Will Tesla's Cybertruck end big tech minimalism?

As Tesla prepares to begin producing the Cybertruck later this year, some are pointing out how the electric truck’s bold, futuristic design is at odds with the minimalism of most modern tech. And like any design philosophy bringing a unique and new product to the table, the Cybertruck could potentially shift tech’s aesthetic across the industry.

The Tesla Cybertruck’s uniform, brutalist aesthetic has been turning heads since it was unveiled in 2019, and a recent op-ed from Elaine Moore in Financial Times suggests that the unique look could be the next design language of big tech. While Apple’s minimalist “lite” aesthetic has set the bar for design in Silicon Valley in the past several years, the Cybertruck may set a new precedent for tech design in the coming years.

A number of devices have co-opted the Apple-lite look, including smartphones, smart speakers, watches, home robots and even virtual reality headsets. And while the many years of minimalist tech have offered a comfortable and simple look to ring in the age of digital information, Moore points to the Cybertruck’s design as a refreshing departure.

“In a world of restrained design, the Cybertruck’s brutalism comes as a relief,” Moore writes.

Interestingly, Apple’s transition from the colorful design of the early 2000s also came as a major response to a time before minimalism, when the company’s products were known for their bright colors and chunky, playful shapes. Critics may have called the beginning of minimalistic tech a call to boring conformity, though the tech world quickly showed how little it agreed.

The minimalist look (read: muted tones, soft rounded edges and smooth lines) became widely popular over the last decade, though the resulting hegemony has since grown boring to some tech enthusiasts — Moore included.

Moore points out that the Cybertruck’s unveiling was nothing short of a shock, as Tesla was then showing off something that appeared odd in the context of minimalism. While it may look practical for certain heavy-duty activities (like floating in water and being completely waterproof, and including a bioweapon defense mode, according to CEO Elon Musk), its bulkiness had skeptics pointing out how impractical they thought it would be on the road.

Above: Tesla's CyberTruck Can Fit a Camper. Video: YouTube via CNET

Despite having been delayed multiple times, Tesla has recently been assembling the Giga Press casting machines that will make the electric truck. The automaker is set to begin producing the vehicle near mid-2023, with the first deliveries expected to go out by the end of the year.

The Cybertruck has garnered over a million preorders (one tally estimates about 1.7 million), already indicating that many are ready for a new direction in tech design. Deposits are refundable, making reservations an imperfect metric for predicting sales, though the figure still shows significant popularity — especially considering the major shift in aesthetic the Cybertruck brings with it. 


Source: Financial Times / Video: YouTube via CNET