How I think about novelty

Novelty is when something feels new

This is generally subjective. What is familiar to one person, culture, age group, etc. may be novel to another.

Novelty can be recycled history

Often something “new” is actually old enough that most people forgot about it. It’s valid to take something old and use it again. You do not need to ignore a good idea because it was used in the past.

Novelty is powerful and valid

People react to novelty. Often that reaction is negative. People famously “don’t like change”. But if novelty is used well, that emotional reaction can be positive. Something that can almost guarantee a strong reaction is powerful.

Some people don’t like the idea of novelty for the sake of it. But I don’t think novelty should be avoided for the sake of it, either. It’s rare to find concepts that guarantee anything.

Novelty distracts and is dangerous

If something is new it might distract us from fundamental issues with the thing. It is common for people to focus on something new even if it is worse. For the same reason that novelty is a useful tool, it can also be abused.

Novelty is hard to criticise because people are passionate about it

People who have a strong reaction to something become passionate. It’s dangerous to criticise something if people are passionate about it. Even if that thing is poorly designed and the passion is purely related to novelty.

If you want to criticise something novel, it’s safer to wait until the “release fever” has finished and people can look at it more objectively.