More than 40 billion posts have been published on Instagram since it's inception, and so much of it is total crap: gross looking food, bad art, awkward editing effects, and selfies with cringeworthy captions. Our only consolation while going through all the clutter is that the person behind them probably has good intentions. They must truly believe that someone out there, anybody, might like this kind of garbage.
So what happens when people take the time to purposefully publish only the most unsightly things they can find?
Sébastien Mathys and Jonas Nyffenegger are the creators of @UglyDesign, Instagram's most hideous account. These guys have dedicated themselves to posting only the "crème de la crème" of the dark side of design, a strategy that's gained them over 60K followers.
Mathys is based out of Geneva, Switzerland, where he's a partner in a small graphic design and type studio. Nyffenegger studied product design at ECAL (Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne), and he now works for Scandinavian designers in Stockholm. The two met 10 years ago in their final year of art school. "An easy way to make our selection is to choose the opposite of everything our teachers taught us to do," says Nyffenegger.
Finding ugly design is a game for them. "The cool thing about our collaboration is that we don't know what the other one is going to post," says Mathys. "The idea is to post the ugliest or funniest image and get a message from one of us like 'where did you find this gem?'" Doubts about object being worthy are often aired out, leading to lengthy discussion and deliberation.
Whether it's a lamp in the shape of a dog taking a shit, a bed upholstered with Sarah Michelle Gellar's face, or underwear that simulate an aggressive camel toe, following them is a promise that you will hate the world more and more each day. You will wonder why some things are allowed to exist. Infomercials will start to look luxurious. You'll want to throw your phone out the window, but you won't be able to look away. It's aesthetic masochism.
"Everyone around me has heard of it," says Mathys, "some are so enthusiastic about it that they introduce me to girls as the founder of UglyDesign." He thinks that's probably why it's very often a fail. They have also pissed off quite a few people. "It can get very personal and aggressive," Mathys says. Designers often message them asking to remove their design, and others simply ask for credits. Some designers even submit their own work.
What's the ugliest thing they've ever posted? "I guess the chocolate shaped as a butthole would be the most hardcore," says Mathys. For Nyffenegger, it's the bright pink sofa in the shape of a purse, complete with a handle and a matching lipstick tube coffee table. The caption; "The perfect living room doesn't exis-"
In the short time I wrote this they've gained over a thousand new followers, a confirmation that we live in a sick world. "Most people that follow us secretly love what they see," says Mathys. With all this sudden Insta success, Mathys and Nyffenegger are encouraged to continue pissing us off, and they even want to take it to the next level with print. They're currently looking for a publisher willing to back an UglyBook. "A lot of people are gonna be surprised with the high level of creativity when opening their birthday gifts this year," says Nyffenegger.
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