ASMR: A Fast Growing Trend in Search of Its Own Style

Eugene Sadko
Aug 18, 2017 · 5 min read

Do you know what ASMR means? If one is to believe Google Trends, nobody knew that before 2012. In the last five years, however, this query has become increasingly popular in search engines, social media, and especially on Youtube. A sustainable growth in popularity with no hint of hesitation is observed in nearly all the countries without the Golden Shield. )

In response to ASMR query, you, as a rule, will find a video with close up of a man speaking, looking directly into the camera, but this is not a vlog, not a video lesson, not a comedy, and, certainly, not another challenge. On an ASMR video, they are usually speaking in whispers and moving very smoothly, touching the camera, touching various objects, tapping, rustling, and generally behaving very strangely. There are plenty strange people, some might say, and close the video. While others will feel maximum relaxation, pleasant shivers over the whole body, and even drowsiness. And those others are not some random 1% of supersensitive individuals. In my estimates, the ASMR effect is felt by many people, more than half of people of any age and gender. This effect is sometimes also referred to as Unnamed Feeling, Head Orgasm, Braingasm, Head Tingle, etc. Its scientific definition is Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

In August 2017, Google returns over 20 million results for ASMR query; social media have hundreds of thousands of subscribers to ASMR groups, and millions on Youtube! The growing popularity of “videos with tingles” is impossible to ignore if you are involved in marketing. The ASMR effect opens up new aspects of numerous goods: Paper books, postcards, toys, fabrics, linen, writing and drawing goods, cosmetics, perfumes, jewelry, clothing, and even gadgets, as well as services, such as healthcare, beauty, education, psychology, hospitality business etc.

IKEA was the first large company to discover the ASMR properties of their products. They recently made a 25-minute advertising video in ASMR style! Who’s next? )

This piece of advertising is a watershed moment. After five years of growth from scratch, ASMR is ceasing to be an enthusiasts’ hobby and becomes an industry. All those who “tingled” before August 2017 can boldly state to novices: “I had been watching ASMR before it became the mainstream” =)

I began studying ASMR when it was a fringe subculture. Of special interest to me are the visual style attributes, such as composition, color, and, of course, typography. Over five years of its evolution, this genre of video art has developed simple rules and criteria of effectiveness, but no visual style has emerged yet. It is easy to verify by searching «ASMR» by pictures or by analyzing title screens of ASMR channels.

Note fonts of all kinds, effects, and rather random colors. In my opinion, the reason behind the lack of a visual style is that the majority of ASMR-artists are individual videobloggers who cannot afford hiring a designer. Of course, they could be designers themselves, but the likelihood of coincidence of such small groups in the population as “ASMR-videobloggers” and “Designers” is extremely low. Still, without engagement of professional designers any new phenomenon will look eclectic.

What Might ASMR Style Look Like

The essence of a visual style is using spatial and time composition, colors, graphics and typographics techniques to transmit valuable senses. For instance, the Renaissance’s valuable sense in brief was exalting an individual and rejecting the domination of church canons. The sense of Modernism was rejection of the old world and creation of a new one etc. It is also very important to avoid transmitting anything extraneous. Otherwise, it will impair the purity of style and effectiveness of communication.

ASMR is not a grand style, but there are certain stylistic attributes which set aside the videos of this genre from others. These attributes are defined by translating the ASMR values into the relevant composition, color, and typography techniques.

ASMR’s valuable sense could be represented as kind of the following semantic cloud: coziness, caring, trust, kindness, personal attention, tenderness, accuracy, comfort, quiet, relaxation, silence, sleep, childhood, safety, home, rest, cleanliness, beauty, well-loved objects, dearest people. It’s very similar to hygge — Danish happy life style. In a visual language, this would mean delicate colors, unhurried rhythm and tempo, static composition, handmade drawings, light friendly fonts.

There are also undesired senses and qualities, which would help limiting the choice of stylistic techniques using the “minus words,” such as speed, rudeness, aggression, insistence, nervousness, slobbery, and automaticity. Translated into a visual language, this would mean the exclusion of contrasting shares, dynamic composition, rapid tempos and rhythms, as well as militaristic and technological fonts with sharp angles, bold styles, severe inclination, and sloppy drawing.

A target audience is also essential for clarifying the stylistics. In this case, however, it is so broad that it cannot influence the format of sense transmission.

For me personally, typography is the most important, as I run the Font provider. Therefore, I have compiled a Collection of Fonts for ASMR Videos. So, Rentafont is now the first service to offer fonts for this exotic tag. )

Several Samples of ASMR Fonts with Relevant Colors and Textures

I have no doubt that the fonts relevant to the sense will increase the attractiveness of any ASMR videos, either creative or commercial.

I hope you find my recommendations of some use.

Should you be interested in the ASMR phenomenon from the science point of
view, feel free to join the study of this effect, e.g., by completing a survey.

If you make ASMR videos, you may like a collection of 50 ASMR-Fonts on Rentafont, Pinterest, Facebook.

Eugene Sadko

Written by

I have a dream that one day, font designers will be able to join hands with font users as sisters and brothers.

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