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Alexandra Lange

Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm


David Rockwell, Set design for the 82 Annual Academy Awards, 2010

When the grid of 1,000 lampshades descended on the Oscar stage, minutes before the uncomfortable-making Best Actor appreciations (I had to mute), I thought, Yes! This is a fuggable design moment. I struggled to think of something funny to tweet about lampshades, decorators, Alec Baldwin after the show but @marklisanti beat me to it.
 
          Lampshades! I see lampshades everywhere! Hundreds of them! (Oscar 
          set design brainstorm meeting.)

Between the lampshades, the jumbo crystal curtain and the curving gold grid screen, David Rockwell’s set managed to combine the sparkly trappings of Old Hollywood glamor with a healthy dose of new Hollywood decorating, in which everything old is made new by making it bigger (see Kelly Wearstler, Vogue). I swear I would feel like Alice in Wonderland in one of her houses, spooked by the giant hands, feet unable to touch the floor from any of the overstuffed 1970s chairs.

Go Fug Yourself is my favorite blog. At lunch I try not to drop crumbs on my computer and go through a list of ten or 12, looking for something to pause upon. I have had past fixations on Design*Sponge, ApartmentTherapy, Brownstoner. I always check my employers, Architect’s Newspaper, D-Crit, Design Observer, New York Magazine. Currently I am losing interest in Remodelista — love their taste, but does one need to look at a light gray interior every single day? Swiss Miss has a nice mix of art and commerce, and a crisp site design I love. Still liking Vulture, except for all the coverage of TV shows I don’t watch. And I have to check Curbed.

But the Fug Girls always make me stop. It is the combination of visual and words, the feeling that whatever my reaction to the celebrity outfit in question, they will say that and more and better, with an avalanche of pop-culture references and a couple of cross-references. They have good memories. Celebrity chatter is my guilty pleasure, but the Fug Girls call the puffery to account. No, she does not look good. No, American will never love her. Yes, we can see your Botox. The acid is so refreshing. And yet we know they are still fans. 

That’s what I want from my design blogs (among other things), but I can’t find it. I feel trapped in the vacuum of enthusiasm.

It is nice to be part of a supportive community, especially in a downturn. And there is a lot of beautiful work out there. But the economics and tempo of blogging mean that most design sites present us with pictures of up to ten beautiful things per day. The text is often just a tweaked press release. I am not sure what I am supposed to do with this, beyond a second’s admiration. If I happened to be looking for wallpaper, or tea towels, or a new poster, I might click through to buy, but most of it just passes unprocessed before my eyes. In most cases the beautiful things are only passing before the eyes of the blog editors, too. The proliferation of design blogs means few designers can send samples of the real thing.

Architecture, too, is commented upon as rendering, and then as architectural photography, but only sometimes as experienced. With ten posts a day, how could you go see things? But design and architecture are supposed to solve problems. Design and architecture have a history. Design and architecture are not seen, or used, or made in a vacuum. How can we have design criticism, even design journalism, having never touched or used or experienced the design? We can’t. All we can be is enthusiastic.

I think something has to change in design and architecture blogs. The magazines that used to provide some of the content I discuss below are gone. That means no one to pay the writers, but also a loss of long-form criticism, institutional memory and expertise. As Luke Hayman has suggested the iPad may provide an ideal platform for the digital magazine, with more photos and more room to write. I can only hope he is correct, and advertisers are attracted to a model that recombines more different kinds of design stories in one place. My suggestions fall into three rough categories: criticism, history, experience.

Criticism

Be meaner. On the front page of my ideal design blog is a daily fugging of something from the world of visual culture. That’s essentially what Unhappy Hipsters is doing for Dwell, or more specifically, for Dwell’s preferred mode of architectural photography. But I can tell they are already tiring of their limited field — the captions are getting wordier, generally a sign of weariness. Or Pr*tty Sh*tty for advertising but again, I think he might be getting tired. A rotating cast of bloggers, each tasked with a different visual field, could provide the morning hit of acid I crave. The internet creates much more opportunity for short and shallow and funny (as well as long and thought-provoking and serious). Remember the instant viral jokes about the iPad? Not to bite the hand that feeds (only in the digital sense), but sometimes this site can be a little snoozy. More criticism and shorter criticism might give it something readers had to look at every day. As I tell my students, when you are primarily writing a sweet review, it is important to add a dash of pepper. Love doesn’t mean you have to love everything.

