette.”
His design vision, West outlined, would involve a minimizing of brands and maximizing of minimalist design to convey luxury and aesthetic beauty.
“People are less about the brand and more about self-confidence and how the brands can assist them, similar to what Steve was doing with tech,” West said. “This is my goal in lifestyle, in everyday life — to change the idea of what luxury is. Because time is the only luxury. It’s not all these brands that we just drove by that are somehow selling our esteem back to us through association.”