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Oct 22, 2007


Over the past few days, we've had a blast gathering the views of several influential design bloggers on the topic of blogging. We posed them 3 questions over email. Yes, the 3 that really matters. We hate doing long interviews ourselves and don't expect our guests to go through any form of agony doing the same.

The guests on this post are Tina Roth Eisenberg (TRE) from SwissMiss, Jo Walker (JW) from Desire To Inspire and Joy Deangdeelert Cho (JDC) from Oh Joy!.

Home Rejuvenation: What made you decide to write a design blog back then?

TRE: I started the blog as a visual archive of things 'that make me look'. I saw it as a tool for visually organizing my bookmarks. Arranging them in folders just didn't do it for me, as I probably wouldn't remember the name of a designer or product but would recognize it if I had a visual. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that so many people would tune in to my daily finds.

My blog has in the meantime turned into a tool that connects me with interesting designers and thinkers from all around the world, generates most of my new clients and is a source of income, you might have noticed the small ad.

JW: Desire To Inspire started in the last week of January so we are only 9 months old! Hard to believe that we have come so far in such a short time. It's very humbling to realise that so many people visit our site and appreciate what we are doing. The whole crazy roller coaster started when Kim and I met in the now defunct "Rooms I heart" group in Flickr. We both had lots of images saved and found an outlet to share them. It was addictive especially since people liked what we uploaded. When the group folded we decided to start a blog where we could continue.

The one thing we were adamant about was that the images had to be sourced and the website cited. We wanted people to be able to go to a designer's website and look at more of their work. We've had architects and interior designers track us down because their website counters have gone crazy with hits. I guess we kept going because it had become almost like "look what I found!" We write the blog as if it was for our friends and not the thousands that come everyday. We really wouldn't care if we weren't as successful as we have become. We do this for ourselves and others can drop by. I think that one of the things that a lot of people appreciate about the blog is that we are not pushing a personal agenda as such.

We're sharing what we love - room porn.

JDC: When I started my blog back in September 2005, it wasn't meant to be a design blog... it was much more personal and intended for close friends to read. I did create fun layouts of the images I posted but they were more a mix of personal observations than designed things.

Back then, the most of the visual blogs were photography blogs. Images were shown pretty small, and there were only a few well-read design blogs. I simply wanted to share many of the images and things I loved with others. I continued to focus on design in the blog as I began to connect with amazing people who had similar interests and tastes.

Home Rejuvenation: What do you think sets your blog apart from other blogs around?

TRE: The wide range of topics, the personal voice and the fact that my posts are short and visual. My readers log-on to SwissMiss to get a quick dose of visual stimuli.

JW: We cite the source. In the very very early few weeks we scanned images as well and cited the magazine but now we only post pictures that are on the web. We always link to the website and name the person whose work we are featuring. We do of course also feature exclusive pictures sent to us by designers and companies. We've noticed that since we started citing a source it has become more prevalent on other blogs. When we first started there were blogs that featured interior design, architecture and products but not as exclusively like Desire To Inspire. We look at ourselves as more of a magazine format than a blog. We have noticed that more blogs are featuring rooms than when we first started out. Kim and I think this is great as the more room porn out there the better :)

The other thing that sets us apart is the amount of text we have - very little. We're girls of few words and lots and lots of pictures!!! Desire To Inspire is visual not verbal. Desire To Inspire also features a wide range of styles and tastes from traditional to vintage boho to mid century to minimalist to Hollywood regency. If it looks good we post it.

JDC: I guess my point-of-view is naturally somewhat consistent. While I don't have a very specific focus, all of the things posted (whether interiors, jewelry, florals, or a cupcake) are all things I love visually. So while I usually don't realize it, people can sense my taste from the blog. Whether it's the color, composition, material, etc...these seemingly different things are connected by a common sensibility and beauty.

For that reason, I will probably never have many male readers, but that's okay with me.

Home Rejuvenation: How do you see blogs as an emerging form of media in the near future? Or how different do you think blogs are from mass media outlets like TV, magazines and papers?

TRE: Some of the blogs we see are not much different than a magazine or newspaper in terms of their content BUT blogs allow a dialogue. The beauty of this medium lies in the immediate exchange of publisher and reader. As my fellow blogger friend Chris Glass said: "A blog is a call to action."

JW: The importance of blogs is growing. Some of the audiences that the big boys pull are amazing. We're still staggered by the number of people who drop by daily to read us. The future is exciting but murky. Things are a little different in Australia and Canada where Kim and I are from. The States has a well established base for online magazines and blogging. In our parts of the world most people don't know what a blog is and very few of the shelter magazines have a strong online presence. This will change and it's interesting to be here at the beginning.

What I love about blogging and what I think sets it apart from the print media is the immediacy. I want to publish something and I can right now. I want to read something I can right now. There is no time frame. Interactive TV comes close but blogging and reading blogs has that "hot off the press" feel all the time. Archiving and retrieval is so easy. Blogs can also cater to niche markets that mainstream media would not find it economical to target. Networking through blog rolls opens the horizons even further. Where from here? Not sure. We're still trying to catch up with the speed of it all. It's a roller coaster but what a ride!

JDC: In keeping up with the increasing speediness of everything these days, blogs have really become the quickest way to find out about something new.

In the design blog world, new designers and products can launch their websites one day and then get instant traffic and a ton of orders the next day thanks to a mention from a well-read blog. It's really amazing and crazy all at the same time. While the "instant gratification" is quicker than a magazine, I don't see blogs ever replacing there will always be something so special about seeing your work in print. But it serves as a great complement to magazines as there are so many great things and people out there to see and to discover.

I think it's also amazing how large magazines and other companies now have their own blogs to be able to give their audience that type of instant gratification and a behind-the-scenes type look at what they do.



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5 comments: on "3 QUESTIONS THAT MATTER: PART 1"

Anonymous said...

Jo and Kim, you ladies r the best!

Brilliant Asylum said...

Very interesting to find out what makes each of these blogs tick. Thanks for sharing.

berry said...

These bloggers rock!

IF+D said...

Wow. As someone who has just started her own blog a mere 3 weeks ago, this post has been a wealth of information and confidence. I still don't really know what direction (if any I am going) but I do know that I have a heart and desire to bring Austin design to not only Austin, but to the country. Keep with the information and advice, it's certainly needed and much appreciated.

Interiores said...

Wow is the best!