Research Question

“How has Lo-Fi culture been developed by modern approaches to design and media, and are it’s original values lost as a result?”



– Brief description as to what I am looking into, about Lo-Fi culture, what it is known to stand for on a wider scale, the various forms of media it is recognised as being involved in, and a leading statement about the arrival of new technology and over saturation of media. Then explaining, therefore, how it is relevant to ask how these new developments have encouraged or altered the initial uses and values of Lo-Fi design.

What is Lo-Fi and the DIY Culture?

– Explanation of Lo Fi (Low Fidelity) origins as a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture within music (Punk) and print (Zines).

– Explanation of the reasons or the development of this movement in these genres, such as fighting against the mainstream pop culture, government control and also providing a solution for those with low budgets and a passion for their craft.

– Explanation of what Lo-Fi is in Graphic Design, and how it has come about, again a reaction against high tech outputs.

What is the Appeal of Lo-Fi?

– Talk about the sporadic results that make it exciting, the tactile quality and the nostalgia, especially in the look AND subject matter and historical connotations.

– The length and effort, and perhaps this sense of nostalgia, create a believability and authenticity to the visuals, and make it more relatable to people. The effect is more on an emotive level.

– Example of how music is purposefully made Lo-Fi, and also how it can be a question of being both a production technique or graphic style in design, so reproduced lo-fi style using expensive equipment.

– An initial question of the contradiction of this against lo-fi’s original values is mentioned.

The Use of Lo-Fi in Corporate Media

– Description of the development of new technology and platforms through the internet and how this has lead to greater audience input and control of media production. Mentioning how demystification had been applied in the production of DIY music methods before, and how that made things more accessible for people, which is basically what these new platforms are providing also.

– Description of the elitist approach of Graphic Design (‘Edugraphology” by Victor Papanek article), and how it may have alienated it’s audience, with it’s negative rhetoric.

– Explanation of how companies are losing control over their audience, and how they are having to adopt a new method of branding design by relating to their audience on a humanistic and emotive level, building long term relationships, de-mystifying design and creating the ‘new’ rhetoric.

– Brief introduction into how this has continued the problem of an over saturated media to audiences, with so many different messages reaching us on a semiotic level.

The Saturation of Identity and Loss of Lo-Fi Validity

– Description of the over exposure from social networking and Web 2.0, on which we now base our lives around, and how this cannot help but affect our consumer tastes and desires.

– Explanation of how companies have to change their sales to keep up with our fast paced environment and demands, and therefore fashions change just as quickly.

– Bring up the question of whether the lo-fi approach in art, design and fashion is because of it’s original values or whether it has been adopted too much by corporate companies and turned into nothing more than a fashion. Explain how every time a historical style or method is brought up as a trend, it de-values the original context and history behind it, and the identity of companies or approaches is lost and temporary.


– Explain the aspects of Lo-fi as a possible trend that will eventually be lost in the appearance of constantly changing fashions and new technology. Describe how identity is no longer authentic and needs to be questioned.

– Argue back about that the DIY and Lo-Fi culture was initially a movement against elitist establishments and that any re-occurance of such approaches is inevitable. If the appearance of lo-fi is desired, and the only way to communicate with an audience then there must be some value still seen in it in relation to its initial purpose.

– Argue back also with an explanation about how Web 2.0, and audience participation and creation, is probably the epitome of the DIY values, and no matter how much is used by corporate holdings, people will always try to create something they are passionate about themselves. (Especially as things like the recession make it difficult for people to get the education or work experience necessary anyways – use friend’s photography brand as a example, and also Nerimon music!).

Suggestion of how new rhetoric and lo-fi approaches are useful in things like social and cultural design, for example environmental especially because of the economic techniques in production. Perhaps if design were to use it in this direction, it could also have a new positive effect on our lives and associations with design, more so if the original values of audience participation, involvement and communication are upheld.