Standard Brands, Warren Platner; Ezra Stoller/Esto
There’s a theme in the comments on my Design Observer piece on design blogs, The Vacuum of Enthusiasm, that there is little for me to say about. Namely, the lack of audience for design blogs, or design magazines (or architecture magazines, for that matter, but I was rightly critiqued for lumping the two too much together). I don’t know any numbers. But until I start my second career as ___________________, I have to believe. I have to believe that good writing counts for something, and that there are people out there who want it. I have to believe that better, smarter, meaner, funnier, richer and more beautiful content would attract an audience. Otherwise, indeed, what are we doing?
What I know is that there are lots of blogs that seem to be successful—or at least people talk about them a lot—that cover topics right next to design and architecture. They are design adjacent. I mean blogs on real estate, on film, on decorating, on technology, on toys. Their readers are interested in design and architecture, they just might not know it yet. Is there not some way to extend, stretch, morph, cosy up to those topics and show they are part of our visual world? Is the iPad the only design object we want to read about in every section of the newspaper? To point out such adjacencies would be the point of product reviews, of slideshows demonstrating that what’s new is really quite old, of movie reviews in which we talk about the sets and not the actors (though lately, the Times critics talk about most actors as if they were lamps). I got my start at New York Magazine, and I believe there is a way to write about design and architecture that appeals to more than the converted. We are all using it and abusing it, why can’t we talk about it?