The short format might also broaden the perception of the field of design criticism, and mess up the categories of design. Magazines have traditionally had to differentiate and categorize themselves. Now that they are all gone, I think the future lies in writing about design as it appears in life — the houses in TV shows, the architecture behind the cars, the selling of architects as personalities. I loved all the discussions of the faux-denim Olympic snowboarder outfits, which migrated from the sports pages to various design blogs. There is a subset of (mostly male) writers and designers that seem to take special pleasure in re-inserting sports into a world typically dominated by cultural pursuits. For most people interested in design, there’s no need to segregate uniforms in the sports section and advertising on the business blogs.

There are plenty of products that it would be horrifying to review in one paragraph. Buildings, for example, once built, need to be taken seriously and treated at greater length. They aren’t just trotted out for the Oscars, and, as Paul Goldberger has said, “Nobody tears down a building if the architecture critic doesn't like it.” There need to be more architecture and design critics given 1000 words or more to review buildings, and a platform to show their work to readers. Maybe new buildings of note could be reviewed by two or three people, an exercise I always include in my criticism classes. Maybe we need to forget about buildings and review transformed neighborhoods. This would be the long-form part of the blog, for which the daily dose of poison serves as a kind of loss leader.

History

It seems like there is so much to see on the internet. Hundreds of images on Flickr. Tens of new products every day. But after a while, all those things start to look the same. Most of the home design blogs have a particular sensibility which, once absorbed, can be numbing. How many multi-color letterpress alphabet posters does one need to see?

To a historian, many of the new things also start to look old. As with fashion, much of design is recycled. I had thought the web would provide a perfect opportunity for annotation. Love that Jonathan Adler cushion? Then you will love bargello needlepoint patterns from the 1960s. Love the new angular blonde chairs at West Elm? Check out Jens Risom. In general, due to lack of time, or ignorance, or not caring, no one ever name checks the inspiration. The blog Nothing Is New, which mines the archives of various institutions, promises some of this excavation, but offers more visual adjacencies than historical insight. I fear the design consumer today has knowledge only five years deep.

If you went searching online for similar work, suspecting a past connection, you’d never be able to find it. Most designers only have a few recurrent images connected to their name. I found this out when I did research on Alexander Girard and Warren Platner. There are a fair number of fan posts on Girard, but they tend to focus on his flashiest work: La Fonda del Sol, the textiles for Herman Miller, Braniff Airlines. You would never know Girard was an architect who designed a number of houses, as well as a designer and curator of exhibitions, and a man who knew when not to use color. Warren Platner was an even sadder case, Google Image-wise, known mostly for his wire chair series for Knoll. After my essay about him ran on Design Observer, Apartment Therapy stepped into the breach.

Sight Unseen has begin a series of excerpts of new design monographs, a lovely gesture that may well cannibalize the already small market for the monograph. I wonder if our collective visual literacy might be equally well served by judicious slideshows from monographs of the past, particularly cultish, expensive ones like Ten by Warren Platner. I wish more people could experience Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York in its original picture-book form. I wish more people could experience I.D. magazine, as designed by Alvin Lustig in the 1950s. Flickr provides some of this, but spottily, and at will. A nice verbal career summary, better than Platner’s dreadful Times obituary, would also help. I don’t necessarily care where an architect went to school, I want to know why I should know him or her.

On Slate, Witold Rybczynski often does reviews in the form of slideshows, with historical references, but they lack a pop sensibility and audience. Along with slideshows with more work of individual artists, I’d like to see more slideshows showing the evolution of a type, or a product, or an individual’s work. Could we make it harder for designers to be reduced to a single image? Maybe this sounds like telling design bloggers and readers to eat their Wheaties. It need not be all history lessons, all the time, just a judicious sprinkling of fiber. In truth, I think people would find the old eye-candy as appealing (if not more so) than the new.

Experience

Lack of experience is a big a problem on architecture blogs, where all the interested parties are mostly talking about renderings and not built works, or photographs and not visited buildings. But it is a problem for product, home, interior design blogs too. Many exist solely to publicize products. The blogger has selected the product to showcase, but in most cases, their judgment is entirely based on an image. Items like tea towels, or cards, or bedding can fairly easily be evaluated in 2D — they had to invent thread count so we wouldn’t need to feel the fabric ourselves — but there are plenty of other consumer goods that some company is always reinventing, and not always for the best.

