How Can We Improve the Design Community?

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distraction

The amount of noise in the online design community is incredible. By noise, I mean distraction. Distracting content that is just whizzing around in cyberspace not really adding any value to anyone or anything.

Actually there is so much noise, that it is almost deafening. Due to this, it is becoming increasingly difficult to filter out what is useful from what is, well…rubbish.

Think about it. There are already countless design blogs, and dozens more being launched everyday. There are literally thousands of bloggers all fiercely vying for the attention of what is a limited audience. There is massive swarm of hungry design entrepreneurs who all want a piece of the pie. Sadly for some, the primary motivation is money.

As a result of all this, there has been a proliferation of shallow, attention grabbing and just plain stupid posts. It isn’t just the crazy and overinflated list posts I am talking about either. There has also been an explosion of “regular” posts with titles that border on embarrassing. I am certain many of you will know what I am talking about.

Now, this post is not about singling anyone out or playing the blame game. Somewhere along the way, I am sure that most of us would have contributed to the problem. I know that I have.

What I wish to do is initiate a discussion on how we, the design community, can make a collective effort to improve the current state of affairs.

How can we help stop the proliferation of fluff posts and meaningless commentary to move forward in a more positive way?

So I ask. As a community what can we do?

Personally, I think one of the major problems is that social media sharing is completely out of control.

So to kick off the discussion, here is a suggestion from me.

Think before you share

Before you share anything via social media, ask yourself – is this post adding value to the community or my audience?

As a community, we have become way too trigger-happy with social media. Don’t get me wrong, sharing can be great. I support the sharing of well-written, informative posts that make a real contribution to the design community. However, the content that I see being shared the most, is seldom the best.

Just because a post has been tweeted, dugg, bumped, floated, mooed, and stumbled hundreds or even thousands of times, does not mean it is good.

Recently, I was shocked when a colleague revealed that he only retweets a post if it had already been retweeted over 100 times. His reasoning was that if it had been retweeted so many times, the post “must be good”.

For me, this was really an eye-opening revelation. It got me thinking…how many other people are just following the masses? How many other people are retweeting something just because “insert name of popular blogger” did?

If a blog has a large number of subscribers/followers they obviously did something right to get to where they are. For that they deserve some respect. What I find worrisome however, is that there are people out there in the design community who are just blindly sharing their content, whether it be good or BAD.

That is a huge problem. I say forget the source, and judge every post on its own merits.

So please, think before you share.

Where do we go from here?

What do you think are the major problems facing the online design community right now? What can we all do to make it a better place?

Let the discussion begin.

Photo by acockle

  • http://designluv.com Marnie B

    Really great article, and works perfectly with Brian Cray’s “Mainstream blogging: the age of crap” article I’ve been sending around all week.

    There are a lot of blogs and bloggers that are very focused on what they’d like to share, what will make them look best, etc., and they don’t think about whether or not they’re adding value to the community.

    In saying that, I guess it depends on the purpose of your blog. Some people do genuinely blog for themselves, as a hobby.

    And apologies if that comment makes little sense. I’m still trying to recover from a 14 hour day yesterday. ;)
    .-= Marnie B´s last blog ..Designers can’t live without… iPhone apps =-.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Great comment Marnie….and super fast! :)
      Personally I am sick of the same old stuff in my RSS reader every morning. Getting ruthless with reducing the number of feeds I subscribe to has helped somewhat.
      If people stop sharing and commenting on these posts I think it will go a long way to solving the problem.

  • http://designluv.com Marnie B

    Really great article, and works perfectly with Brian Cray’s “Mainstream blogging: the age of crap” article I’ve been sending around all week.

    There are a lot of blogs and bloggers that are very focused on what they’d like to share, what will make them look best, etc., and they don’t think about whether or not they’re adding value to the community.

    In saying that, I guess it depends on the purpose of your blog. Some people do genuinely blog for themselves, as a hobby.

    And apologies if that comment makes little sense. I’m still trying to recover from a 14 hour day yesterday. ;)
    .-= Marnie B´s last blog ..Designers can’t live without… iPhone apps =-.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Great comment Marnie….and super fast! :)
      Personally I am sick of the same old stuff in my RSS reader every morning. Getting ruthless with reducing the number of feeds I subscribe to has helped somewhat.
      If people stop sharing and commenting on these posts I think it will go a long way to solving the problem.

  • http://www.ericvonleckband.com eric|von|leckband

    Great post Duane, I totally agree.

    I find I am often times guilty of passing on something that might not be the most interesting to the design community, it is something I am definitely working on. I think as designers we should always be trying to better the community.

    I have found some very insightful and helpful posts and tweets so I know there are some out there that are building the community and sharing, thanks to you all.
    .-= eric|von|leckband´s last blog ..grn con =-.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hi Eric, I have also been guilty of the same. You are definitely not alone ;)
      If we all make a bit more of a conscience effort to evaluate what we pass on it will go a long way.

  • http://www.ericvonleckband.com eric|von|leckband

    Great post Duane, I totally agree.

    I find I am often times guilty of passing on something that might not be the most interesting to the design community, it is something I am definitely working on. I think as designers we should always be trying to better the community.

