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Blogging | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees


Steve Portigal, a fellow Canadian and instructor at CCA passed me on to Katie, a student wondering about bloggers and blogging for a future project she’s doing. Here’s how the intereview has progressed so far. It kind of gives insight into why I do what I do here.

Kate Bailey: What is the name of your blog?

Michael Surtees: The name has evolved at bit. First it was d*notes, then it became design*notes, then I switched it to SidewalkPressed and now I’m back to design*notes. http://sidewalkpressed.com/

KB: When are you bogging?

MS: Usually in the morning before ll am, once in a while it will be later in the evening after 10 pm.

KB: How often do you post?

MS: I try to post at least once a day, though I tend to try to take a break on the weekends.

KB: How does a post start, where does that impetus come from?

MS: Usually it comes from me thinking about something that has caught my attention, though sometimes I feel the need to just get something off my chest. Essentially it’s something that I feel is important to mention and I haven’t seen it floating around the blogosphere.

KB: How did you start blogging?

MS: There were two reasons. I didn’t really have any expectations about blogging in the beginning, so I just wanted to try it out and see where it would lead. I also wanted to create an archive of links that I found interesting and was looking for a method to remember them. I thought a blog might help.

KB: Who’s your blog for?

MS: First and foremost it’s for me, having the opportunity to publish what ever I want is something that I think is really cool. The wider audience is people interested in the idea of design, though they might not be designers themselves. I wanted to get away from the traditional design blog that talks about what sucks. I wanted to explore the notion that design as an idea is much broader than what the design media (ie. magazines) tell people it is. It’s not just about fake fame, expensive products or awards. But with that said I will post stuff that isn’t even close to being related to design. It is for me after all.

KB: What did you imagine that you’d accomplish by blogging?

MS: When I first started I didn’t know what I was getting into. I’ve been blogging since February of 2005 and a number of cool things have happened. I got my design job in NYC b/c of it, I’ve been interviewed in a Canadian design magazine, meet some really cool people and it’s helping me just think about things better.

KB: What do you post? Photos, text, podcasts?

MS: I’m at the point where I try to post an image from Flickr that I’ve shot to illustrate the post, though once in a while I’ll grab an image from the site that I’m talking about. In the beginning I was relying heavily on other people’s images. I’ll talk about podcast’s and video’s once in a while, but it isn’t my primary focus. I also helped organize a number of design lectures and had them filmed. Those are viewable from my blog.

KB: Do you always post form one computer, or from wherever you are?

MS: I typically post from my laptop (MacBook Pro), whether at work or home. Before my laptop I would either blog on my home computer (iMac) or at work (Mac G5 Tower). With my laptop I rarely post outside or in a coffee shop. I don’t find it comfortable to think and type in public. I also get a lot of ideas reacting to what I’ve just read, or recognized a pattern. Those type of things come together when I’m at home.

KB: Do you use a blogging client or a web interface?

MS: I use a template from Word Press, but I’m in the process of redesigning my blog. My first blog came from blogger, but graduated to something a little bit stronger.

KB: What tools do you use to blog? Digital camera, scanner, recording device, pen and paper?

MS: I have a couple camera’s I use: Nikon D70s, a Canon PowerShot SD550, even the camera on my Treo cell phone. I’ve never used a scanner. Once in a while pen and paper and then I’ll take a picture of it. I haven’t really used sound or video yet. Word Press and YouTube don’t seem to play well, so I don’t post a lot of those videos. I also use tracking software to understand how many people are coming to my site, from what location and what they are looking at.

KB: What inspired your blog?

MS: The chance to self publish for myself. No editor’s to hold me back, the freedom to write and post about anything that I feel like. Now it’s more about meeting others that are interested in similar things, hopefully learning from them and just doing the social thing.

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  • http://www.portigal.com/blog/ Steve Portigal

    When are you bogging? HA! That’s too personal question, I think.

    I spoke with her today and added some things to my earlier email. Thanks for doing this and for sharing it here as well…

  • http://www.michaelsurtees.com michael

    Steve, apparently you can do a lot before 11 am and after 10 pm – go figure eh?