A NEW DIRECTION FOR DESIGNLOVEFEST
i have to write my thoughts down on this topic because i stayed up until 3am last night thinking about it after i posted this image on instagram and got people talking about it. and then i couldn’t STOP thinking about it. so here it goes….
why did i first start blogging? let me take you waaaaaay back…
well, i used to sit at work as a 23 year old graphic designer, looking on font and cool packaging websites, staring at photos of mary kate and ashley olsen, getting inspired by the photos and graphics in Nylon magazine, looking at tumblrs with photos of “love” and “emotional photos,” spending hours on flickr, and hoarding photos of vintage fashion ads. it makes me very happy to think back to this time. it was when i was learning about what i loved visually. this olsens anonymous was the first blog i ever read (and actually just visited and still had the desire to look through it) it was so simple to look at. just keep on scrolling by until something catches your eye, stop, look, pull to desktop, keep going. remember these days?? it’s honestly the reason why i keep the format of just scroll on through (the websites that have you jump to another page each time mess with my mental flow. i only do it if it’s just a bunch of text after the jump or if my post is super long.)
then blogging became more of a “thing.” the blogs that started to stand out had all of this extra curated content, more thought out, and more personalized. i honestly think one of the reasons my blog stood out at all was because i was doodling all over photos in photoshop and adding my little touch to them. just scroll through my old blog for a second, i picked a random page here.
example of just drawing on photos for fun…
now it feels like there are more rules. like we can’t just draw all over someone else’s photo of olivia and credit some random tumblr that we found the photo…i mean, we can. but it feels weird.
then i got into constantly pairing two images together. it was my favorite game. whether it was the colors or the mood or a font i thought went well with the other photo. i called it “2 pictures” haha. very deep thinking there.
then i guess i stepped it up and started doing collages. oooooo.
if i found a photographer i liked on flickr…i made a collage about it. i added little drawings sometimes. i was bored at work!
but really at the end of the day, i was 23 and had a new boyfriend and i just wanted to look at sappy photos that said things like “never let me go” in a semi-styled shot.
this is actually why i started blogshop and taught photoshop to bloggers for 4 years! people wanted to know HOW THE HECK i added those drawn hearts and underlines to my photos. so i taught a bunch of people how.
anyway. then there was a major TRANSITION. blogs started becoming more polished. more like what we would see in the magazines. more edited down. less tumblr like. bloggers had guest contributors and fancy columns that were featured weekly. before social media, people were totally hooked on blogs! i think i was looking at like 200 blogs/websites a day. i think now i look at about 5 and scroll through pinterest. that makes me sad.
i remember teaching my blogshop students that they had to have a unique voice if they wanted to stand out. putting more effort into your blog was totally necessary back then if you had goals of becoming a “blogger” as a job. (which i don’t think anyone back then intended to do.)
but now, and believe me i will own up to doing it all the time! and i’m not saying i will never do it again, because things really are different now…things are overly styled, photos are bright white, pops of color, perfect lighting. it was so refreshing to our eyeballs back then to go away from the messy blogging style and make it more refined. we had cleaned our act up and felt proud of it! but now this messy style is puuuuuuullllinnggg on me.
also, as a side note. people talk a lot about how bloggers aren’t real. they fake their lives and show only the good. i mean, shame on people if they only show the good…but i think there is a reasoning behind it. bloggers (myself included) get inspired by photos in magazines or bedrooms with style and they aspire to it. i know for me, my bedroom is not always perfect at all. i’m so messy with my clothes. i have boxes in my foyer. cleaning supplies out in the kitchen. we all do, we are humans. however, readers RESPOND to the cleaned up version better. it’s been tested, even by me. if i were to put up a photo in bad lighting with stuff in the way and a windex bottle on the counter. less likes. for sure, 100%. so we try to be more polished because we want to inspire people. i can take ownership of that. i really don’t think bloggers are sitting out there trying to trick people that they don’t have dishes in the sink…it’s just not as visually appealing to look at. but hey, if you want dishes, i can give em to you! it’s just confusing when people ask for it and then don’t really like when you do it. you know? what do you think?
over the past few months or maybe even year, i have caught myself being most inspired by the style that i originally was! crazy how that works. the only thing different is that the content that i’m looking at has a more adult vibe. i find myself wanting to learn the history of an art period or the background of a fashion designer. i have the desire to turn 30 and know how to actually articulate my inspiration not just with visuals but with serious knowledge!
what makes me excited about this?? well a lot. i have brought natalie on as the art director and i’m starting to realize that this is exactly why i did it, and i didn’t even know it then. natalie is one of those gals that you show her a current photo and she’s like “yes, that’s amazing. and here’s why. because look at the 1960’s version of blah blah blah.” and then you look and it all makes sense. i feel like i’m back in school (and i loved school.) this is why you are starting to see more collages and explanations of trends and the history of visuals on this site. that’s totally where i’m at right now. learning right alongside you guys. and hopefully you all will teach me things too. so then we can all go out to dinner with a new friend and be able to have interesting things to reference and cool facts to share. and not in a pretentious way at all. just a cool, exciting way. does this make sense?! gosh i hope so, because i feel so stoked about it.
i remember i used to get so amped about finding a bunch of vintage matchbooks online. i want to feel that way again! plus some. i don’t want to just scroll through pinterest and find photos of cool fruit put on a pink background. (and hey, we can all like that too.) but let’s start to explain our inspirations more.
who’s with me, here? now, i would be lying if i didn’t say this. back then, when i probably had 200 readers and 17 of them were my friends, i could care less about comments and engagement. i wasn’t in it for that. but then social media came along and everyone kinda hooked on the engagement factor. i talk to bloggers all the time that say they are feeling less motivated to put effort into their blogs because the engagement is so low now (people just want to hit “like” on something, they don’t want to sign in and comment.) here’s my hope. that we can bring back some of the engagement to this blog and make it more of an open forum, a community. and this means ME commenting back more too. it’s totally in my court as well. let’s geek out together over some insane color combination. let’s inform each other in a positive way. (this is starting to sound like a speech, sorry. haha. i’m excited.)
i can’t promise to go fully back to my emo postings of kate moss. but i can promise to find more of a balance. more of a real factor. more candid. more explanations.
i hope you’re into it. i miss you 2009. lots of love and squiggly drawn on hearts, bri
(top photo from my 2012 style post)