Whence cometh gnarlyness?

What makes something gnarly?  And when can one be sure that one is experiencing true unabashed gearhead gnarlyness, and not some flimsy substitute?

Weighty questions.

I’m not sure of the answer(s).  I know gnarlyness when I see it, but I’m only just starting to tease out the underlying design principles.  Perhaps I’ll embark on a public journey, a la John Maeda and his Laws of Simplicity, of surfacing the true drivers of gnarlyness via a public conversation.  Let’s see.  Where this goes depends largely on you.

For now, though, I think gnarlyness happens when four design principles are held in mind:

1.  Embrace the visceral, dude:

2.  Have a strong point of view:


3.  Celebrate workmanship:


4.  Be red.  Really, really red: