July 15, 2008

NewNewInterview with Grace of Design*Sponge

Our third installment from indie style bloggers come from Grace of Design*Sponge. Woo hoo!

1. So tell us a little about your site and how you got started?

d*s is basically a site devoted to all things design-related, whether that's diy projects, home design or individual projects and fine art. i started the site as a hobby and over the past 4 years it's grown into my full time job and supporting a small staff of 5 editors.

2. What do you look for when featuring an artist?

i primarily look for something that grabs me instantly- whether it's a color, a pattern or an overall composition- i need to be really drawn in for me to consider posting it. when i first started i would post things willy nilly because i loved everything i came across in some way or another. but i've tried to cut back and focus on posting more substantive posts (well, compared to my earlier posts) that are distinct because the work is really unique, brand-new, or innovative in some way.

3. Suggestions on how to generate buzz about your products?

i'm rather partial to blogs and local art shows because they reach two distinct markets: blogs are generally run by pretty friendly people looking to showcase great work to a national and international audience. if you're targeted well for a given site, it can be a great way to reach a large audience- including magazine editors who read the site. i also suggest local art and craft shows because they're a great way to build hometown support and find a good network of local shops to carry and support your work. i think both levels are important these days.

4. What not to do when contacting sites like yours?

just the basics: don't lie about your product or any aspect of your work (this happens more than i would like), be polite and personal (always use a blog/editor's name and not a general "dear editor") and try contacting sites/magazines one at a time. you can maximize your story size by giving any given site an exclusive or a small head start on the general blog population. i also think it helps to keep things short and sweet and attach a few pictures- we work in a really visual field so i always love to see a few well, shot pictures of people's work.

5. What blogs do you follow to stay current?

i really love the photography and fashion blogs in the market right now- especially scott at the sartorialist and some of the photography sites that are run by students on the west coast. but i always read sites like oh joy, lena corwin's blog and kelly cooper's "hoping for happy accidents". i also love maria vettese's port2port site. they all have such strong visual points of view (that are different from my own) and i love seeing what they have to say about things on a regular basis. and not a day goes by that i don't read dooce.com. and 101cookbooks.com, mattbites.com and orangette- i love well photographed food sites.

6. What trends do you see developing? What products or styles are hot?

in products? well patterns are big and i think we'll see them stick around for a few more years. magazines seem to be calling it an "ethnic" trend towards things like indian and moroccan patterns. i think we're just moving away from more geometric patterns and towards something more ornate. i'm personally trying to narrow it down a bit and stick to a few key patterns in my house but i'm sure they'll stick around for a while. i also think we'll start to see some progression in the area of eco-friendly design. i'd love to see designers start moving forward with the idea of found materials and using them in interesting ways.

7. Is blogging more of a hobby or do you see this becoming a long term career choice?

it's definitely my full-time job right now but i've been trying to think outside the box when it comes to the next 3-5 years. i'm a little worn out when it comes to the daily product post format so i'm in the process of trying to imagine what the next step should be when it comes to the site. we'll see what happens...

8. Do you see yourself embracing new media to reach your audience (podcasting, video)?

i did podcasts for a year and while i think some people enjoyed them they just really tanked for me. a few thousand people would download each one but as a percentage of my overall audience it was really low- so i'm going to try to do more videos. design is such a visual process it really needs to be seen to be appreciated and understood. it's tough to capture a product or interior with just audio.

9. What do you think sets you apart from other design blogs?

i really try not to think abouit d*s in relation to other sites. i think any site is unique because of the overall voice it projects. i've always tried to stay true to the mission i had when i started and grow as i feel the need to try something different. so i think my voice, and now the voice of our contributing writers, is what makes us different from another site. but overall i think we just try to do our own thing and put as much positive, interesting work out there as we can.

10. Any other thoughts you'd like to share?

just that i'm excited to see where this new media movement goes in relation to design. i think video is really where it's all going and i'm excited to see what new trends and tools we see in blogging in the next 3-5 years.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Special thanks to Grace for taking the time for this interview. Be sure to check out Grace at Design*Sponge (http://www.designspongeonline.com/).

Collective Elements


saramcmartin said...

thanks for such a great feature! I'm a big fan of the Design Sponge blog.

MaryAnne LoVerme said...

I love this series, Danielle! Great installment!

Danielle said...

Glad people are enjoying it!!!

Kate said...

Danielle, I love these interviews! It was a great idea to interview successful craft/design blog writers, and I love the questions that were asked and answers procured!

KimmChi said...

I must say, i was a devoted fan of the Design Sponge Podcast!