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Thursday, September 10, 2009


A couple of months ago we received a book, Blogs: Mad about Design (that link is to a comprehensive post on the book with many pictures by David Airey). Published by Maomao Publications in Barcelona, it's an is a rather curious publication. We say curious, but things is in it, as are a fair few other sites from our sidebar, so obviously our perception is skewed. But it is a funny concept - a book about weblogs, snapshots of (hopefully) ever-changing pages fixed at one point in time, typos and all, as a set of near-illegible screen grabs and then set against hundreds and hundreds of other sites, all of which are loosely concerned with the ever-growing amorphous entity that is 'design'. All that said, paper is a surprisingly pleasing way of browsing through large collections of sites - with a laptop to hand, of course.

The contents can be neatly summarised into two categories. The first is sites we are already aware of: +KN / 1+1=3 / 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle / 30gms / Ace Jet 170 / Book By Its Cover / Brand New / City of Sound (hooray) / Core77 / Coroflot / Creative Review Blog / designboom / dataisnature.com / the great Design Observer (pretty much the gold standard for a collaborative, creative blog) / Design*Sponge / DesignNotes / dezain.net / eBoy / Efimera / grain edit / I like / It's Nice That / Jean Snow / Josh Spear / Just Creative Design / Less Rain Blog (Red Bull Soapbox Racer) / Lost At E Minor (sample post: The Pool at The Joule, a Dallas hotel by Tihany Design that appears to be channelling the pool at The Adelphi in Melbourne (by Denton Corker Marshall)) / magCulture (always worthwhile).

And there's more, including NiceFuckingGraphics! / Noisy Decent Graphics (essential) / NOTCOT.ORG (likewise) / PingMag (which closed its doors at the end of last year) / printfetish (with a post on The September Issue) / Scrapatorium / Smashing Magazine / Speak Up (which closed in April 2009: weblogs are vessels for nostaglia too, 'I get terribly nostalgic writing this and reading all the great goodbyes our friends have sent in. It all makes me question the decision but, ultimately, nostalgia never carried anything forward. And we must move forward. Always.')

And a few more. Swissmiss / The Style Press / TheDieLine.com / the great Typographica / UnBeige (peeling wallpaper*) / UPPERCASE journal / The Skinny /VVORK / We Made This / we make money not art.

*

The other category is sites, rather embarassingly, we were not in the least bit aware of: re-nourish (soon to be part of rethink design) / track 6 designs / fresh tee guide / [LSD] / {non}TYPE / 40 fakes / a best truth / origen / abduzeedo / AiBURN / AisleOne / Akinori Oishi / All Graphic Design News / Alquimistas del Diseno / Amkashop / Andy Jacobson / Anepco Blog Packaging / Anna-Lisa Backlund / Another Limited Rebellion (sample post: DIY artist) / Another Company, now known as Another Something (sample link: photographer Geert Goiris) / Art Backwash / As Found (great - see 'every image on scientology.org' - perplexing) / Asi se fundo Carnaby Street / au secours j'ai un blog!!.

Be A Design Group / bees knees ('a little visual notebook', clearly happy with its copy) / Behance / BIT-101, which does fun things for iPhones / Bittbox, which pushes out little parcels of free (or low cost) creative work / BladBlog / Woumpah / Thomas Frenzel / Blogpocket / Bold / Brand Flakes for Breakfast / Brand Infection / Buenos Aires de Diseno / Caligrafia en Peru (also pleased) / Camilla Engman (sample post, photographs of the Alpes Maritimes) / Catalizado / Changethethought (sample link, photographs by Vincent Fournier) / COLOURlovers / Computerlove / Creative and Live / Creative Curio / Criterion / Social Fiction (previously known as Crystalpunk, and worth a look) / Cuarto derecha / cuatro cosas / CuatroTipos / cubik.

And still it goes on. Dailytype / Dan Germain / Dansk Dynamit / Stara Datasky / David Airey / Design Digest / Design Meltdown / Design Tagebuch / Design Trotter / Andy Rutledge's Design View / Design You Trust / designUp from Brazil, which might have once been the now dead http://www.design.com.br/blog / Design Altruism Project / designdiary / Designers who Blog / detalles / Digilicious / Disenistica / the invite-only Diseno Wolko / DissenyArt / Dlounge / Dorian Moore (book receipt post) / Draplin Design Co. / Duopixel (nicely done).