    I have found some very insightful and helpful posts and tweets so I know there are some out there that are building the community and sharing, thanks to you all.
    .-= eric|von|leckband´s last blog ..grn con =-.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hi Eric, I have also been guilty of the same. You are definitely not alone ;)
      If we all make a bit more of a conscience effort to evaluate what we pass on it will go a long way.

  • http://www.area1.info Mihai O.

    “His reasoning was that if it had been retweeted so many times, the post “must be good”.”

    This isn’t right. Maybe 100 stupid people retweeted it or maybe the author asked 100 friends to retweet his article for traffic … this DOES NOT MEAN 100% THAT THE ARTICLE IS GOOD!

    Only you decide if it is good or not, AFTER reading it.
    .-= Mihai O.´s last blog ..Over 100 Blogs Which You Should Follow =-.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Exactly! Thanks for your comment.

  • http://www.area1.info Mihai O.

    “His reasoning was that if it had been retweeted so many times, the post “must be good”.”

    This isn’t right. Maybe 100 stupid people retweeted it or maybe the author asked 100 friends to retweet his article for traffic … this DOES NOT MEAN 100% THAT THE ARTICLE IS GOOD!

    Only you decide if it is good or not, AFTER reading it.
    .-= Mihai O.´s last blog ..Over 100 Blogs Which You Should Follow =-.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Exactly! Thanks for your comment.

  • http://www.gmsuchy.com gerry suchy

    Duane, Thanks for pursuing this topic and not allowing it to fall by the wayside. I recall when I first started using social media not all that long ago. I was even then amazed by the insane notion that the goal was to collect followers. I mean really how narcissistic can one get. For me I am ruthless about not following/un-following people who waste my time. Like most others I admit to the sin of the unrelated post. For me it’s the political rant du jour and at that not even every day just when I am moved to comment. As for what to do, I think we have to personally monitor what we support by our RTs and to what we subscribe. There is always hope that the message will get through to those who need to hear it. Another thought I had recently was to somehow circulate a pledge for like minded individuals to state publicly that the rubbish has reached epic proportions and must stop. It would be an interesting exercise. So in summary, follow only those who have something worthwhile to say and support them however you can. As for you my friend, you’re one of the good guys. Take Care…Gerry

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Really appreciate you commenting Gerry.
      I completely agree. Monitoring our subscriptions and RT’s is really important if we are going to stop the proliferation of useless content.
      A pledge of some sort is a really interesting idea…I would be surprised if someone hasn’t already tried it.
      I would really like to get to the bottom to the reason why people are sharing this content. Perhaps there is a ‘need to please’ element involved.
      Actually, it would be great to hear what a psychologist thinks. ;)

  • http://www.gmsuchy.com gerry suchy

    Duane, Thanks for pursuing this topic and not allowing it to fall by the wayside. I recall when I first started using social media not all that long ago. I was even then amazed by the insane notion that the goal was to collect followers. I mean really how narcissistic can one get. For me I am ruthless about not following/un-following people who waste my time. Like most others I admit to the sin of the unrelated post. For me it’s the political rant du jour and at that not even every day just when I am moved to comment. As for what to do, I think we have to personally monitor what we support by our RTs and to what we subscribe. There is always hope that the message will get through to those who need to hear it. Another thought I had recently was to somehow circulate a pledge for like minded individuals to state publicly that the rubbish has reached epic proportions and must stop. It would be an interesting exercise. So in summary, follow only those who have something worthwhile to say and support them however you can. As for you my friend, you’re one of the good guys. Take Care…Gerry

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Really appreciate you commenting Gerry.
      I completely agree. Monitoring our subscriptions and RT’s is really important if we are going to stop the proliferation of useless content.
      A pledge of some sort is a really interesting idea…I would be surprised if someone hasn’t already tried it.
      I would really like to get to the bottom to the reason why people are sharing this content. Perhaps there is a ‘need to please’ element involved.
      Actually, it would be great to hear what a psychologist thinks. ;)

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    Great post. I totally agree. I really look for fresh, off-beat, witty, but it’s hard to find. The noise level has gotten so bad. Economics will help dampen that, as we’ve seen the last few days with changes and events at some major blogs. There is a “I’ll make noise because everyone else is making noise” syndrome that many newcomers try to follow, and it only leads to blogs that fail. I just posted an article (thanks for the RT!) about this just now:

    http://bonfx.com/how-to-tank-your-graphic-design-blog-with-grace/

    It’s relevant in the sense of we are going to see some more blog failures this year. Which points to this post from January:

    http://bonfx.com/top-10-annoying-graphic-design-bloggers/

    Great topic. I hope the word spreads on this and we can all move toward a better noise to signal ratio in the design community :). Do I really need to know about the best 2000 jQuery plugins every 12 hours?

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      I am not so sure that economics is going to dampen the noise level Doug. I have been noticing that a lot of blogs are outsourcing their research for articles (especially list posts) to developing countries. This allows them to leverage very cheap labor and pump out this stuff at an alarming rate.

      It will be interesting how the design community evolves over the next year of so. I believe we need some sort of collective effort to help put an end to the proliferation of weak content. While readers keep subscribing and sharing this stuff nothing will change.

