4.15.2008

readers speak: price tag for inspiration?



The great thing about a blog rather than a website is the collaborative nature of the former. I so love reading comments and seeing readers connect with each other to form relationships that can be vital in the future. So, naturally, I'd like to open a 'reader's speak' forum, where any and ALL are welcome to comment about the subject at hand. I'll probably do this weekly, save that it doesn't get totally out of control and it becomes the land of design bashing. Because that? That is NOT ok with me.

Anyway, I've received a bit of flack lately for the content of Design for Mankind. I've added some features that I rather enjoy (i.e. 'photo of the day'), but that aren't typical of "design blogs." In other words, I'm not paying homage to the type of design that can be purchased, and I'm not listing a ton of stores/shops/online merchandise.

So my question for you is: does it matter? If you love a print, does it have to be hanging in your office to provide inspiration, or can you simply be inspired in the moment that it's found?

May's eZine (to be released the last week of April) stems from this topic, where I've contacted dozens of artists/photographers/etc to reveal inspiration in the unexpected. I'm so excited to share some of these, b/c they're very close to my heart. I'm a firm believer that Americans have a BIG problem with consumerism, so sometimes it pains me to hear that we can't be inspired without a pricetag.

Your thoughts? Can it be done? Can we teach ourselves to inspire others with our words, our actions, our photos? Our must we seek inspiration in the tangible?

[Leaving to hang out with a few lovely LA ladies, but am looking forward to hearing your thoughts when I return!]

80 comments:

poetic home said...

The main reason I love your blog is because of its non-consumer slant!! I think all of our homes should reflect what inspires us - and that is not necesarily found through purchasing items. A beautiful photo may prompt us to think of a memory of the past - and then creating a vignette capturing those emotions....none of that can be bought, boxed, shipped, or replicated. As a stylist, I've found that the most beautiful images come from non-commercial shoots, with moments and treasures that cannot be ever bought. Major kudos to you for writing outside of the box and inspiring us all with the wonders of life that are priceless!

mandco said...

This certainly is interesting! :-) I love good design, I really appriciate art and I love those moment of pure inspiration when seeing something interesting. For me its nothing about the price tag, its the appriciation of the work, and inspiration that it provides me, that gets to me. I really hope you'll keep your e-zine like that; inspirational, and not simply a product showcase. After all, you certainly do not go to the Louvre to look at products to buy do you ;-)

Diana said...

THANK YOU for bringing this topic up. I have been feeling the same way because I post inspirational furniture and design that:

1. I can't afford
2. Can't always be bought online
3. and isn't always tangible.

I'm inspired in the moment, and I can see something, love it, and not have an immense desire to purchase it...just appreciate the design aesthetic and care that went into that object. Down the road I may remember that piece or those words and be re-inspired all over again.

I have also been feeling down about posting things that aren’t handmade, but manufactured pieces. Again, I DON’T want to buy all this stuff (even if I had the money) I want to share and admire it. Is this wrong design blog thinking? Sometimes I'm even afraid to classify myself as a design blog - it's just a me and you blog for everyone and everything. I'm rambling..thanks for bringing this up!

S.HOPtalk said...

Erin:

I am and continue to be inspired by so many things which I have no intention of ever actually purchasing (either due to budgetary reasons or impracticality). I love to see what others do with their creativity and the ideas they put into action.

I also hang on to magazines for years and continually refer back to pictures and articles for inspiration, rarely flipping to the "resources" page for purchasing info. Am I crazy? ;)

I LOVE what you share with us, price tag or not...keep it coming!

Diana said...

THANK YOU for bringing this topic up. I have been feeling the same way because I post inspirational furniture and design that:

1. I can't afford
2. Can't always be bought online
3. and isn't always tangible.

I'm inspired in the moment, and I can see something, love it, and not have an immense desire to purchase it...just appreciate the design aesthetic and care that went into that object. Down the road I may remember that piece or those words and be re-inspired all over again.

I have also been feeling down about posting things that aren’t handmade, but manufactured pieces. Again, I DON’T want to buy all this stuff (even if I had the money) I want to share and admire it. Is this wrong design blog thinking? Sometimes I'm even afraid to classify myself as a design blog - it's just a me and you blog for everyone and everything. I'm rambling..thanks for bringing this up!

troll formerly known as yooper said...

The reason I subscribe to your blog is because it is eclectic and interesting. I appreciate that you are not pushing conserism - I can get a great deal of inspiration from items/pictures without actually purchasing them. I have an inspiration board in my workroom that is quickly becoming filled with a variety of items, many of which seem to have no common thread.

