Interview on Design

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) for an interview with Jeni Herberger, a regular HOW Conference speaker and contributor (she’ll be speaking at this year’s In-HOWse Designer Conference). Jeni does an online radio show called Talk Story, where she interviews interesting folks from across the design profession.

We talked a lot about the massive changes rocking both the design and publishing fields, about the nature of creativity, about finding your true calling, about trends we’re seeing in design. Here’s a snippet of our conversation about how technology allows pretty much anyone with a computer to publish or to design:

If you think about publishing on a micro level, with blogs and even Twitter, which is publishing in a very short form, it’s been interesting personally … I’m writing more now than I used to because I’m posting on the blog all the time. It’s an interesting opportunity for someone who works with words that all of a sudden there are all of these social media and digital outlets that don’t exist on the printed page.

In publishing, and I hear this a lot in design, too, the fact that technology makes the tools to do our work very accessible … I mean, anyone can have a blog, right? It’s democratized the access to the tools and the ability to publish your voice and your words and your thinking. But it also makes the really good stuff stand out.

I think the same thing is happening in design–we’re hearing a lot about crowdsourcing and cheap design websites and all of that, and I think that technology has made the tools available to just about everybody to do the work that we do. But the people who do the really good work … that’s really rising to the top now.

You can make the parallels in all kinds of fields and professions. Target can mass-produce a lot of furniture that’s perfectly fine for your college dorm room, but you want something more artfully crafted when you grow up and buy a house. There are different access points for purchasing and delivering these goods and services, whatever they happen to be.

People are really nervous … well, because everyone can have a blog, then publishing is going away. But I think it’s the counterpoint to that, really. Good publishing rises up above all the clutter that’s out there. So I say, ‘Bring on the bloggers.’

You can access our conversation in a couple of ways: from Jeni’s website, or from the Blog Talk Radio website.