El Diseno no se Mancha (book receipt post) / El Utilitario / el50 / Elmanco / Etienne Mineur archives / evasee / exljbris font foundry / Stash DVD magazine (formerly FEED) / FormFiftyFive (sleek and nicely curated) / Freelance Folder / Freshcut.it / Fubiz / Generator.x / Graphic Design Blog (US) / Graficante / Graphic Design Blog (UK) / GraphicDesignBar / Graphic-ExchanGE / Guerilla Innovation.

Hard Format / Heavy Backpack / Heuserkampf / i heart photograph / I Love Typography / iA Notebook / iBLOG / ideasonideas / Illustration Friday / IllustrationClass / IPF / Inconciente Colectivo / InDesignSecrets.com / information aesthetics / Intenta / Isopixel.

Jbarahona.com / Journale (Asgeir Hoem / Jules Vernacular / Kanardo // Blog / Laughing Lion Design ('8 alternative versions of the London Tube Map') / Letritas / LifeClever / Linzie Hunter at Drawger / live from bklyn (which has moved to tumblr / Logo Design Love / Logolog.

Manystuff (in love with the process of print) / Maquetadores / Mariana Coan, now closed, moved to flickr / Mark Simonson Studio Notebook (sample post, on the launch of Typedia, 'a shared encyclopedia of typefaces') / Miau! Mao Mao Publications' Blog / Nina Klausen (site being updated) / NowNow / O.K.BLOG, a grid of things / On My Desk / Papel Continuo / Perpenduum (sample post: Recycled Houses) / Plixweb (now password protected?) / Print and Pattern.

Quipsologies (links to How 20 popular websites looked when they launched, a Daily Telegraph online department list special, but interesting in spite of this) / randform / Reconstructing Ideas / Repeatafterme, partly compiled by architectural illustrator Guillaume Ninove / Rob Goodlatte / Roger C.Parker's Design to Sell Blog (business book turned website, by the looks of things) / rohdesign / Round Pixel / Seccion Aurea / Selector, another grid of stuff / SELEKKT (on hiatus?) / Sequ3nce (down?) / Shaun Inman /.Skull-A-Day / Slanted / SocialDesignZine / SpiekerBlog / subconscious tonic / Subtraction.com / suffix.abuse / Superficiel in depth / Swiss Legacy.

The Design Conspiracy Blog / The Last Blog / John Maeda's unsurprisingly sporadic The Laws of Simplicity ('Life’s been quite busy for me since I became the President of the Rhode Island School of Design') / theyedropper / Things of Random Coolness / Wieden + Kennedy's now dead Think Global, Act Stupid / Your DIY Mustache (lovely link to these muscle car drawings / Tinselman (underwater churches) / Tiny Gigantic / TOCA ME (which died in April) / Treats and Treasures / Trend Insights / TT Crew / TutorialBlog (Photoshop focused) / see also Tutoriales Photoshop / Type for you.

United Visual Artists' blog / Valentina Tanni ('The Tree') / Vaquelita / Veerle's blog / ventilate.ca / VIEWERSLIKEU.COM / visual evasion / visualcomplexity.com / VisualMente / visuelle / Industrial Brand / Web Designer Wall / why not? / yewknee.com / You The Designer / Your Brain on Design.

*

The latter list is enormous and favours Spanish-speaking countries as a welcome break from the usual UK-US focus. Certain things surface again and again - key buzz words like 'creative', 'brand', 'design', 'graphic' - and we question the wisdom of 'freezing' web pages in print. There are also a few surprising omissions (Coudal, for example, or dezeen), as well as a couple of dead links, abandoned sites and switched directions (Artes Visuales and Serial Flasher, to name but two).

But overall, the tone is rather flat, a reflection of the relatively small circle of things, stuff, content and eyecandy that gets passed through the blogosphere (dread word). The book captures none of the esoteric splendour one might find in, say, the BLDGBLOG book or the BibliOdyssey publication, or their websites, or in Subtopia's architecture fetish or Curious Expedition's wanderlust, not to mention the worlds conjured up by Apothecary's Drawer, Cabinet of Wonders, the Atlas Obscura, The Map Room, Mrs Deane, efimera, ephemera, etc., etc.

The bulk of the sites in the book are about going forward, charting new work, new works, emerging sympathies, styles and movements, all framed by the technology that shapes the internet as a whole. Yet as a museological exercise, the contents of Mad About Design don't really succeeed; what's chronicled within is not a series of obsessions but rather the drive to be most visible. It's a book about creation, not curation. The catalogue raisonne of the web has yet to be compiled.

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