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Because insect tree fountains are what you want to drink!

GMTV told us that Barack Obama had arrived in a flurry of bad clip-art.

This is something of a new and very fashionable stylistic approach in commercials which is also seen in many films' opening credit sequences.

It's easier to show than describe, hence the picture. Overwhelmingly, these designs are made with vector graphics, to create solid areas of color and crisp, geometrically neat outlines. Usually involves vivid color over a monochrome background, usually white, or vice versa, as in the iPod advertisements.

If animated, designs may flow outwards from a central point, gaining variety and complexity as they grow.

It is somewhat akin to a visual form of Purple Prose. The flowery elements of the more ornate ads often have nothing to do with the product itself, and don't always get the message across too well. But hey, if that's what the companies are signing off on...

If one of your friends or loved ones is a design student and suffers inappropriately timed orgasms, just keep a sample of something printed in Comic Sans MS[1] handy to show them. Designers love this typeface, and it has a calmative effect.

See Everything Is an iPod In The Future. Contrast Minimalistic Cover Art.

Examples of Design Student's Orgasm include:


  • This commercial from Microsoft describing what they think the future will be like has lots of computer screen images popping out all over the place.
  • The above Coke commercial and several others in their most recent campaign are, as one troper described it (and naming the trope) "Kind of like a first year design student's orgasm."
  • The iPod commercials.
  • This Louis Vuitton ad from Japan, starting at about 1:16. Along with anime magic.
  • Hewlett-Packard's "The Computer is Personal Again" campaign, including its "Hands" ads.
  • Recent Zellers ads.
  • Fruitopia ads are this trope, on acid.
  • If you live in Monterrey, Mexico, you'll see these everywhere, especially on the local college campus' advertising and event posters. Maybe their Graphic Design school is pumping these out?
    • Same thing in Hamburg, Germany. Every single party gets a flyer.
  • Jemma Gura may be responsible for the whole phenomenon.
  • Target ads have been prone to this over the past few years.
  • A number of television commercials in the UK for HD TV sets use this trend, using "arty" graphics over a white background. Usually in slow motion and with a calming acoustic guitar soundtrack. The tag line usually being some variation of "look at this amazing image and how detailed it is in HD". Which is fine...unless you are watching in standard definition in which case it is no more detailed than any other ad.
    • Similar arguments were made by Mad Magazine back in the 1960's about the idiocy of TV commercials for color TV sets.
    • Sky is especially fond of this, particularly for the sports channels.
    • Lampshaded by George Takei in an advert for a Sharp Quattron HDTV, saying "you see the difference... well, actually, you don't".
  • The recent "a.s.i.c.s." sneakers commercial stars a jogger running through a drippy white M. C. Escher room, leading to his apartment. Wait, will someone explain the pillar jumping and the squishy ground and the gravity problem? Please?
  • Packaging for Wacom pen tablets.
  • G4's logo usually bursts into one of these during promos.
  • Recent Comcast commercials show inexplicable, joyously erupting rainbow scenery that turns into letters. It's Comcastic!
  • This Play Station 3 commercial
  • SOYJOY. this commerical
    • The characters' walk cycles all seem to be based on Crumb's "Keep on truckin'" cartoons.
    • And the character itself resembles Olive Oil from Popeye which, to some, would make that kiss a bit squicky.
  • This Jack Daniel's commercial, based around the "frillier" elements of the label.
  • The psychedelic "Feed the Senses" Friskies cat food commercials. Especially the new one—one full minute of a cat jumping through a dimensional portal into 3D Kitty Pepperland.
  • The "Spaceman Stu" McDonalds commercial
  • Anything by Peter Max.

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Dave Johnson, cover artist of One Hundred Bullets, is fond of this. That's part of the reason why he's in such high demand as a cover artist. He can even do this when drunk.


Live-Action TV

  • The current (as of 2009) BBC News titles seem to have elements of this, at the very least they are rather "over designed".
    • They have nothing on the titles for the Dutch news organization NOS, whose graphics are done by the same people behind those for BBC News.
  • MTV Brasil's bumps. Usually also have Deranged Animation.
  • Human Target has a variation on this. It's loosely based on a comic book, so the black & white vector graphics are mixed in with primary colors "dripping" onto the screen like ink dripping onto a page.
  • The Vancouver Olympics graphics. There's spray paint, clip art, and origami-style patterns in them. The colors are springtime-y, but Vancouver's actually like that in February so that's understandable.
  • The 2008 on-air look for Oxygen, of which the primary motif seems to be flying things (such as cell phones, lipstick, disco balls and even lips).
  • The credits sequence of Mad Men is an example. It's very decently done, fits the cool Instrumental Theme Tune and is supposed to be apropos to time the show is set in, same as in the case of Catch Me If You Can. Also, season four's sets match the the credits' visual style.
  • The opening credits to United States of Tara.
  • The Game of Thrones opening credits are very intricate and stylish, showing the map of the show's setting as something between a pop-up book and a mechanical model.
  • The pop science mini-series James May's Things You Need to Know runs on this. It's basically pop science + James May's posh narration + Design Student's Orgasm. High production values mean that it's still enjoyable even if you've heard everything before.


