Yes, I said it. Is it possible to end the graphic design list article format? Yes, but in a very particular way in very particular niches.
UPDATE 7/2012: The Big List of Lists is now up and running. Keep reading, but do pay a visit dedicated to the graphic design list article format we all love to hate and hate to love, but in any case can’t live without
But first, I ask that you do two things:
II) Read this post and leave a comment. Feedback is already impassioned:
I think a nerve has been struck and I have more to say and deliver on this in the coming weeks. I ask you to stay tuned.
Notice I said “an end” and not “the end”. By “an end” I mean that I believe we have reached a level of information maturity in the graphic design field where I think certain niches can move from rehashed and regurgitated list post mode into a kind of “best of” page mode with a certain degree of finality for many topics. Some topics have been so covered and listed and rounded-up that there just isn’t a way to sensationalize them into another post with another crazy title that makes you click it only to realize you’ve read the same list 900 times before.
Please, do we have time for this anymore? I don’t.
For instance, do we really need another “Top 20 blogging platforms” post, any time soon? You know the type. Why not just have an authoritative, community-informed list of the top contenders and call it a day? We don’t need a new post about this, we need a page about this—a living yet archival page. But with the proviso that any page would be an infrequently updated page and not a post with a short shelf life, and it would updated only when a bona fide “top blogging platform” paid its dues and garners approval from a community to be listed. Think of it like the Constitution plus and Amendment every so often, as needed. Any changes to the page would be a new post about the minor change, and not yet another “10 Totally Awesome Fresh and New and Classic Blogging Platforms” post that we are all collectively growing a touch weary of, but yet we still click because we are afraid that we’ll miss something.
List posts will never die. I love list posts. Some blogs thrive on them and they always will. However, some information just isn’t all that list-post-worthy anymore, as there really isn’t that much to say that’s new and exciting. We are at the point in the saturation curve where topics that were once sensational for freelance designers are now just kind of rote—and why shouldn’t they be. Yet we still need updates. We just don’t need the hype.
Sometimes, you just want to look up an authoritative list on something, as a freelance graphic designer, and call it day and move on with the information you need so you can get back to running your design studio.
That’s why I say, for certain topics, there is an end to list posts and roundups for graphic designers, and it’s in sight.