A quick rant about design blogs and one good photo blog link

Bag News Notes

I think this post is going to start off as a bit of a rant towards design blogs in general. I’m tired of seeing blog posts with the same “stuff” that a million other design blogs have already covered, I’m tired of going to some blogs that seem to be happy to promote one or two studios every time they sneeze, I’m tired of people publishing interviews with the same “personalities” over and over again. If people want to promote their friends (I do it myself) treat it that way and don’t pretend to be speaking for the entire design community. Sadly I can not think of one single design blog that has a critical eye that I’m not somewhat skeptical about with their intentions when writing. If you know of a blog that isn’t like that please send it my way.

The reason why I wanted to mention that was A. I’ve been thinking about that for a long time, and B. b/c it seems like the only place where I’m actually learning anything new in terms of thought is from photo blogs. Perhaps b/c I’m not really in that industry I don’t see the political BS that I can smell a mile away from other design blogs. One such photo blog that I came across recently is BAGnewsNotes at www.bagnewsnotes.com After reading a couple posts you’ll look at photographs differently – I know I did. When was the last time you could say that about a design blog?

Here’s more info on BAGnewsNotes: “a progressive blog dedicated to the political, psychological and media analysis of news images, and the support of “concerned” photojournalism.”

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  • http://wemadethis.typepad.com Alistair Hall

    Hey there Michael. There seem to be two sorts of design blogs out there – one sort that just points at things and says “Look, this is nice!” and leaves it at that (you could call them the point and drool sites), and the other that says “Look, this is interesting, and here’s why…” and provides commentary and analysis.

    The latter is the sort of blog we like, and try to be. The former is okay in its own way, but yep, we agree, it can all get a bit cannibalistic, especially when the stuff being highlighted has just been cut and pasted from another blog. (And sites like http://ffffound.com/ seem to cover the image-only route perfectly well on their own.)

    Our rule of thumb is that we always try to bring something new to the attention of our readers, and to provide useful links so that they can go and explore further. And I think there are a lot of other design sites out there work on a similar principle. It’s just that they’re outnumbered by the point and drool sites.

  • http://designnotes.info/ michael

    Hey Alistair – I think you’re pretty accurate about the two typical types of design blogs out there. Both of them do have a place. Swissmiss http://swissmiss.typepad.com/ is a good example of the first one while Serial Consign http://serialconsign.com/ could be placed in your latter group. (I also enjoy We Made This http://wemadethis.typepad.com/ too of course).

    With my blanket statement rant, the one thing that I should have also included was that my disappointment comes mostly from design blogs in North America which is in a state of star struckedness. It’s as if there is complete blindness towards people that may be able to help themselves out in the future. It’s just kind of sad that people can’t think outside of their own interests. Of course I could be the one that is completely out of touch and everyone out there is just best buddies. From what I’ve seen from design blogs outside of North America the design worshiping isn’t nearly as bad.

  • http://mocoloco.com Harry

    Michael, I’d like to think that MoCo Loco has a smaller proportion of the same stuff (except Saturdays!). I believe what you are referring to is original content. We do our own coverage of design shows, we just did IMM Cologne and are about to start Maison Objet, and we also do interviews with up and coming designers who have yet to become stars. I agree the format is light, but the current media economics make it so… it’s the reason the magazines do the long format and provide the depth. Most design blogs are one-man/woman shows.

  • chris

    I’d have to agree with you about the point and drool sites. They can be fun to look at but it gets annoying when all the design blogs have all the same content within a few days of each other. I’ve also found that these sites can be quite slow on their postings as I have seen some of their posts on social networking sites days and weeks before the point and drools post them.

    I wonder if this is a good analogy for the design world? How much of design out in the world is nothing more than xeroxing trends vs. how much original thought is put out there. If anything its reflective of the design culture.

  • http://www.1934.cc Callie

    Man, I hear what you’re saying! That’s why my design blog is now mostly a dog blog (albeit a designer dog blog – those sleek, minimalist Weimaraners! – just the same). There are too many design blogs all trying to be the same thing/reach for the same ring.

    I like visiting SwissMiss every once in a while but I always come away feeling like such a consumer. I mean, most of that stuff is pretty cool, but is it really NECESSARY? I mean, how many of the world’s resources are wasted producing what is, in essence, just useless crap? And while Design Observer can be interesting, the incessant self-important, navel-gazing of many of its posts is just downright nauseating. When I visit, I usually just check out the “Observed” section.

    Anyway, I had to change my blog URL and am waiting for the CNAME settings on Dotster to take effect before I can map my new domain. I hope you’ll update the link to my blog from yours! I do get traffic via DesignNotes sometimes….

  • http://www.magnetstudio.com Jon

    I only update my blog when I see something interesting. Not because I feel the need to pump rubbish through it on a daily basis, and that, I think, improves the content.

    http://www.magnetstudio.com/words/

  • theosoft

    Thanks for the beautiful design blog.