  • Many, many, many music videos fall under this trope, but the most Egregious is by far TLC's "No Scrubs," based in a futuristic spaceship/something and has absolutely nothing to do with broke suitors.
  • Both versions of Mika's "Relax (Take It Easy)" feature this style, as does the cover art of his CD.
    • Pretty much everything Mika does visually falls under this trope.
  • The CD cover of many, many, many indie albums.
  • Gnarls Barkley's video for "Crazy".
  • The video for Mariposas by the Argentine band Enanitos Verdes.
  • The New Pornographers' Myriad Harbor.
  • The music video for U2's I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight.
  • This version of the Wanderlast.
  • Led Zeppelin III seems to have a bit of this.
  • Girls' Generation's video for Visual Dreams.
  • PONPONPON counts as this.
  • Capsule's music video for their song, "JUMPER", consists largely of this.
  • Everything Studio Killers does.
  • The album cover of Pink Floyd's Relics compilation is almost literally this, as the artist (drummer Nick Mason) studied architecture in university.
  • The Beatles' Revolver, which is a composite of various pictures mingled together with hand drawn portraits.

Tabletop Games

  • Sometimes standard playing cards fit into this category, and this Flogging Molly poster took this and went with it.
  • Your average deck of hanafuda (Japanese playing cards). The standard western set of cards only gets fancy for the face cards and the ace of spades. Hanafuda have twelve suits of four and each suit has a different motif, and numbers are represented graphically rather than with numerals. Confused yet?

Video Games

  • The Wii Music box art.
  • The opening to The Beatles Rock Band has a bit of this.
  • The recent update to the Xbox 360's hardware and Xbox Live has a welcome video which is essentially this modeled around the Xbox logo.
  • The design philosophy behind Mirrors Edge level design. Unlike most examples, it works surprisingly well, mostly by being a rare aversion of Real Is Brown and because you're running too fast to see the the details, anyway.
    • Arguably a Deconstruction of the style, since the game takes place in a fascist police state. Take That, advertising industry.
  • Much of Yoshitaka Amano's concept art for Final Fantasy.
  • No More Heroes: Almost all of Travis Touchdown's shirts are like that.
  • If Persona 3's opening doesn't count, nothing does.
  • Eufloria is literally this in game format.
  • Pixel Junk Eden is also a very strong example.
  • De Blob was literally made by art school students. Heck, the entire point of the game is to turn the city back into this.
  • Even Eroge are feeling the effect of this trope. Just compare the opening videos for the first three Makai Tenshi Djibril games with those for the fourth and fifth games (All videos NSFW).
  • El Shaddai: The Ascension of Metatron does this in the most stunning way possible. Definitely overlaps with Visual Effects of Awesome.
  • Sonic Generations does this in the level title cards and in some of the print ads. The logo has a less blatant version of this effect.
  • DJ Hero and it's sequel incorporate this, more specifically the intro/title and loading screens.

Web Comics

  • Sarah Zero is a design student's orgasm in comic form. Seriously, the author/artist appears to be a graphic design student with some skill (and a very low criticism threshold).
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name. And how.
  • Some scenes from Freak Angels seem to border this trope.

Other Media

  • Found in a subtle form in this animation.
  • An Egregious offender is a particular trend in men's designer t-shirts, to cram as much random stuff on a square yard of fabric as possible. On one particularly offending sample: a skull with a rose between its teeth, five ravens, a statue of Justice, the innards of a cassette tape, a Shinto shrine, some more roses, a wreath of thorns, and what looks like a map of the coast of Norway. This is all on the same shirt.
    • A shirt offered by SplitReason. Some designer for the site seems to like this one a lot, considering that a few examples of its merchandise fall under this trope.
    • There is a Guitar Hero shirt with a similar baroque-inspired take on this style, involving many vaguely organic shapes centered around a Gibson SG controller, with cherubs facing opposite directions holding Kramer Striker controllers.
  • Relatedly, stores that cater to hipsterish fashions or to teenagers often use this style in both ads and clothing. Examples include Urban Outfitters, Delia* s, Jimmyz, American Apparel, and Lucky Jeans.
  • Baroque art. That is all.
    • Older Than They Think; Insular (Hiberno-Saxon) art makes Baroque look minimalistic.
    • And quite a lot of Art Nouveau.
      • Alphonse Mucha especially. There's a reason his work became a touchstone for psychedelic artists...
    • And most of all, maximalist plastic art, which is all about excess and complexity and encompasses many of the examples shown on this page.
    • Design students' orgasms aren't only limited to Western art, either; there are Islamic styles very prone to them such as 15th- and 16th-century Persian architecture. Almost every available surface was decorated with painted tile. Then there's Ottoman Turkish buildings, which don't look like this until you go inside them.
  • Most of the Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 advertising was like this. One of them.
  • Everything made by Apple and Microsoft these days. Except when it's not.
    • The Windows 7 login screen is a fairly classic example, with white and green flowery swirly-ness on Windows blue. However, as not everyone's login screen may be configured the same way.
  • The Unilever logo. Just try to identify and understand all the figures.
    • Justified. It's an umbrella corporation for loads of smaller companies/products, the filler in the U represent their products.
    • A detailed explanation.
    • The detail is sufficiently complex and with enough interpretation within the individual images that it formed one of the visual interpretation questions in the 2011 QCS examination.
  • Japanese artist Marumiyan
  • Emma Watson's old official website, the redesigned one looks a lot more iPod-y.
  • The 2012 Summer Olympics in London logo has been arguably criticized for this, which included a range of epilepsy incidents as a result of an animated promo for it.
    • That's understandable—the animation on the website seems to "glitch" into several sets of headache-inducing color combinations.
    • The offending logo has been used by some British universities in their graphic design courses as an example of what not to do.
  • This package of coffee.
  • Many of the designs on CSS Zen Garden.
  • This Firefox Persona.
  • CityCenter Las Vegas.
  • Pencil Vs Camera.
  • Designer Eric Klarenbeek's home page. Some sort of puzzle?
  • Children's programming isn't immune, Nick Jr.'s between-show bumps and advertisements being a prime example of this.
  • The evolutionary biology of Hyrule.
  1. Or Papyrus