Brutalism and dopamine

28 October 2022

Brutalism is from the French brut, meaning raw, evoking raw concrete.

It is also very often brutal in that it throws cold water on your new ideas that make you excited to try and write and test. No! Only raw concrete.

I really enjoy seeing cool stuff done with the Web. My design philosophies, however, run increasingly brutal — that is to say, aggressively minimalist. This is often frustrating. Brutalism’s answer to seemingly everything that is cool or pretty is slapping your hands away and saying “you ain’t gonna need it.”

And yet somehow raw concrete can still be very beautiful.

I would like to think that my little page is brutalist and beautiful. Here is a dictum that I’ve tried to hew to:

…start with left-aligned black text on a white background, and […] apply styling only to solve a specific problem.

I have allowed myself basically three vanities: a nice serif font, minimal sidenotes, and \(\LaTeX.\) Otherwise my page runs on about a hundred lines of Sass.

This has been refreshing. So much of the tech world is an exercise in building whole Jenga towers worth of indirection to harvest people’s data and screw with their brains. It’s nice to use the magic web of wires and conflict minerals to just write something for a change.

Is it worth anything?

Will anyone ever read it?

I don’t know. But it’s nice.