We need Consumer Reports for design products. Not everything, but at least those fetish objects that go viral without a single touch, or lift, or test drive. There’s nothing inherently dull about this category, as recent fine examples of the genre include Nicholson Baker on the Kindle in the New Yorker, and Julia Turner on Penn Station signage on Slate. It seems significant to me that both these pieces happened in non-design publications: usability is a category that could be a bridge from the rest of the world to the design world. I am afraid that people looking for critiques of garbage cans, cellphones, wayfinding won’t find it on most design blogs. They will just find cuter cans, cells, signs. Design blogs tend to lapse male or female, toward gadgets or wallpaper. A few consumer reports might help to bridge the gender gap, since, while I am not interested in gadgets per se, I would love someone to explain why I need a smartphone. 

This idea is born out of my own experience with the Jasper Morrison coffee maker for Rowenta. For a year or so, it was everywhere: design magazines, gift guides, stores like Moss and MoMA. I was remodeling my kitchen at the time, and had this crazy idea that I would have only two things on the countertops: the most minimal coffee maker and the most minimal toaster oven. (I didn’t have a kid yet.) My husband bought me the coffee maker for Christmas, and I immediately noticed that the handle and pour spout were a light gray rather than white. Oh, I thought, Morrison has cleverly specified a different plastic so they won’t get stained with coffee like my last carafe. Alas, no. I still don’t know why the plastic is gray. But it is certainly coffee stained. It is also hard to rotate the top with one thumb in order to pour your coffee (when the carafe is piping hot, you don’t want to set it down and use two hands). When I saw the new Bodum kitchen appliances posted — so orange, so adorable — I just thought, here we go again.

There’s something deeply ironic about the green design blogs showing ten new things a day. New and recycled is still new. Ironic in the same way a 10,000 square foot green house is ironic. But even the design blogs without an explicit political agenda generally have an undercurrent of unbleached cotton-locavore sentiment. Offering recipes and D.I.Y. projects gets around this problem to a certain extent, but there is still something unsettling about incessant consumerism even of handmade, locally-sourced, upcycled products. To show more things you can’t buy (like Reference Library, more historical and/or contextual slideshows, and more creative and active assemblies of things seen would mitigate this issue. And I suspect provide more fodder for discussion, the lifeblood of the blog. When I read a comment thread that essentially says “Cute!” 40 times, I wonder why I bother.

I want to give full credit to the men and women who were there first, and established some of the most popular, provocative and adorable blogs. It is wonderful that there is a design and architecture community online. But now the launch moment is over. Some bloggers have managed to establish themselves as stand-alone brands, and some magazines have managed to create online channels that stand alone. But the design magazines that helped to popularize the original design blogs (by providing content and then providing publicity) are gone. And the bloggers themselves can no longer rely on the magazines to provide insta-criticism, research, and product testing to comment upon. That makes for less diversity and scale of discourse, and over the long run, less good writing and less history.

Am I alone in wanting something to take the place of a magazine, to bring the atomized content together, long and short, visual and wordy, historical and of-this-minute? Maybe it is a digital-only magazine, using the new platform of the iPad (but then I wouldn’t be able to read it). Maybe it is a super-blog, an all-star coagulator of content from those writers made online and those (like me) that have been driven there. I think there would be power in assembly.




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Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.

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Comments [38]
Although I aspire to achieve that delicate balance between acidity and puffery (the Fug Girls are also my design criticism heroes), dare I say after this piece and the Nicolai takedown that you, Alexandra, are the change we've been looking for?
Alissa Walker
03.29.10
10:31

i keep reading this post over because it is so good. i am pretty new to design blogging (i'm also a student @NYSID) and this post is inspiring as all get out. thank you!
eloise
03.29.10
10:54

Great post. I'm finding more measured and critical responses on--would you believe it--twitter. Maybe there's something to 140 characters that frees us to be more real, sceptical & contextual--simultaneously. How to expand on that (or whether one should), I'm not sure.
Denise Ramzy
03.29.10
11:26

It feels like we're in a sad dip where the magazines are dying and the digital hasn't grown up yet. I hope long form can make a serious go of it on the web but even on the iPad I am a bit nervous.
Mike
03.29.10
11:29

Kudos on sewing a much needed seed. I sincerely hope this will be re-tweeted to distraction ... after which we can all take a long, thoughtful pause before our next posting, whatever that may be.

