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What Is Corporate Memphis, That Corporate Style Everybody Hates?

What Is Corporate Memphis

Okay, sorry for the loud title — I am sure not “everybody” hates it, but among the designers, the style called “Corporate Memphis” is getting more and more hate. But what is it, and how did it appear?

What’s Corporate Memphis

In the world of design, things change fast. One trend can become omnipresent, whether you like it or not. Corporate Memphis is one of those: after first appearing in 2017, it immediately became popular as a graphic element on websites. Companies like Apple still use it profusely, even though a lot of people find it in poor taste and very low-effort.

But what constitutes Corporate Memphis? Mostly it’s disproportionally big limbs that generally look unpleasant. The idea is not new: remember the characters from The Yellow Submarine. But this style has never been this widely used. In 2022, it’s impossible to get away from it.

But what a the reasons for its popularity? Well, the answer is in the name: it’s corporate in a way that it’s 100% inoffensive and inclusive. While we’re all for those things, people in the Corporate Memphis style barely resemble humans and look more akin to aliens. The artwork is usually bright and colorful, making the user more agreeable to whatever it is that you’re selling. Psychologically, the style has been developed to make you lower your guard; it’s playful and innocent, yet it can appear in places that require your full attention. In that way, it can be used in a maleficent way.

Will it go away? It doesn’t seem like it. Perhaps as the apps and OSs move away from flat designs, companies will find a new style to use as a filler. Corporate Memphis has been around for years, and it’s about time we see something new.

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