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    Great post. I totally agree. I really look for fresh, off-beat, witty, but it’s hard to find. The noise level has gotten so bad. Economics will help dampen that, as we’ve seen the last few days with changes and events at some major blogs. There is a “I’ll make noise because everyone else is making noise” syndrome that many newcomers try to follow, and it only leads to blogs that fail. I just posted an article (thanks for the RT!) about this just now:

    http://bonfx.com/how-to-tank-your-graphic-design-blog-with-grace/

    It’s relevant in the sense of we are going to see some more blog failures this year. Which points to this post from January:

    http://bonfx.com/top-10-annoying-graphic-design-bloggers/

    Great topic. I hope the word spreads on this and we can all move toward a better noise to signal ratio in the design community :). Do I really need to know about the best 2000 jQuery plugins every 12 hours?

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      I am not so sure that economics is going to dampen the noise level Doug. I have been noticing that a lot of blogs are outsourcing their research for articles (especially list posts) to developing countries. This allows them to leverage very cheap labor and pump out this stuff at an alarming rate.

      It will be interesting how the design community evolves over the next year of so. I believe we need some sort of collective effort to help put an end to the proliferation of weak content. While readers keep subscribing and sharing this stuff nothing will change.

  • http://richworks.in Richie

    This article is spot on, Duane. Quite honestly, I am fed up of the number of retweets that many articles get, on several blogs. Just because, you are a subscriber, it doesn’t mean you ‘have’ to retweet the articles. I hardly believe people read those long and banal posts. But, if the article is original and informative, then it deserves to be tweeted and shared.

    I see a number of good articles, just like this one which never gets to be under the spot light. Seeing a three digit number on your tweetmeme button might make you happy, but effectively you haven’t spread the word at all. When people comment and appreciate the article, that gives you more joy than anything else. Well, that was my two cents :)

    Thanks for the article, Duane. Keep up the good work. My articles need a lot of improvement, now that I have finished reading this one :)
    .-= Richie´s last blog ..30+ minimalistic wallpapers inspired by Helvetica =-.

  • http://richworks.in Richie

    This article is spot on, Duane. Quite honestly, I am fed up of the number of retweets that many articles get, on several blogs. Just because, you are a subscriber, it doesn’t mean you ‘have’ to retweet the articles. I hardly believe people read those long and banal posts. But, if the article is original and informative, then it deserves to be tweeted and shared.

    I see a number of good articles, just like this one which never gets to be under the spot light. Seeing a three digit number on your tweetmeme button might make you happy, but effectively you haven’t spread the word at all. When people comment and appreciate the article, that gives you more joy than anything else. Well, that was my two cents :)

    Thanks for the article, Duane. Keep up the good work. My articles need a lot of improvement, now that I have finished reading this one :)
    .-= Richie´s last blog ..30+ minimalistic wallpapers inspired by Helvetica =-.

  • http://www.wearepixel8.com Erik Ford

    I have to agree with Richie. As a rule of thumb, I won’t share anything unless I’ve read it and commented on it. If the first leads me to the latter, then the post/article has either inspired me or I found it to be thought provoking. To me, that works as a criteria to share it with the people who are following me or our little studio. Nothing more. I am not moved by how many tweets or (insert other sharing tools with counters) you have. That number is about as meaningless as how many friends you had on MySpace a few years ago.

    So, I would say, read the post. If it speaks to you, comment on it and share it. Don’t simply share it because someone else has, or has not.

  • http://www.wearepixel8.com Erik Ford

    I have to agree with Richie. As a rule of thumb, I won’t share anything unless I’ve read it and commented on it. If the first leads me to the latter, then the post/article has either inspired me or I found it to be thought provoking. To me, that works as a criteria to share it with the people who are following me or our little studio. Nothing more. I am not moved by how many tweets or (insert other sharing tools with counters) you have. That number is about as meaningless as how many friends you had on MySpace a few years ago.

    So, I would say, read the post. If it speaks to you, comment on it and share it. Don’t simply share it because someone else has, or has not.

  • http://twitter.com/designfularts Chuck

    Well i think its like anything else, social media sites have overwhelmed what we take in as good information on a daily basis. People push out mindless information to get exposure.

    Reminder to everyone who uses social media sites as a way to gain exposure. If you tweet and blog about garbage, you get very few people who will take you seriously. Build a blog off valuable info, and you’ll in fact obtain attentive visitors and your work won’t smell so bad.

  • http://twitter.com/designfularts Chuck

    Well i think its like anything else, social media sites have overwhelmed what we take in as good information on a daily basis. People push out mindless information to get exposure.

    Reminder to everyone who uses social media sites as a way to gain exposure. If you tweet and blog about garbage, you get very few people who will take you seriously. Build a blog off valuable info, and you’ll in fact obtain attentive visitors and your work won’t smell so bad.

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

    There’s generally a progression that blogs go through when the authors realise it takes more than simple regurgitation to build trust.

    Some start off immediately on the right tracks, but that’s not easy to do — particularly when you learn fastest by doing, rather than studying.

    When I started, many of my posts were bloated lists and spewing the same old stuff easily found elsewhere. Nowadays I’m a lot more conscious about what I publish.

    How can we help improve the community? By promoting those blogs getting it right, and ignoring those that aren’t.

    Cheers for dropping by my blog earlier, Duane.
    .-= David Airey´s last blog ..Olympic pictograms through the ages =-.

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

    There’s generally a progression that blogs go through when the authors realise it takes more than simple regurgitation to build trust.

    Some start off immediately on the right tracks, but that’s not easy to do — particularly when you learn fastest by doing, rather than studying.