Sharp and thoughtful. Thank you.
Luca
03.29.10
11:32

Great post.
Reminds me of the recent (and endless) critiques surrounding the forthcoming iPad -a lot of conjecture at this point, underscoring your point: "How can we have design criticism, even design journalism, having never touched or used or experienced the design? We can’t."

On the topic of experience, I wonder, is the lack of experience on architecture blogs merely a reflection of younger designers and students blogging more than the seasoned pros?
Darryl Jonckheere
03.29.10
12:44

As long as publishers dissemble about circ and sites like DO don't talk bluntly (Quancast estimates 1900 visitors daily) about audience, it's just a firing squad sitting in a circle. There are probably what, 80 'notable' names in design writing and criticism? Another 200-300 academics, part timers, lesser lights, etc. And then probably a couple hundred bloggers of various stripes. So about a thousand people a day give some consideration about writing thoughtfully about design. And at one of the pre-eminent design sites? 1,900 readers? Anyone see a problem with this math?
Miss Representation
03.29.10
01:13

Cute!
Jay
03.29.10
02:38

A long, considered online essay on an intellectual site, advocating for more negative, tabloid-style design journalism, followed by a stream of positive, approving comments.

Alexandra, I think your vacuum of enthusiasm has a pretty tight seal.
Jacques Krzepkowski
03.29.10
03:29

Alexandra,

first of all thanks for sharing your eye-opening and well-written article.

I'm glad that more people have this general feeling of 'numbness' every time they visit design blogs in general: how much social icon-sets do we need?!

A great article about this is also written by Brain Cay, see the article: http://briancray.com/2010/03/16/mainstream-blogging-age-of-crap/

My guess is that the urge to 'monatize blogs' is the main problem of the 'numbness' we see on the leading design blogs. Just writing quantity for the ads-revenues and no quality writing anymore for the readers!

Once again thanks for this great article, Cheers & Ciao ..

Gonzo the Great
03.29.10
03:48

I stopped going to sites like Swiss Miss for this very reason. It seems that lately, just because something is well made than it deserves it's internet parade, around Twitterville and Facebook Ave, etc. All context is lost. The design is "nice" therefore it "is."

I think a good example of what you're asking for is Under Consideration's Brand New blog, which strikes a nice balance between cutting criticism and deserved admiration, all in short, well-thought posts.
André Mora
03.29.10
04:06

So what's going on here? Is it paid writing that brings out the good stuff? Is the internet making everything ahistorical? I don't blame some blogs...I like some of the blogs a lot. I think if I were getting objects in the mail from interesting studios I would grateful and uncritical in my postings about their stuff! A new blog/mag form would be great, huh? Or new blogs?

Maybe interior design is to blame for everything. I've enjoyed Apartment Therapy more than Design*sponge 'cause it doesn't forget a reader like me who might want some practical and function info. To quote the commenter above me: "just because something is well made than it deserves it's internet parade" .. I don't think you even need that! It just has to look nice for some "design" blogs. It's so funny...we have this whole huge area of eco-bullshit and cutesy designer stuff these days. Maybe I'm just not good with home decor. I can't afford a lot of that stuff.

Oh, and since we're talking coffee makers.. I'd just like to say that I love my Eva Zeisel for Chantal tea kettle (as seen in MoMA Design Store several years back) BUT it has a brushed metal exterior that is like Flypaper to any cooking oil within 50 ft. ..and a pain to clean.

I'm going to go clutch a throw pillow that has a silhouetted picture of birds sitting on a telephone wire now.

:)
Peter A Jacobson
03.29.10
05:22

You put into words many of the same thoughts I've had about design and lifestyle blogs lately.

What worked a few years ago (pretty! cute! check it out!) is not working now, and most of the blogs I used to frequent are little more than content aggregators with a glorified sentence and a link.

It's easy to sit back and let someone else's beautiful photos, beautiful products and beautiful design make your own blog look pretty, but without substance to back it up, what's the point?



nichole
03.29.10
05:33

We do design crirticism on www.HotelDesigns.net in our Reviews and miniviews of hotels. Certainly operators are sometimes nervous or upset as Rezidor were with our Review of their new Missoni http://su.pr/3BaZ3c. We do visit and stay. We do judge design against functionality. We do try to have a global vision.

