Intelligent navigation for designers


I’ve been under the weather, which must mean I’m in pretty bad shape since that would put me below these low-hanging clouds that are producing rain, actual rain, in LA, in October.

But before I befell whatever virus was floating around a deceptively sunny Seattle, I was able to speak at Design Trends Seattle as part of a wonderful panel including Anita Engs, co-founder of Furnitureseen (who I’ve paneled with before); Debbie Kennedy, Director of Interiors at Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (whose office I covered for a story in Fast Company); and John Tusher, founder of the web and now brick & mortar store Velocity Art & Design (where my mom and I stopped by after the panel; it’s a fantastic place). I promised to post the links we referenced for all the attendees, and the advice we cobbled together was so useful I thought I’d share it with all of you, too.

We talked a lot about the power of blogs when designers (and their clients) are sourcing materials or products, researching prices, finding inspiration and connecting with other designers. A great way to find new blogs to read is through the blog index Technorati, which is essentially a Google for blogs. It just so happens they recently posted their State of the Blogosphere report, which breaks down everything from who the bloggers are, to what they’re writing about, and how they’re profiting off their blogs (here’s that link in case you want to skip right to the moneytalk).

Another tool we all found useful was Google Reader, a great way to organize and subscribe to the blogs you like to read. A fun tool is the Wayback Machine, where you can look at what websites looked like more than a decade ago (how about Velocity Art & Design, say, May 2000?). And if you want to start a blog, two easy places to get started are Blogger and WordPress. And if you’re looking for a graphic designer to help build or customize a blog or website, visit AIGA’s site to find the right person for you.

Social networking was also deemed an important part of how designers made connections on the web. Facebook and Linked In were two networking resources utilized by individuals and businesses alike, as well as design-specific social networking sites like StyleHive, Trendhunter and NotCot.

Sites we like included everything from furniture resources to architecture gossip blogs. Here’s a list, and don’t forget to check each blog’s list of links to see what blogs their authors like to read. Happy clicking!

1st Dibs: A fantastic resource for antique and vintage furnishings

Apartment Therapy: Fabulous interiors, DIY and inspiration; also has sites for baby, tech, green

Archinect: Invaluable architecture industry news and discussions

ArchNewsNow: A daily digest of all the architecture news fit to print; a must-read!

Architect’s Newspaper: Industry publication with New York and California-specific editions

BLDG BLOG: A thoughtful examination of architecture and environments, built and unbuilt

Coolhunting: Trends, style, gadgets, videos and all-around cool stuff

Core77: The industrial design supersite includes job listings and a great blog

Curbed: Real estate, architecture and development blogs for NY, LA and SF

Design Observer: Essays and (sometimes heated) conversation about current design issues

Design*Sponge: Design, furniture, DIY, interiors

Home Resource Network Seattle: A great example of a local contractor referral service

Inhabitat: Design with a focus on sustainability; also, Inhabitots

Material Connexion: Where to find new and innovative materials

MoCo Loco: A keen eye for modern and contemporary design

NotCot: A blizzard of design and style; also has a social networking component

Pruned: An intelligent and very funny look at the landscape design industry

The Sartorialist: Fashion snapped on streets around the world

swissmiss: Modern design, from graphics to gadgets

Treehugger: Authoritative blog on green design and architecture

Trendhunter: Trends with a social networking component

UnBeige: Design news and gossip with a great sense of humor

If you’ve got any design sites you love, feel free to leave them in the comments. And thanks to Design Trends Seattle for having us participate!

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  • darin montgomery

    i was in attendance and the discussion was informative and interesting. it was nice to be the beneficiary of other peoples research and experience.

  • Anita Engs

    Thanks for the summary and for listing sites and blogs that may be of interest to the design community.

  • Anita Engs

    Thanks for the summary and for listing sites and blogs that may be of interest to the design community.