    When I started, many of my posts were bloated lists and spewing the same old stuff easily found elsewhere. Nowadays I’m a lot more conscious about what I publish.

    How can we help improve the community? By promoting those blogs getting it right, and ignoring those that aren’t.

    Cheers for dropping by my blog earlier, Duane.
    .-= David Airey´s last blog ..Olympic pictograms through the ages =-.

  • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

    @Richie
    Thanks for the kind words Richie. You have some great points. It is great to have your article shared, however there is much more satisfaction to be had out of readers leaving comments.

    @Eric Ford
    Eric, that is great rule to follow and something I am going to make more of an effort to stick to. Thanks for stopping by – Your sketching guest post on Design Informer was brilliant by the way. :)

    @Chuck
    Really appreciate your input.

    @David Airey
    Those are very valid points David.
    When you are quite green to blogging (as I am) and learning as you go, it is quite easy make mistakes. To gain legitimacy and trust as a blogger it is certainly what you do over the long term that counts.
    It is very hard to get it right 100% of the time.
    Thanks for stopping by David, your work is a huge inspiration.

  • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

    @Richie
    Thanks for the kind words Richie. You have some great points. It is great to have your article shared, however there is much more satisfaction to be had out of readers leaving comments.

    @Eric Ford
    Eric, that is great rule to follow and something I am going to make more of an effort to stick to. Thanks for stopping by – Your sketching guest post on Design Informer was brilliant by the way. :)

    @Chuck
    Really appreciate your input.

    @David Airey
    Those are very valid points David.
    When you are quite green to blogging (as I am) and learning as you go, it is quite easy make mistakes. To gain legitimacy and trust as a blogger it is certainly what you do over the long term that counts.
    It is very hard to get it right 100% of the time.
    Thanks for stopping by David, your work is a huge inspiration.

  • http://desaindigital.com jeprie

    I’m not like most people who tweet everything. I use twitter as a personal link archive. I tweet interesting article so I can find it back again. So, I don’t follow too many people, don’t retweet, don’t care how may follower I have, and don’t comment on someone’s status. If I tweet something it has to be my favorite article.
    .-= jeprie´s last blog ..How to Draw A Realistic Eksternal Hard Disc =-.

    • http://www.twitter.com/5ypher Dave Robinson

      I think something which is rearing its ugly head lately, is this notion of picking ‘sides’. Especially with all the latest trendings, and the emergence of the iPad. It is creating a culture of, ‘this is how you do things, you either do it this way or your doing it wrong’.

      This is something which can really stifle creativity and free thinking. And yes there have been tons of blog posts by ‘renowned’ industry figures igniting the fires (flash debate etc). Recruiting more ‘followers’ for an unworthy and damaging cause. Just stop it people, some of the greatest ideas come from not so obvious paths rode.
      .-= Dave Robinson´s last blog ..5ypher: @Robthedog looks like a lot of fun! :D =-.

  • http://desaindigital.com jeprie

    I’m not like most people who tweet everything. I use twitter as a personal link archive. I tweet interesting article so I can find it back again. So, I don’t follow too many people, don’t retweet, don’t care how may follower I have, and don’t comment on someone’s status. If I tweet something it has to be my favorite article.
    .-= jeprie´s last blog ..How to Draw A Realistic Eksternal Hard Disc =-.

  • http://john.onolan.org JohnONolan

    Well I’m going to go ahead and not be a sheep and say that I don’t agree. In my opinion the design community doesn’t need improving, and it doesn’t need to be sorted out; the cream will always rise to the top. Those who care will stay in the game, those who are in it for the wrong reasons will get bored and give up. This is true for everything, not just blogging :)
    .-= JohnONolan´s last blog ..Focusing on Strengths & Finding Your Mojo =-.

    • http://www.origindh.com Derek Land

      Largely as a reader/learner in the design community, I’ve been impressed with how many blogs are started with apparently the primary reason being to attract advertisers and earn income. Blogging, in itself, has long been a way for people to make money at their home computers; recently, this has encroached on the design blog genre with many bulking up their WordPress installs on the hot air of bulleted lists and numbered posts.

      While I certainly don’t fault companies like Buy Sell Ads, I do however point to their seemingly lax standards in accepting publishers as part of the problem. There are many BSA-approved websites that rely on posts of numbered lists, most of the time of which are a rehash of what has come before. The sad fact is that things are becoming increasingly “view” and “click-through” driven – meaning that rather than emphasize quality, if a blogger succeeds in attracting a certain number of pageviews a month his site is deemed worthy. This exacerbates the problem insomuch as the more you publish, the more traffic you get, therefore the more advertisers you attract, and the more money you make. This numbers-based equation doesn’t even have a spot for quality.

      The sad fact is that lately, with the influx of homogenized starch & tofu design blogs, people are entering the publishing business with inadequate knowledge of what they’re doing simply to make money.

      It’s a two-pronged effort. Companies need to have stricter guidelines than simply high traffic, and publishers need to be more eager to learn than they are to earn a check.

  • http://john.onolan.org JohnONolan

    Well I’m going to go ahead and not be a sheep and say that I don’t agree. In my opinion the design community doesn’t need improving, and it doesn’t need to be sorted out; the cream will always rise to the top. Those who care will stay in the game, those who are in it for the wrong reasons will get bored and give up. This is true for everything, not just blogging :)
    .-= JohnONolan´s last blog ..Focusing on Strengths & Finding Your Mojo =-.