We go further. Articles such as that on colour ( http://su.pr/4vs3O3 ) look at the underpinnings of design. We provide eye candy too (our Gallery in the DesignClub has over 13,500 images of hotel interiors) and video. The aim is to inform (daily bits on new products) challenge, stimulate and hopefully educate. We look back ( a series on the Bauhaus). We advise ('Ask the Experts' columns), invite comment but also provide videos and pix for those who never learned to read.

Unfortunately much design thinking is shallow. Design Management (an area we are starting a new series of articels on) is not understood. Branding (yes we have a series of articles on that too) in design terms is only shallowly understood.

As you say most regurgitate the Pr. I include magazines in that category. But ask yourself - do most just deliver what the audeince wants?
Patrick Goff
03.30.10
07:35

Oh and by the way over 70,000 visits a months. Yesterday over 3,150 visitors to the site read over 22.000 pages of information. We get 155,000 uniques a year of whom 86,000 become repeat readers. (just for Miss Representation)
Patrick Goff
03.30.10
07:40

I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this article, but wonder about the advice to "be meaner."

Snarkiness may be entertaining when talking about red carpet fashion, but I think what you're really asking for is more intelligence, not mean-ness. Criticism doesn't have to be negative to be insightful or enjoyable. But it's easier to push someone else down than it is to build yourself up (as a critic), so maybe that's why we see a lot of trash talk and cheap shots.

Design critique tends to be either overly surface or overly intellectual and removed from common interaction. I'd love to see more populist views of design, such as the articles you cited in your Experience section.
Kirk Roberts
03.30.10
09:51

Thanks for giving voice to my disappointment with the entire design/architecture online world. I can't bear the thoughtless aggregators and sites that champion the most superficial and solely visual aspects of buildings and design. The echo chamber of design blogs makes them particularly hollow.

Mark Gerwing
03.30.10
10:55

Thank you so much for the excellent article! I recently started a blog about live experience design (events, spectacles, retail, exhibitions, etc) - dandeeXD - with the goal of discussing both the good and bad of each experience as a way to improve my own efforts and share with others. It's still new and a work in progress but I've fallen for the traps of ease or enthusiasm several times already. This article reminds me to stick with the original vision to analyze and critique experiences rather than merely make mention or be a "fan". )You caught me early. Thanks for the kick in the butt.
DeAnne Millais
03.30.10
11:37

No, that's a crap idea.
Nicholas
http://www.logoclump.com/
Nick W.
03.30.10
02:07

To agglomerate is a bad idea. Look at the DO! What was before an interesting visual culture blog is now a everything blog, with a lot of "green" posts, 2000 posts per day, 5 comments on each and only occasionally interesting... like this one.
John McCurry
03.31.10
04:45

I love the idea of a super blog!
Cathy Mason
03.31.10
05:30

I'm a residential architect who produces a blog which I prefer to think of as an online magazine. It's called House Enthusiast http://www.katiehutchison.com/house-enthusiast/. With it I aim to fill the gap between design blogs that are product focused and architecture blogs that dwell on starchitecture.

Sure, much of the content is enthusiastic, but I intend for it to be analytical yet accessible, informative yet inspiring.

You might be interested in a post I did about the demise of shelter magazines http://www.katiehutchison.com/house-enthusiast/demise-of-shelter-magazines.html or, on a somewhat tarter note, a post I wrote about touring the Gropius House http://www.katiehutchison.com/house-enthusiast/gropius-house.html.

If you're so inclined, I hope you'll check out my "Recommended posts" in the navigation bar of my site. You might find some of what you're looking for there.

Thanks for bringing the state of the design/architecture blogosphere to the attention of DO readers.



Katie Hutchison
03.31.10
09:08

I'm glad to find someone else who shares what I thought was my own secret vice, a love of the "Go Fug Yourself" blog ("Oh Honey, No!"). It delivers great design criticism, just not about anything that we generally catagorize as design, but which certainly "contributes" to the visual culture.
I do have a question for Alexadra Lange, in regards to her recommendation to "Be Meaner:" I'm wondering what you think of the effect of something like the DO Comments policy, which was formally articulated when the DO site expanded into its current form. I have noticed that the comments posted on DO now do generally conform to the DO policy requesting, brevity and no meanness. And now the comments are, in general, more concise, more civilized but maybe not as passionately engaged or "of the minute" as the some of the old (of course, anonymous) posters seemed to be. Does the comments policy has anything to do with this? (And of course the policy says nothing about the contributors).
Lorraine Wild
03.31.10
12:03

There seems to be a lot of heat around my words "Be meaner." I meant meanness backed up by the facts, visual or otherwise, and hoped that this piece and my previous one on Nicolai Ouroussoff showed a way to be critical without being personal. It is a rhetorical fillip, more striking than "Be more critical." I don't regret it but I see that it could be taken in some unconstructive directions.

