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Tuesday, February 23, 2010
An impending darkness. We've recently become aware of Blogger's intention to 'switch off' something called FTP publishing. Last time we looked, our settings said ominously 'You are publishing via FTP'. Admittedly there seems to be plenty of information out there (e.g. Blogger FTP info) but it highlights an unwelcome side effect of 'push button publishing'; that one inevitably forgets exactly what each button does, only that one needs to push it. The things facade is paper thin, jerry-built on a rickety frame of bad html, poor design decisions and fudges, its foundations swampy and prone to subsidence. Remove one brick and the whole edifice is in danger of tumbling down. We'll endeavour to 'migrate' with minimum inefficiency, but if anyone knows of a 'one button solution' that turns this particular structure into a shiny wordpress blog without bringing this whole charade cascading about our ears, we'd love to hear it.


Other things. The BBC posts about the Boneyard, or AMARG, to give it its official title / imagery collected at Fontanel / 20 Jazz Funk Greats, an mp3 blog / Spoilt Victorian Child has re-emerged as SVC Records / Filling the Gap, slightly psychedelic photo manipulations / Sky: A Dubai Video by Philip Bloom.

The work of Reynaud Philippe, especially 'Forms of Google Earth' / dead spaces: beneath motorways, places Joe Moran writes about quite successfully / it was a pleasure to be linked on this page, all about a new global visual language for the BBC's digital services' (slightly bandwidth murdering though). It's a fascinating read - almost as in depth as Dan Hill's legendary analysis of

Street poetry at a barriga de um arquitecto / Abbatts cards at Kickcan and Conkers / possible use for Chat Roulette: as a venue for an endless imaginary gig, with a constantly shifting, demanding, restless and attention-deficit audience / on tape fetishism. Hardly surprising: every technology has a twilight, a passing and a revival / design by Tom Skipp.

Art and photography by Christoph Draeger, including Catastrophes 1 and 2 and Voyages Apocalyptiques / Satan's Laundromat, an abandoned photolog / The Holy Sandwich / recommended: Life Stories, a 'pick of the best profiles and life stories from news and magazine sites and blogs around the web' / via Life Stories, extracts from the John Hughes Archive.

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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 / / the great Design Observer (pretty much the gold standard for a collaborative, creative blog) / Design*Sponge / DesignNotes / / 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 / / 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' - 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 / 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 / / 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 / / information aesthetics / Intenta / Isopixel. / 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 / / 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 / / VIEWERSLIKEU.COM / visual evasion / / VisualMente / visuelle / Industrial Brand / Web Designer Wall / why not? / / 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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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fine, biting comment about online design culture, curation, collection and presentation (with the emphasis on the latter):

'The newest design blogs are particularly telling of this as they largely seem to concentrate on a steady-stream of eye-candy and visual masturbation. Seemingly, the past year has played host to the superseding of actual writing and reflection on design to vapid graphical lists like "25 Great Green Websites". Easy to create, bookmark, and subsequently mimic, it's as though we've collectively walked into the great karaoke lounge of design–all of it somehow comforting but unlikely to result in anything of substance.'

(at Ideas on Ideas, via DO). We're as guilty as the next site of propogating this cut-and-paste culture, celebrating the little instances of personal curation that make sense and hopefully standing back when the link blizzard is totally impenetrable


Other things. A small selection of vintage advertisements directed by Howard Guard. Some real gems: the Lincoln Mark VI spot is a jarring reminder of a time when modern architecture appeared to be way, way ahead of car design. Today, the gap has closed somewhat.

The 1066 game is beautifully atmospheric / Raffinerie's work for Swiss International Airlines has a certain finesse / modern slums at House 2.0 / the evolution of aspect ratios / the Russian Space Museum.

We can highly recommend the i like bookshop for a well curated collection of reading and watching matter / Lyddle End 2050 is constantly evolving, a fantasy town tumbled through Hornby / for more silhouette flash fun see Little Wheel (via Offworld).

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

At times, the weblog feels like a very transitory format. It is the VHS cassette of media delivery. There came a point where everyone had videos: they were the future, and huge sums were being invested in ensuring the technology was as efficient as possible. The fall-off from ubiquity to obsolescence was precipitous - and video was unceremoniously ejected. And the weblog? What use a steady stream of pointers to new corners of the digital realm when we are slowly but inexorably heading towards an ultimate goal: the digitisation of absolutely everything.

Last week, both The Guardian and its sister paper the Observer announced their digital archives, pay to view sites that 'will eventually contain reproductions of every page, article and advertisement published in The Observer since its birth in 1791 and in our sister paper The Guardian since it started in 1821.' It's not cheap; a monthly pass costs £49.95 (and one wonders how long this data will stay secure in this leaky world of 1s and 0s). But it is a start. Weblogs will lose their status as custodians of the leaky, poorly-catalogued and dusty library that is the internet. Instead, they will be the modern equivalent of Gilbert Bland, map thiefs and bookbreakers for a new era.


Other things. Those crazy 80s. See also our gallery here / go on, build a Lego model of the Imperial Executor, the 19km long 'personal flagship of Darth Vader'. The instructions are a work of art, and the model only includes 1548 more pieces than Lego's own Imperial Star Destroyer model / Military Planes Collide over East Braintree / BackStory: Casa Da Musica, the Archinect series looks at OMA's faceted masterpiece in Porto.

Good to see that Gillespie, Kidd and Coia have their own website, many years after their demise. There's also an extensive flickr pool for explorers of the modernist ruins of St Peter's Seminary in Cardross, the firm's abandoned masterpiece. It has an extensive web presence: SubmitResponse, Risky Buildings, Glasgow Architecture, Hidden Glasgow, and the Twentieth Century Society. The fashion for building websites for the dead continues - see the Basil Spence Archive.

London's new Olympic stadium unveiled, fresh controversy follows close behind: Bland as a bowl of blancmange. Really? Few building types are more suited to being empty vessels than stadiums. Conversely, the superficiality of applied decoration or elaborate structural conceits also looks most obvious on a stadium, a building of raw functionality (and flexibility, far more so than any number of cultural or creative spaces).

House and Garden shuts up shop, citing excessive operating costs. A million subscribers left bereft / The Fourth Plinth, Thomas Schutte's imaginary Philippe Starck hotel for pigeons. Flickr sets of previous Fourth Plinth projects. The official Fourth Plinth site / Why VHS was better than Betamax.

More Hidden Glasgow, a gem of a site (see 'water towers') / The Piracy Paradox, James Surowiecki in The New Yorker on the role copying plays in progressing planned obsolescence. (via La Petite Claudine). Also via LPC, Bob Truby's Brand Name Pencils. A world of long and oversized ferrules. It is a thing of beauty.

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