  • http://douglife.info Doug Montgomery (Douglife)

    I find this article to be a breath of fresh air. And from all the comments it seems we aren’t alone in this. I feel the content is king idea has been taken too far in the design community. You’ve said so many things here I’d like to quote, but instead a simple head-nod and thanks is in order.
    .-= Doug Montgomery (Douglife)´s last blog ..Using a Twitter Page to further interact with followers =-.

  • http://douglife.info Doug Montgomery (Douglife)

    I find this article to be a breath of fresh air. And from all the comments it seems we aren’t alone in this. I feel the content is king idea has been taken too far in the design community. You’ve said so many things here I’d like to quote, but instead a simple head-nod and thanks is in order.
    .-= Doug Montgomery (Douglife)´s last blog ..Using a Twitter Page to further interact with followers =-.

  • http://inspiringpixel.com Tuhin Kumar

    The thoughtless sharing has almost left noone. Even the biggest leaders and magazines of our community are responsible for this. So it has to be a self conscious effort that we must retweet or spread stuff that is actually worthy and not because the blog is famous or the “best” design blog out there. We need to understand that sooner or later our blog articles and tweets are going to be our first impression.
    I almost get a daily request to promote article or add a link to someones blog, but despite that, I do it only if I like the stuff. Of course what I as a designer look from design blogs is not really lists, or tutorials of the silliest nature, but more of thought provoking content.
    I have been honestly doing it on my blog, but despite that the number of visitors has been not great. It hurts at times to see fluffy blogs and articles get ahead in the number of RTs, but I believe knowing that you are actually making even one designer a better one is what keeps me going.
    I wrote an article on the same lines for the general growth and betterment of the design community and not just design blogs. Might look like self promotion, but more of adding a related article in what is a very critical issue for the design community http://inspiringpixel.com/articles/inspiration/how-the-design-community-can-improve/629/
    .-= Tuhin Kumar´s last blog ..Puppet Warp in CS5 =-.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      @JohnONolan I don’t agree that the cream will always rise to the top. Now I am not going to name names, but there are plenty of design blogs at the top that who consistently post rubbish. Perhaps these blogs were once great, but have simply lost their way over time. The problem in that case is that their followers are just supporting them because who they are, not what they do. That is a problem in my opinion.
      Thanks for your comment though, I would like more from those who have the opposite viewpoint. Cheers!

      @Douglas Montgomery I know we are not alone :) QUALITY content should be king!

      @Tuhin Kumar Actually, direct email requests to promote content really annoys me. It is part of the problem. There are too many “circles of friends” in the design community who are promoting each others content without judging it on its merits.

      @Sneh Roy It is fully understandable that some bloggers will make mistakes when they first start off.
      I am not saying that there is no room at all list posts or inspiration post. There just needs to be a balance. At the moment the balance has swayed too far towards fluff posts that don’t really add any value.
      Looking forward to your next post. No pressure…lol :)

      @Douglas Bonneville It is really tough coming up with original content. That is for sure. While every post can’t be original, not every blogger is the same. I would like to see more opinion in the design community, instead of just following the masses.

  • http://inspiringpixel.com Tuhin Kumar

    The thoughtless sharing has almost left noone. Even the biggest leaders and magazines of our community are responsible for this. So it has to be a self conscious effort that we must retweet or spread stuff that is actually worthy and not because the blog is famous or the “best” design blog out there. We need to understand that sooner or later our blog articles and tweets are going to be our first impression.
    I almost get a daily request to promote article or add a link to someones blog, but despite that, I do it only if I like the stuff. Of course what I as a designer look from design blogs is not really lists, or tutorials of the silliest nature, but more of thought provoking content.
    I have been honestly doing it on my blog, but despite that the number of visitors has been not great. It hurts at times to see fluffy blogs and articles get ahead in the number of RTs, but I believe knowing that you are actually making even one designer a better one is what keeps me going.
    I wrote an article on the same lines for the general growth and betterment of the design community and not just design blogs. Might look like self promotion, but more of adding a related article in what is a very critical issue for the design community http://inspiringpixel.com/articles/inspiration/how-the-design-community-can-improve/629/
    .-= Tuhin Kumar´s last blog ..Puppet Warp in CS5 =-.

  • http://www.littleboxofideas.com Sneh Roy

    I read your posts a couple of days ago and found it instantly engaging and awesome. What I really love about posts like these is the dialogue being generated in the comments section. So I waited a few more days before stopping in and adding my 2 cents. What stands out loud and clear in your post has me disgruntled too! You talk about “The Noise” and I have been feeling that too. David mentions in his comments, that one learns faster by practice rather than theory which is very true.

    As a blogger, one needs a lot of factors to fall into place if your blog is to be successful. You will invariable make mistakes in the first few months and learn from them. But your mistakes are “part of the noise” out there in the cyberworld, no takesies backsies! You move on and think you’ll get a conscience, which you do, but you have already contributed to the damage and distraction.