I think the problem with anonymous comments has traditionally been personal meanness. DO comments seem to me to be in transition, some people sign their names, some don't, some people are contributors/friends of DO, some aren't. As John McCurry noted, new DO is different than the old DO, and I agree the comments used to be more fun. Can that really be just because of the policy?

While I am here, I have to say to Miss Representation: If what you say is true, that is depressing, and no design blog of the kind I describe could succeed in paying anyone. I guess I am a utopian, and still believe the audience could grow beyond the design world if the content were more varied/pointed/funny/practical.
Alexandra Lange
03.31.10
12:32

"The acid is so refreshing." why is being acidic and snark refreshing?

ugh, i hate this attitude!
Why is being positive suspect?
I agree with most of your article, but I honestly I don't understand how or why you would use the "go fug yourself" blog as an example.
curious to know?
03.31.10
12:46


A parallel might be found in the proliferation of "design inspiration" sites that collate images—usually denatured of any evidence of their context or the process that resulted in them—and offer them in vast aggregations. Many of these—But Does It Float, Reference Library, this site's "Today's Images" series—are lovingly chosen and presented, but among dozens of others, they act in concert to add to a towering heap of under-identified and under-examined visuals. Images on the Internet—perfectly flat, 72-dpi—already have so little dimension that the absence of provenance impoverishes them almost beyond value.

The absence of physicality and the abandonment of worldly concerns or explicit artistic constraints combined with torrential profusion also unseats the most essential sense of the designed object's meaning—why did this come to exist?—and replaces it with a recitation of contemporary tics and fetishes. (Alexandra mentions Remodelista's light grey walls; cf., white British paperbacks set in Helvetica). Because of this, rather than serving as a sources of inspiration, they instead cultivate superficial fashions—and just as quickly exhaust them. An endless stream of disembodied images rarely seems capable of widening one's palette; more often the experience is cloying oversaturation.

There are too few sites like Peter Mendelsund's Jacket Mechanical, which flips back through the book designer's process of arriving at a visual idea; or the Accidental Mysteries blog, which, even when unsuccessful at giving a comprehensive scope to the work being discussed, at least is sure to establish its origins. A greater quantity of criticism of visual culture--of the "be mean" type and the purely explicatory or evaluative--would certainly be welcome, but even before that I feel like it's necessary to remind ourselves that design does not meaningfully exist independent of the circumstances that led to it.
zbsachs
03.31.10
01:38

I think that one of the things that is going on here is that there are two communities, design historian and writers - who think in images and words - and designers, who mostly just think in images.

I get just as exasperated with the picture and single-sentence blog, but that's because I'm definitely one of the former, it's just not interesting enough for me. So I'm writing reams of design history and comment about posters (vintageposterblog.com). But the images keep getting disseminated across the web with the single-word comments. Neat. Cool. Etc. That's the designers at work; they don't really want to say anything about whatever it is they're looking at, they just want to take it, think about it, appropriate it, share it. But not write words about it.

The problem (if that's what it is) is that the designers outnumber the critics and historians by a ratio that I can't even begin to imagine. So most design blogs are just going to be images, and those of us who like words are just going to have to huddle in our niches (if I find more than 100 people who are interested in vintage posters enough to read the tons of stuff I spool out, I will be very surprised) and get on with it.
Crownfolio
03.31.10
02:09

There are numerous things that this article brings up that must be acknowledged, but the first that comes to mind is "Isn't this completely fair criticism of traditional printed design writing too?" I know as new online business models appear and more professional writers move online there will be the traditional potshot at the new medium and its "unprofessionalism" and different idea of standards, but can't we say—and haven't we been saying for years—that design writing as a whole needs a serious boost from, well, someone somewhere?
Derrick Schultz
03.31.10
09:41

An interesting online essay; you have a number of thought-provoking ideas and points of view. I can't say that I agree with everything you say, but that's just fine. What surprises me the most, however, is that you say that you're a writer; your essay is rather poorly written and you are in dire need of an editor.

