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Design Notes is Five Today | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Design Notes is Five Today

Design Notes is Five Today


When I started sharing ideas five years ago I had no idea where the blog would eventually take me. Today as I type away in my apartment in NYC I look back to wonder if I hadn’t bothered to test a new personal way to publish where would I’d be. Would I still be in Edmonton, maybe a different city in Canada? Where would I be working? Who would I be able to call a friend? Would I have the confidence to test theories & concepts out and not worry when others try finding fault in it? It’s hard to say. What I do know is that I’ve been able to put myself in the position of my choosing because of a simple publish button and the fact that from time to time people find what I have to say valuable enough to spend a couple minutes with.

Now that online publishing is so ubiquitous it is easy to take it for granted. Within minutes a person can start distributing ideas. Considering how long it took for the first printing press it still surprises me that anyone wouldn’t want to test things out for themselves. When I first started that’s pretty much why I signed up for a Blogger account (and eventually merged versioned to WordPress). I figured as a designer that I needed to know how people were starting to communicate outside of the traditional print medium. I still remember checking my analytics the day after my interview about Target ClearRx. The number of people searching out more information because there was none except for a couple posts was truly amazing. Now on Twitter when a press release goes out about Tiger Woods giving a public statement it is echoing within a couple minutes.

I still believe that any digital element that isn’t tied to a permalink will eventually die. If someone can’t share that piece with someone else, how much value is there? No one can find it, no one can add their own commentary, and no one can decide when the right moment is for them to interact with it. While I don’t think everything should be public and walled gardens serve a purpose along the same lines that every email doesn’t need to be read to the world, I sometimes wonder if people realize how much energy is lost because the conversation can never be fully extended.

In terms of discipline for exploration and the idea of iteration, building, editing and extending ideas, waking up almost every morning to put a couple sentences together has been something that’s felt natural to me after I stopped thinking about it. Everyone should experiment with an online publishing tool as they’ll find the right structure and elements to put together as a learning experience. Where will things take me next? One guess would be to put some of those digital elements on to paper. An upgrade of my WordPress version is another guarantee. Maybe extend interviews to events… I’ll keep posting away testing things and when something sticks I’ll extend it a bit further.

And for you that’s checked in from time to time to see what I’ve been up to—thanks. I’ve appreciated it more than you could assume.

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  • http://www.davidairey.com/ David Airey

    Quite the milestone, Michael. Especially given the average lifespan of blogs.

    Good on you for coming this far, and for making the most of your online voice.

    Here's to another five years.

  • http://itellstories.org Sameer Vasta

    Congrats on five years! I've been around for at least three of them, and look forward to many, many more.

  • http://serialconsign.com Greg J. Smith

    Congrats Michael! Your writing is still amongst my favourite for adopting a “this is what I'm doing and I'm genuinely interested in” tone that is earnest, exploratory and very much in the world. So many design blogs come across as elaborate ongoing PR stunts – keep being authentic and watch out for those folks who heckle you for posting images of text. 😉

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    Thanks guys!

  • paulopereira

    Congrats Michael! Keep up the good work.

  • purrsikat

    Hey! I didn't see this til today!!! Whhaaaat?!

    Anyway, happy b'day DesignNotes… well done & keep up the good work Mr. Surtees! 😀