    Then you start making responsible, thought provoking posts that start a dialogue and add value. I loved these posts when they started out, the “art directed” one off posts that talk about theoretical design, about what designers need to do, about what is wrong and right with the community. But after a while there were just too many of those too. If you look up in the comments section, there are at least a couple of people talking about the exact same posts they have done, talking about the same issues. That’s more noise and no resolution. And distraction too. How much time in a busy person’s schedule goes into reading a post that talks about what one needs to do, then reading the comments and then writing a long retort [like the one I am doing right now :)].

    I agree with you on a lot of points but I also strongly agree with John O Nolan [wise man indeed!], a 100%. Those who are really good, viable, fresh and determined will persist, the others will get sifted out. Design’s natural selection process! Too much of anything is never a good thing. Too many list posts .. bad! Too many conscientious posts … bad! There has to be a balance and the nature of man is such that he will sadly never understand the value of balance but will indulge in excessive-ism and destroy what could have been great. But for those of us who care, it is our misfortune to have to wade our way through the noise and clutter to try to discover and hold on to meaning.

    Does this mean I will publish a well thought of conscientious post today? I probably will, since I spent almost 5 hours on it yesterday. Will that mean I am redeeming myself for those long logo inspiration posts [which also take up 3-4 hours of my time] I do occasionally that fetch my blog traffic and revenue? Probably not! I will make another one of those in a few weeks when I have had enough of playing Freud with my own thoughts. I need balance too :)

    Keep up the great work Duane! I am happy to have connected with you on Twitter. Cheers mate!
    .-= Sneh Roy´s last blog ..28 Free Quirky Character Wallpapers For your iPhone =-.

    • http://Designyre.com Jared

      I’m actually working on something that might help. I’ll be sure to post here after I get it up and running. Thanks for this post and all the comments to it, it’s all excellent material. Keep pushing the right direction and maybe we’ll eventually make some headway.

  • http://www.littleboxofideas.com Sneh Roy

    I read your posts a couple of days ago and found it instantly engaging and awesome. What I really love about posts like these is the dialogue being generated in the comments section. So I waited a few more days before stopping in and adding my 2 cents. What stands out loud and clear in your post has me disgruntled too! You talk about “The Noise” and I have been feeling that too. David mentions in his comments, that one learns faster by practice rather than theory which is very true.

    As a blogger, one needs a lot of factors to fall into place if your blog is to be successful. You will invariable make mistakes in the first few months and learn from them. But your mistakes are “part of the noise” out there in the cyberworld, no takesies backsies! You move on and think you’ll get a conscience, which you do, but you have already contributed to the damage and distraction.

    Then you start making responsible, thought provoking posts that start a dialogue and add value. I loved these posts when they started out, the “art directed” one off posts that talk about theoretical design, about what designers need to do, about what is wrong and right with the community. But after a while there were just too many of those too. If you look up in the comments section, there are at least a couple of people talking about the exact same posts they have done, talking about the same issues. That’s more noise and no resolution. And distraction too. How much time in a busy person’s schedule goes into reading a post that talks about what one needs to do, then reading the comments and then writing a long retort [like the one I am doing right now :)].

    I agree with you on a lot of points but I also strongly agree with John O Nolan [wise man indeed!], a 100%. Those who are really good, viable, fresh and determined will persist, the others will get sifted out. Design’s natural selection process! Too much of anything is never a good thing. Too many list posts .. bad! Too many conscientious posts … bad! There has to be a balance and the nature of man is such that he will sadly never understand the value of balance but will indulge in excessive-ism and destroy what could have been great. But for those of us who care, it is our misfortune to have to wade our way through the noise and clutter to try to discover and hold on to meaning.

    Does this mean I will publish a well thought of conscientious post today? I probably will, since I spent almost 5 hours on it yesterday. Will that mean I am redeeming myself for those long logo inspiration posts [which also take up 3-4 hours of my time] I do occasionally that fetch my blog traffic and revenue? Probably not! I will make another one of those in a few weeks when I have had enough of playing Freud with my own thoughts. I need balance too :)

    Keep up the great work Duane! I am happy to have connected with you on Twitter. Cheers mate!
    .-= Sneh Roy´s last blog ..28 Free Quirky Character Wallpapers For your iPhone =-.

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    I’ve noticed I’ve developed and on-the-fly filter that immediately catches “Top 10…” or something close to that, but then immediately ditches the link from my frontal lobe if the the word “texture”, “Photoshop”, “WordPress”, (add your own) follows.

    I like lists, but I don’t need another collection of “black WordPress themes”. Personally, I’m looking for something different. Something creative that makes ME say “I wish I thought of that”. Those are the moments I look for every day.

    So, to improve the design community, let’s work on stuff that makes each other say “I wish I’d thought of that…”

    One article – I think it was David Airey’s blog some time ago – was about the idea of literally running out of new, good ideas. The general consensus was that while there is nothing new under the sun in some respects, there is lots of room still to innovate on the tried and true without caving in to hopeless redundancy.
    .-= Douglas Bonneville´s last blog ..Top 10 Graphic Design Posts at BonFX with stats and a few tips =-.

    • http://www.alphabetix.net/blog Alphabetix

      Of course there is going to redundancy in topics that are blogged. And I don’t think it’s the worse thing in the world for several sites to offer perspectives on the same topic on their respective blogs (or to tweet about them, etc.). I say this, of course, within reason, because everytime I see someone steal verbatim another person’s posts it makes me ill.