Well, no one is perfect. Keep up the effort, though; your ideas are more interesting than most of what one sees on the internet, or, formerly, in print.

One last little comment, if I may...Apartment Therapy is, frankly, abysmal.
Pol
04.02.10
03:44

otto-ed: In Defense of Design Blogs
http://www.otto-otto.com/2010/04/otto-ed-in-defense-of-design-blogs/
Jean Lin
04.02.10
04:04

True that unfettered enthusiasm does not reach the same analytical crescendo as criticism and snarkiness seem to. However, I think ebullient appreciation for the time, talent or work that goes into making a beautiful and/or useful [something] is invaluable.

Designers have reached a point where they no longer have to persistently explain the complexities of what they do or prove their worth to the development of society. Design is about communication and the design bloggers seem to have gotten the message and they “love it!”.
Julia
04.09.10
12:55

Chris Weingarten on music criticism at the 140 Characters Conference this week: http://bit.ly/crw140 Similar themes, issues with blogs. It's worth checkin', about 10 minutes long. Pitchfork Media sucks.
Peter A Jacobson
04.23.10
07:30

I agree. Totally. I'm so tired of the sugar coating. I'm not a design blogger. I'm a culture generalist. I can be mean, though not mean enough. By mean I mean critical. I'm going to take your advice as support.

I do think you'd like my blog though, so I'm going to link it, and thank you for the opportunity.

http:www.seesaw.typepad.com

"I have such strong and subjective responses to typefaces that I once asked a business to stop sharing retail space with me because I couldn't bear the typeface they used on their sign. I'm sure my reputation will never be totally repaired, but I just couldn't stand it."
liza
04.23.10
10:07

Decorno (on blogspot) did this for a while before it shut down; her ongoing "Things that are Wrong" series was brilliant and the tone of that blog a genuinely worthy analogue to the Fug Girls.

Mirror Mirror (on typepad) wrote a GENIUS takedown of Lonny Magazine's aesthetic cliches, titled, I believe, "The Art of Arranging Clutter on Trays"; I bookmarked the site and kept going back for more, but sadly that arch acidity never reappeared on that blog.
chrisbean
05.20.10
10:44

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
I feel most design/tech blogs have become a big catalog...
Am glad the "internets" is pretty big.
It's not digital scrapbooking, you gotta have sthg to say...
Monk
05.20.10
01:59

What's funny about Design*Sponge is that Grace, the editor, will defend her pretty posts tooth-and-nail the second someone has anything contrary to say. Just read the commentary on her recent Pancake Breakfast post.

http://tinyurl.com/yf8nz8u

I enjoyed the ripples that this catfight sent through Grace's pretty existence, but really enjoyed that someone threw some acid her way and she didn't handle it very, well, GRACEFULLY. As the editor, I would have liked to see Grace handle the situation with a little more diplomacy and maturity. Now that would be the sign of a TRUE editor, one who understands that not everything, no matter how lovely and aspirational, is going to be received with open arms. She's running a public forum for god's sake. Be a moderator, not a dictator.

Jayden
05.20.10
05:30

The face of the landlord post, I was shocked almost could not move, the landlord want that paper out of the generous split, so that I could not help but actually turned again and again the landlord posts, read each time, feelings of appreciation on the number of excited long points, I always wonder if God and flexible in its scenery of mulberry outlet the mulberry sale exterior, and even meat can make people do not know in March, people mulberry bags have to wear lingering beams, three days without a break feel. Landlord, you write really great. The only thing I can do, only put this post up this thing. The face of the landlord post, I was shocked almost could not move, the landlord want that paper out of the generous split, so that I could not help but actually turned again and again the landlord posts, read each time, feelings of appreciation on the number of excited long points, I always wonder if God and flexible in its scenery of mulberry outlet the mulberry sale exterior, and even meat can make people do not know in March, people mulberry bags have to wear lingering beams, three days without a break feel. Landlord, you write really great. The only thing I can do, only put this post up this thing.
prada112
08.16.11
03:27

So Alexandra, where is this blog of yours? It's been what, a year? If nothing else I expect a brutal takedown of the Oscars set.
zbs
02.08.12
09:59



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