Martin Wecke, Design Code Lab and Fabian Maier-Bode, Berlin Biennale 2022 branding

Martin Wecke on why we’re approaching the metaverse all wrong

The Berlin-based designer and developer also suggests we might be seeing a return to MySpace-like styles and values in web design

For many people today, MySpace is seen as a bit of a joke: the asymmetrical fringe selfies shot from vertiginously high angles; losing loads of people’s music; Justin Timberlake; or faint memories of the painfully difficult process of deciding who your ‘top friends’ were.

But for a not-insignificant number of people, MySpace proved to be a way into digital design, with a fair few designers citing the platform’s opportunities to change things like fonts and backgrounds by tinkering with basic code as their nascent steps into the world of web design. One such designer is Martin Wecke, a designer and developer who heads up his eponymous studio in Berlin, which boasts a client list including the 2022 Berlin Biennale, Korg, design agency 25a0, and numerous art and photography galleries.

Wecke studied graphic design at Berlin’s University of the Arts and Communications, but his interest in designing websites was sparked by MySpace when he was a teenager, which helped him learn the ropes of programming and developing. In the age of platforms like TikTok, which allow for a ton of creative expression, but only within the confines of that app, Wecke laments the loss of “openness” of such now-defunct sites. “We have all these sophisticated tools in our hands, but it all stays on the platform. It’s a totally different conversation.”

However, he suggests that there might be a “swing back” to these sort of platforms afoot. “I feel like there’s a lot of interest in these visual styles from this era at the moment, so maybe that’s not just about bringing back the style, but also the values behind it,” Wecke suggests.  

Martin Wecke, Design Code Lab, Korg Berlin website
Korg Berlin website. All images: Martin Wecke Design Code Lab

A recent standout project is Wecke’s site design for Korg Berlin, a small space housing the development team for the iconic electronic musical instrument brand. The site had to showcase the team’s unique vision and approach, but since it’s so new, there were no products to show yet. “We had to find a way to make something very small and compact, but which also showed the team and the very unusual workshop in an interesting way,” says Wecke.