      One thing to consider is the audience that you’re trying to share your knowledge with. If you are X designer and most of the people who follow your blog are not part of the design community, but rather customers, etc. then I think it’s OK to blog about something that is not novel to the design world, but that might be of interest to your followers. If you’re aiming to get other designers to follow you, you better get something fresh out there.

      In response to what Douglas Bonneville said:

      One article – I think it was David Airey’s blog some time ago – was about the idea of literally running out of new, good ideas

      The new value is on the perspective on topics that have been covered. (And no, I don’t care about 10 great black WordPress themes either).

      Shady SEO practices only perpetuate the problem. I think in a community of designers, having fresh ideas should be the rule, not the exception.
      .-= Alphabetix´s last blog ..Social Media Success Summit 2010 =-.

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    I’ve noticed I’ve developed and on-the-fly filter that immediately catches “Top 10…” or something close to that, but then immediately ditches the link from my frontal lobe if the the word “texture”, “Photoshop”, “WordPress”, (add your own) follows.

    I like lists, but I don’t need another collection of “black WordPress themes”. Personally, I’m looking for something different. Something creative that makes ME say “I wish I thought of that”. Those are the moments I look for every day.

    So, to improve the design community, let’s work on stuff that makes each other say “I wish I’d thought of that…”

    One article – I think it was David Airey’s blog some time ago – was about the idea of literally running out of new, good ideas. The general consensus was that while there is nothing new under the sun in some respects, there is lots of room still to innovate on the tried and true without caving in to hopeless redundancy.
    .-= Douglas Bonneville´s last blog ..Top 10 Graphic Design Posts at BonFX with stats and a few tips =-.

  • http://www.creationtheory.com.au Todd

    Stop reading the bloody things and do some actual work would be the most straight forward solution !

    Seriously tho, good call.

    You’ve got to remember that social networking is still very much an infant – I’m trusting that huge evolutions in filtering algorithms will eventually deliver us just the meat, no fat.

    • Ben

      The “design community”, like so many others, is based entirely around reputation rather than talent.

      “bloggers” get too popular, and start to forget that what there saying is simply there opinion, and not fact. Many readers lap up the opinion as fact, as they believe that such a “high profile” name cant be wrong.

      Its not just the design community however, it happens in most place. Its not what you know..

  • http://www.creationtheory.com.au Todd

    Stop reading the bloody things and do some actual work would be the most straight forward solution !

    Seriously tho, good call.

    You’ve got to remember that social networking is still very much an infant – I’m trusting that huge evolutions in filtering algorithms will eventually deliver us just the meat, no fat.

  • http://www.twitter.com/5ypher Dave Robinson

    I think something which is rearing its ugly head lately, is this notion of picking ‘sides’. Especially with all the latest trendings, and the emergence of the iPad. It is creating a culture of, ‘this is how you do things, you either do it this way or your doing it wrong’.

    This is something which can really stifle creativity and free thinking. And yes there have been tons of blog posts by ‘renowned’ industry figures igniting the fires (flash debate etc). Recruiting more ‘followers’ for an unworthy and damaging cause. Just stop it people, some of the greatest ideas come from not so obvious paths rode.
    .-= Dave Robinson´s last blog ..5ypher: @Robthedog looks like a lot of fun! :D =-.

  • http://www.origindh.com Derek Land

    Largely as a reader/learner in the design community, I’ve been impressed with how many blogs are started with apparently the primary reason being to attract advertisers and earn income. Blogging, in itself, has long been a way for people to make money at their home computers; recently, this has encroached on the design blog genre with many bulking up their WordPress installs on the hot air of bulleted lists and numbered posts.

    While I certainly don’t fault companies like Buy Sell Ads, I do however point to their seemingly lax standards in accepting publishers as part of the problem. There are many BSA-approved websites that rely on posts of numbered lists, most of the time of which are a rehash of what has come before. The sad fact is that things are becoming increasingly “view” and “click-through” driven – meaning that rather than emphasize quality, if a blogger succeeds in attracting a certain number of pageviews a month his site is deemed worthy. This exacerbates the problem insomuch as the more you publish, the more traffic you get, therefore the more advertisers you attract, and the more money you make. This numbers-based equation doesn’t even have a spot for quality.

    The sad fact is that lately, with the influx of homogenized starch & tofu design blogs, people are entering the publishing business with inadequate knowledge of what they’re doing simply to make money.

    It’s a two-pronged effort. Companies need to have stricter guidelines than simply high traffic, and publishers need to be more eager to learn than they are to earn a check.

  • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

    @JohnONolan I don’t agree that the cream will always rise to the top. Now I am not going to name names, but there are plenty of design blogs at the top that who consistently post rubbish. Perhaps these blogs were once great, but have simply lost their way over time. The problem in that case is that their followers are just supporting them because who they are, not what they do. That is a problem in my opinion.
    Thanks for your comment though, I would like more from those who have the opposite viewpoint. Cheers!

    @Douglas Montgomery I know we are not alone :) QUALITY content should be king!

    @Tuhin Kumar Actually, direct email requests to promote content really annoys me. It is part of the problem. There are too many “circles of friends” in the design community who are promoting each others content without judging it on its merits.

