From the earliest days of Geocities, people have collected pictures on the web. Then MySpace made it easy to share images with your friends, and Facebook took it further by eliminating users’ need to know any HTML at all. But Pinterest made collecting an obsession, and a new crop of ecommerce sites has taken humans’ love of pretty pictures all the way to the bank.
TheFancy.com is the newest gotta-have-it site, like a mix of Etsy and Pinterest rolled up into a virtual “buy me this!” registry for those who are doomed to singularity through their rampant consumerism. Svpply works the same way. Welcome to the 21st century.
Fab sells high-class designed goods in Kmart-blue-light-style specials every day. Twice a day, every day, you get an email with the day’s sales, encouraging you to buy, buy and buy some more. Do people “pin” or “fancy” things for the love of the designs or are these sites commercial hell holes? Do these sites represent the autistic qualities of a society gone wild with the need to own more and more despite the recession and debt so high that death is the only way out?
Still, design is a service industry, and we’re just giving the people what they want. Design, unfortunately, is often an underappreciated role. Designers are just artists who don’t get to sign their work. If there’s any comfort in this consumerism madness, then it must be that designers are creating some really fantastic work—fabulous enough to drive the public into a shopping frenzy. Hooray for us!