The 00’s Aesthetic History Thread

As I’ve mentioned in some of the past History threads, I’ve been doing a dive into some of the design aesthetics catalogued by folks at the Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute (CARI). While I’m currently just coming out of the 70’s I figured for today I’ll take a trip down memory lane 12 further into the first decade of the 21st century.

So without further ado:

Y2K Aesthetic

Associated with the Y2K phenomenon (though not the apocalypticism, especially after entering the millennium [relatively] unscathed), this aesthetic shines with techno-utopianism, sometimes literally. Tight leather pants, silver eyeshadow, shiny clothing, oakleys, gradients, and blobby electronics. Futurism away from 90’s cyberpunk and before we’d be disillusioned, everything’s all shiny now!

Pod @ Wisma Atria – designed by ECO-ID Architects – Singapore (early 2000s)

Curly Girly

Ornate, playful, silly & frilly aesthetics marketed at young girls, think ‘young divas’ as packaged for the (early?) Millennial generation, and shades of affluence reflected in the 00’s booming economy.

Barbie Magazine – unknown designer (2004)

Gen-X Home

Gen-X grows up and settles into domesticity! A softer home marketing variant of Corporate Gen-X Cyber, an already watered-down corporate version of computer graphics now updated for the new century.

Home interior set by IKEA (year unknown, ca. 2001)


A.K.A. Hot Topic core a.k.a. Warped Tour fashion a.k.a. [insert derided 00’s scene here], edgy grunge aesthetics translated into 00’s snotty pop punk fashion.

Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing – designed by Sonia D’Aloisio and Robb Dipple (2007)

Ultramodern Revival

An update of Supergraphic Ultramodern (as I’ve mentioned here!) with those same supergraphics and bright color palettes now mixed with sleek forms and kitschy disco influences.

D’Edge Nightclub – designed by Muti Randolph – Campo Grande, Brazil (1999)


Where Y2K Aesthetic focuses on the shininess of technology, Vectorheart goes in on blazing speed, with high-contrast typography that borrows from both Swiss modernism and utilitarian industrial design informing its futuristic bend.

Chapter3 Website (2000)


The brutalist cousin of Vectorheart, characterized by deformed abstract shapes, futuristic fonts on blurry backgrounds. You’d prolly seen this in the early-mid 00’s on Deviantart before it got plagued by fetish art.

In the depths – Tony Graf (webdiod) (2002)


An often-isometric aesthetic of lush, elaborate pixel art. Y’all like vidya gaems, don’t ya?

Groove Armada’s Soundboy Rock – artwork by eBoy (2007)


A hard shift away from the minimalist futurism of the Y2K Aesthetic era towards maximalist remixes of mainly 1970s and early 1980s trends & motifs. Aspirational luxury in all forms, tattoo motifs, oversized designer glasses, celebutantes, designer ripped jeans, pink hummers, bedazzled electronics, fashion phones, McMansions, nihilistic & hedonistic overtones, overly-flourishy vector art, grunge effects applied to ‘gothic’ fonts and all sorts of other ostentatious, conspicuous consumerism.

Gwen Stefani’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby. – designed by Josie Clemens (2004)


‘Urban-McBling’ – similar in the maximalism, visual excess but with more decidedly… masculine-coded elements: think silhouetted streetlights, power lines, buildings, highways, wings, crests, flames, tribal tattoo-looking motifs, paint splatters/drips and grungy effects.

Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory – designed by Mike Shinoda (2000)

Frutiger Aero

Skeumorphism and glossy design advertising a more humanist approach to tech design, using tertiary color palettes, Frutiger/Humanist sans serif UI fonts, and elements such as glass, auroras, bokeh, pictures of grass. Perhaps a more professional streamlined approach away from the ‘playfulness’ of Y2K Aesthetic?

Windows Vista Start Button – Designed in-house, Microsoft Corporation (2007)

Superflat Pop

The commercial side to Japan’s Superflat Pop movement, with the use of strong outlines, flat planes of color, and a lack of three-dimensionality, lending poster feel, fantasy imagery, bold cartoon-like hues, and characters and content inspired by modern manga and anime.

Kanye West’s Late Registrationartwork by Takashi Murakami (2007)