What has happened to these 10 great graphic design blogs and their bloggers?
Ok, now that you are here I’m going to tell you upfront I’m not actually going to publish a list of annoying graphic designers. Instead, you are going to publish the list! In your head!
Hey, you already started but you haven’t gotten the instructions yet! Wait up!
I want you to read the following bullets and see for yourself what names appear magically in your minds eye and project it onto each line below:
Top 10 annoying graphic design bloggers (from the depths of your subconscious):
There, you admitted it to yourself. You let yourself in on the truth. Now it seems so obvious! What happened to these bloggers? Try to put them in order from the most annoying to the least most annoying now. Who is number one on the list. Ouch!
(Psssst! Hey you, Number One on this list, you might know who you are as you read this! Uh-oh!)
(Pssst again! Did you really think your name might have been on an actual list like this? Yikes, you need to keep reading, mon frere…)
Now dear reader, why do you think you feel this way? Why do you have any of those bloggers in your RSS feed, and why do you feverishly check them over and over for “new” content? Perhaps we’ve been hoodwinked! Is it possible?
Yes, it’s possible. And it’s a trend! But let’s dig deeper.
Now for a tougher question: What do all these ageing-design-rock-star bloggers on the list you just created have in common? Why did you subconsciously list out a few of them so easily? Let me suggest a few reasons:
- You discern a pattern of shallow content at one point you thought was exciting.
- You were hoping their mojo would rub off on you, but now you realize maybe you don’t want that mojo.
- They borrow a little too freely from other sources. You know that feeling – “…didn’t I read that before somewhere?”
- You can tell they kind of cut corners. You can’t tell exactly how, but you get the sense a lot of work didn’t go into this or that post, but that post somehow – in the title or the stock images or the scant text – tries to come off more original or content-laden than it really is. How’d they do that?
- You sense the blogger revealed, crack by crack, that the blog is really all about them and that the “giving” either has stopped or waned. Honestly, it looks like their best content is behind them.
- You feel slightly duped.
- They have posted several 3 sentence posts in the last few months that simply state something obvious and then ask for your opinion.
- They make list after list of freely available content. You are hooked, and now it turns out that about 1 in 10 lists they post are the result of actual work, not surfing and collecting the most obvious and easy content. They don’t add any value or insight to these kinds of posts. You think to yourself, “hey, I could have done that…”.
- It’s not clear to you what the point of their content is anymore.
- You know, their posts just aren’t showing craftsmanship or desire or creativity.
- You read their latest post and immediately thought “They made a post about what? Are you kidding?”
- At one point, they had a really unique voice and a made distinguished contribution to the graphic design community on the web. Now, for some reason, their voice is gone and all we have left is the vague memory that this blog was cool at one point.
- And on and on…
From scrappy upstart blog to doltish sales-pitch drivel-holder
This tranformation from exciting blogger to something less design-worthy will be a phenomenon for several major design blogs this year. Blogs that move in this direction are becoming like…magazines. Or worse, they become little more than ad platforms that serve up lackluster content and along with an ad for an e-book or some affiliate link to a WordPress theme disguised as commentary.
How often in the past, for those who have been around a few years, did you rush out to get the new issue of this-or-that design magazine only to realize it was 95% fluff, mostly ads, and the one article that was most promising from the hype actually turned out to be kind of shallow? And you felt kind of robbed of your $7.95, though you did willingly fork it over.
Well, I stopped buying those magazines. When blogging came along with the rising tide of the net, many of those magazines evaporated because economics simply revealed the truth of what they were – a rip-off – and people stopped buying them.
It’s expensive and time-consuming to come up with quality content. That is why magazines will base an entire issue on one or two good articles and fill the rest with drivel. It makes economic sense to hoodwink readers at the newsstand. And this reality is slowly dawning on some better-known graphic design blogs. You know it’s true. Sad, really. But what to do?
How to rescue your favorite graphic design blogger from utter blog-destruction
I hope some big graphic design bloggers (you KNOW who you are!) out there find their way to better, more honest and verdant content pastures this coming year. Have you lost your first love, love? Pastures where real work and real creativity and originality come back and take the place of quick-burn flashy titles and cheap rehashed content and pointless lists. Lists can be great, don’t get me wrong. But enough shallow, goofy list posts and content cleverly scrubbed and disguised from other blogs and sources already! Go back to square one and learn to give again!
The next time your blogger-hero posts a lame article, just lovingly suggest you know they can do better. Be kind, be courteous, be constructive. Be positive, but be real and don’t let them get away with it. Remind them of why you subscribed way back when in the first place!
P.S. My two favorite foods are in fact Marshmallow Fluff and Marshmallow Peeps, I must mention. Next favorite would be Circus Peanuts and Licorice, but I digress.
- The Top 50 graphic design blogs – David Airey