    @Sneh Roy It is fully understandable that some bloggers will make mistakes when they first start off.
    I am not saying that there is no room at all list posts or inspiration post. There just needs to be a balance. At the moment the balance has swayed too far towards fluff posts that don’t really add any value.
    Looking forward to your next post. No pressure…lol :)

    @Douglas Bonneville It is really tough coming up with original content. That is for sure. While every post can’t be original, not every blogger is the same. I would like to see more opinion in the design community, instead of just following the masses.

  • http://Designyre.com Jared

    I’m actually working on something that might help. I’ll be sure to post here after I get it up and running. Thanks for this post and all the comments to it, it’s all excellent material. Keep pushing the right direction and maybe we’ll eventually make some headway.

  • http://www.alphabetix.net/blog Alphabetix

    Of course there is going to redundancy in topics that are blogged. And I don’t think it’s the worse thing in the world for several sites to offer perspectives on the same topic on their respective blogs (or to tweet about them, etc.). I say this, of course, within reason, because everytime I see someone steal verbatim another person’s posts it makes me ill.

    One thing to consider is the audience that you’re trying to share your knowledge with. If you are X designer and most of the people who follow your blog are not part of the design community, but rather customers, etc. then I think it’s OK to blog about something that is not novel to the design world, but that might be of interest to your followers. If you’re aiming to get other designers to follow you, you better get something fresh out there.

    In response to what Douglas Bonneville said:

    One article – I think it was David Airey’s blog some time ago – was about the idea of literally running out of new, good ideas

    The new value is on the perspective on topics that have been covered. (And no, I don’t care about 10 great black WordPress themes either).

    Shady SEO practices only perpetuate the problem. I think in a community of designers, having fresh ideas should be the rule, not the exception.
    .-= Alphabetix´s last blog ..Social Media Success Summit 2010 =-.

  • Ben

    The “design community”, like so many others, is based entirely around reputation rather than talent.

    “bloggers” get too popular, and start to forget that what there saying is simply there opinion, and not fact. Many readers lap up the opinion as fact, as they believe that such a “high profile” name cant be wrong.

    Its not just the design community however, it happens in most place. Its not what you know..

  • http://www.gonzoblog.nl Gonzo the Great

    Hi Duane,

    great article, enjoyed reading this. Especially because I’m hearing more and more of these sounds on the internet! Heck, I myself think sometimes there’s too much crap on weblogs. I’m repeating myself now, but how much more social-icon-posts do we need?

    It looks like there are more blogs than designers, haha! Maybe we should set a limit: 1 blog/designer, .. or if your blog exists longer then 1 year, you’re save .. otherwise quit, … or …?

    It looks like a lot of blogs produce ‘crap’ so that they can have a solid pageview? The better the pageview, traffic, etc., the more advertisement!

    Inspired by the ‘big blogs’, everybody wants to get rich. But the ‘richer’ the advertisement-blogs get, .. the ‘poorer’ the content!

    Once again, thanks for posting this brilliant article. Cheers & Ciao …

    BTW: I’m responsible for the 101th tweet, so you can email your friend that he can retweet your article ;-P

  • http://www.gonzoblog.nl Gonzo the Great

    Hi Duane,

    great article, enjoyed reading this. Especially because I’m hearing more and more of these sounds on the internet! Heck, I myself think sometimes there’s too much crap on weblogs. I’m repeating myself now, but how much more social-icon-posts do we need?

    It looks like there are more blogs than designers, haha! Maybe we should set a limit: 1 blog/designer, .. or if your blog exists longer then 1 year, you’re save .. otherwise quit, … or …?

    It looks like a lot of blogs produce ‘crap’ so that they can have a solid pageview? The better the pageview, traffic, etc., the more advertisement!

    Inspired by the ‘big blogs’, everybody wants to get rich. But the ‘richer’ the advertisement-blogs get, .. the ‘poorer’ the content!

    Once again, thanks for posting this brilliant article. Cheers & Ciao …

    BTW: I’m responsible for the 101th tweet, so you can email your friend that he can retweet your article ;-P

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  • Anonymous

    Perhaps the feedback loop is broken. If one were to comment that a post was bad, they’d probably be seen as a negative “hater” who’s just being critical. The “if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it” idea. There is probably a lot of validation for mediocre posts.
    I don’t see it changing.

  • http://bradtowsley.com Brad Towsley

    Great article! For myself, I believe a large part of the problem is not addressing the root of the problem(s).Today’s societies have forgotten how to enjoy reading. I’ve spent my entire career as a graphic designer cutting copy. I understand the reason is to be concise and to-the-point, however, with regards to your article, ‘instant messaging’, twitter, an incredible amount of ridiculous abbreviations are everywhere. We now communicate largely with sentence fragments. I’m guilty of it myself.

    I’ve recently started my own business. Should I be afraid to type out 3-4 short paragraphs to describe myself, and business goals? I think not. But I’ll bet there will be potential clients turned off by the fact that they have to read for longer than 30 seconds so they can get-to-know me.

    On the up side, I do recognize that with all these social abbreviated communications, there are people out there that want to read, want transparency and want a true connection with the people they live and work with. New technology doesn’t have to always speed things up. 

    You ask, “where do we go from here?”. Lets start by rewarding the action of reading and taking time to truly communicate. 

    • http://www.logobird.com Duane Kinsey

      Good point, Brad. It’s something that I admit to have been guilty of as well. Not everything can, or should be, condensed into only 140 characters. 

      Best of luck with your new business!

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