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Life Is Short, Read A Brief Message

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Well, well, well, would you looky here. It seems there’s a new blog in town. A Brief Message is design criticism that you’re able to bite off, chew up, swallow and digest before you finish plowing through the intro paragraph of some other sites. It’s shorter, it’s faster, and it’s published by two very good friends of the Un, Khoi Vinh and Liz Danzico.

Vinh and Danzico both explain the concept and strategy in-depth on their own blogs, but boiled down (appropriately), here’s the deal:

A Brief Message features design opinions expressed in short form. Somewhere between critiques and manifestos, between wordy and skimpy, Brief Messages are viewpoints on design in the real world. They’re pithy, provocative and short–200 words or less.

The pieces will also be illustrated, a nice touch for looping in some new and established designers and illustrators. Plus we’ll venture to give some advice to anyone wanting to launch a design blog: Leading with Steven Heller is a pretty darn good way to get started.

Beige A Design Group

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Being called upon, as we are from time to time, to mediate various design-related color debates, we try to remain netural when it comes to matters of blogs. But neutrality, in fact, is the very reason we feel we must address this most current issue. Be A Design Group has just redesigned its site, using a palette that could best be described as PMS Beige. Why so pale? Are they trying to tell us something? Or does this make them our nemesis?

Poynor Responds To Speak Up’s “Less Than Penetrating”-ness

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We’ve been watching from our front row seats as the Print/print vs. Speak Up/blogs design writing battle of the century unfolded, wondering if/when Rick Poynor would return to his bloggy ways to defend himself: Would he comment on Speak Up? Post an editor-emeritus response on Design Observer?

Instead, Poynor posts a second essay on Print’s website in which he simply wants to clarify that he’s not attacking blogs, or community, or the online world, simply the quality of writing they produce. In fact, he links to an article he wrote in a 2003 issue of Eye where he praises Speak Up: “Speak Up provides a vital sense of belonging to a community and that’s no small service. Something genuinely new is emerging here.”

However, that doesn’t solve the problem that on the whole design blog writing online is not as good as design print writing. The final word for aspiring design bloggers? Just try harder, he says:

“Designer writers should aim higher and, if they really can’t, they should stop pretending to know it all about areas of activity–writing and editing–in which they admit they are amateurs.”

Kingsley vs. Poynor vs. Vit vs…Aw, We Can’t Keep Track Anymore

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Gotta love the potential, at least, in this free-for-all. M. Kingsley takes Rick Poynor to task for his scathing essay in the current issue of Print (not online yet, by the way) which eviscerates Speak Up…starting with Armin Vit‘s manifesto, which we wondered about ourselves.

But from there, it gets a little nasty. There’s hints at a purported rivalry between Speak Up and Design Observer, the supposed “real” reasons why no Speak Up essays were included in the most recent Looking Closer 5, and a general edited-offline vs. community-based-online debate.

We’re not ones to say who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to blogs and mags, but let’s just take a moment to notice one thing: It took almost three months for Poynor to respond in Print (and in print) to what Vit casually tossed into the online ring on February 13. Vit responded to Poynor’s Print piece in two days, and is just begging for some kind of rebuttal. Does Poynor succumb to the blogginess and jump in the ring?

DesignSessions: Strong Enough For Professionals, But Made For Students

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Students have another blog to add to their bookmarks DesignSessions, which features quite a long list of contributors including names we love like Bryn Mooth, Terry Stone and Steve Portigal. You can also join the community which even includes a Student Success Club, which awards–you guessed it–gold stars.

Nussbaum Apologizes For Poor Spelling

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Oh Nussie, Nussie, Nussie. You don’t have to apologize to us–we were just kidding.

We’re sure someone out there can help you find a spell check for your blog. But it won’t correct stuff like “Moveable” Type. For that you’ll have to use this little-known innovation.

Kathy Sierra Receives Death Threats, Cancels Speaking Engagement

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Creating Passionate Users author Kathy Sierra, who we know best as the sparkling crowd-pleasing speaker from this year’s SXSW, recently revealed that she’s received multiple death threats on her blog, forcing her to cancel her appearance at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference this week.

But that’s not all. Apparently a blog was created awhile back called meankids.org where some well-esconced members of the blogosphere bashed other bloggers…you know, all in good fun…right? But on that blog…well, it’s pretty graphic stuff so you can read Sierra’s post for all the nasty details. Fact of the matter is, blogs just got pretty damn ugly, and that makes us pretty damn sad.

If Designers Are the Enemy, Are Innovators the Heroes?

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Woohoo! There’s nothing like a design bombshell to distract us from our Monday mourning. It all started when Bruce Nussbaum, champion of spelling and punctuation innovation, lashed out at designers in a speech he gave at Parsons last week:

In the name of provocation, let me start by saying that DESIGNERS SUCK. I’m sorry. It’s true. DESIGNERS SUCK. There’s a big backlash against design going on today and it’s because designers suck.

Well, actually, it didn’t start there. Nussbaum’s arrogant designer bashing actually goes all the way back to last week, when he picked up on something Philippe Starck supposedly said at TED:

“We are almost gods now,” said Starck.

It seems that quote was taken a bit out of context, especially since most TED bloggers claimed that Starck wasn’t as much arrogant as impossible to understand. Nussbaum apologized and leaves it up to the video to decide (it’s not posted yet). Nussbaum also references the wonderful Core77 article about design backlash that was published a few months ago, but doesn’t link to it. Maybe because it’s a lot better than his speech.

In the meantime, for the sucky designers out there who can’t read (probably all of you, you arrogant, delusional bastards with god complexes), David Armano has illustrated Nussbaum’s speech.

Steven Heller Bowing Down to Blog Lords Daily

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Well, well, well. He swore to us he didn’t want one. And we quote:

Alissa, lest I be a curmudgeonly heretic I must say in jolly fashion, there are too many blogs. Too many opinions, observations, commentaries, drivel-ings (oops, my prejudices are showing). It’s not that I don’t drivel myself, but a blog would be an open invitation to unrestricted, unedited, and unwanted me. I’d much rather pass a few choice observations to you from time to time.

Steven Heller is now blogging daily at The Daily Heller. We admit, we kinda like unrestricted, unedited, and unwanted Heller. But does this mean no more choice observations for us?

You’ll find The Daily Heller, by the way, on the website of Print–the very same Print that’s a American Society of Magazine Editors finalist for General Excellence. I.D. and Metropolis got nominated in the same category, too. Go design mags!

Proof That Your ‘Cheeseburger Wrapper Collection’ Blog May One Day Pay Off (Take That, Parents!)

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An interesting story to close out the day for this writer. It’s from Innovation Creators and the post “My Blog Got Me a New Job,” which seems like a nice opposite to the Dooced stories you hear floating around out there so often. He goes over how he landed the position because of his writing work on his site, and then tries to go a bit further by saying that having a blog might serve as the tipping point. He’s even got a graph, so you know it’s legit. Here’s some:

When you hire someone, you do not know exactly how they are going to work out. There is a quality distribution. The resume, cover letter and interview give you some information. Based on that information, you can guess on average how the candidate is going to work out. You might guess the exact same quality level for the blogger candidate, but because you have more information from all the blog posts, all the links, searching on their site for instances of how they have handled angry comments, you get a much better idea of how that candidate is going to perform.

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