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Hello Kitty Used Minimalism to Build a Consumer Empire
Hello Kitty Used Minimalism to Build a Consumer Empire

Ever since her birthday in 1974, Kitty White (her given name) has been shipping for Samrio, both her and other products are adored worldwide, from pens, purses and caps to toasters, condoms, tampons and sausages and of course coffins.

People buy Kitty’s products just because her face is on it. Apart from her being totally adorable and always well dressed, what makes her so likeable?

When Hello Kitty creator first made Kitty, she left her without a mouth, providing no clues for her decision. Whatever the consumer is feeling, Kitty feels it too. She is saying more by saying less. A mouth to kitty would have been an epic fail, it’s actually not an essential element. This way, Kitty has something in common with minimalism, an artistic style that is all about essential elements.

Can you take anything away from the normal Hello Kitty’s representation and still have it be your beloved kitty? If you took off the bow, she’d be the usual cat. Take away the bow; she is no longer a cat. No ears, leaves her a weird oval shape.

Kitty says more with less it is hard to call her a minimalist piece of artwork, she a consumer culture that borrows from the minimalist bag of tricks.

Some of minimalists most respected practitioners work with simple and repetitive shapes; sometimes they are colourful but lack signification.

A kitten contains way too much meaning but if she is not minimalism, then what is she?

We have a look at SuperFlat to try and answer this.

Coined SuperFlat to describe a kind of art and culture based upon product and phantasy on infatuated collection. This is the same approach that brought you Pokémon’s ‘gotta catch ‘em all’ mentality, which supports the collection of animation.

Although born 20 years prior, she has been a perfect minimalism inspired example of SuperFlat’s art ideals.

An heir of modern geek cheek collecting attitudes, Kitty is the world’s best sales girl, assuming everything and representing nothing. Perhaps one can say that minimalists’ ideas are somewhat responsible for Kitty’s success. She was artfully executed image acting as a bridge to a universe of objects and maybe it’s all because she is missing a mouth.

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