Please keep doing what you are doing.

troll formerly known as yooper said...

Sorry, I should have hit the review button first. conserism should be consumerism.

Kati said...

I am totally in the same boat. As someone who has a strong diy ethic (and who spent over a year not buying new clothing and re-fashioning or sewing my own) its weird having a consumer-centric blog. At the same time, when you neglect to include a shopping link (or if something is unavailable) people get upset. It's as if I'm hearing that something holds less inspirational value when it doesn't have a physical value. Does that make sense?

I love to just look at things - especially as there is no way my wallet will ever come close to supporting my passion for design.

I know it can be hard to ignore the negative feedback but your mix of inspiring offerings is what makes this blog so fab. You can't put a price on that. ;)

design for mankind. said...

Oh my--- that was fast, you guys. I totally appreciate what you are saying, and I have to admit... it's an ABSOLUTE breath of fresh air. I'd hate to feel like Design for Mankind is "adding to the noise" in a sense--- it's hard enough for us to resist purchasing new items to achieve a certain status or internal belief, and I'd hate to fuel that human nature. Thank you for seeing this blog as nothing more than an avenue toward inspiration--- both tangible and not.

THANK YOU.

littlemithi said...

I have wondered quite a lot about this ... the great thing about the blogging world is that you can surf to your hearts content and be inspired by the beauty in art and design out there.

But then do you REALLY need to have that fabulous piece of art on your walls too? Sometimes I just don't have the money, sometimes the beautiful red flower vase just won't go in predominantly blue living room (no MATTER how beautiful!).

I've had my blog for a while and people keep telling me that "you should sell you stuff". Why? I might want to become a freelance editorial illustrator, working to client briefs .. do I really NEED to have the etsy shop (unless I feel I have something to offer that way too of course!)?

Good design is not always about consumable products (says the girl who is engaged to a design engineer who teaches sustainable design).

design for mankind. said...

OK confession time, Mithi. I'm totally one of those people that think you NEED to have a shop, but that's totally for selfish reasons.

Forgive me? :)

a cat of impossible colour said...

Like the other commenters, I enjoy the fact that your blog posts are eclectic and that you don't just list prices and shops! Your blog name, 'Design for Mankind', should give people a heads-up that it is about inspiration and not just about consuming. :)

jen said...

it can't always be about a product. good design is inspirational not because you can go get it and put it out, but because it gets you thinking about what is possible. how you might do something- or makes you look at something in an entirely different way.
good design is sometimes about a product for me- but most of the time it is simply about keeping my eyes open- especially when I am reading a blog like yours that lets me see so many new to me things and keeps me thinking all the time.
if it is only about a product i think we loose so much of the beauty- you don't have to possess everything that you think is lovely. in fact many of those things one can never really possess in the first place.
thank you for bringing up this very interesting topic.

design for mankind. said...

VERY well said, Jen. I absolutely agree and think this is such a unique perspective!!! :)

design for mankind. said...

MandCo: "After all, you certainly do not go to the Louvre to look at products to buy do you ;-)"

LOVE THAT! :)

littlemithi said...

You're forgiven Erin ;) Infact I don't want to be an editorial illustrator - I want to design my own stationary and surface pattern to sell ... But at the moment, going through the education is more important...

Back on topic, what we love about your blog is the inspiration ... not so much the shopping catalog (its nice too - but not always necessary)

rachael said...

i think it's refreshing for some things to just be appreciated for what they are...with so many design blogs out there, it's also nice that you set yourself apart this way.
it's one of the reasons why i like your blog :)

design for mankind. said...

HA, thank you, Mithi. And Rachael--- I totally spelled your name wrong on your blog. Totally sorry. Wow. :)

Thanks for your words of affirmation; I learn so much from so many of you... indeed, inspiration comes from everywhere [and everyone!!!].

Kelly Lynn Jones said...

cant wait to meet you tonight!! xo

heidi said...

Erin: as artists, we know that inspiration comes from everywhere... we just need to be open to it. Then there are times when you need to seek it out... your blog is like hitting the motherload. For me, it's not about shopping at all. It's about seeing.

Kelly Lynn Jones said...

i am inspired by so much in which has nothing to do with money especially all kinds of art. i paint and draw not because i think i could make some print, or it be profitable, or even like-able. i make art because it is something i have to do..the moment i could hold a pencil i was drawing..it is what gets me up in the morning, its my everything.....of course with that said, i run a store where i sell art prints...i also need to pay rent and the bills etc...and what best way to do that, but by having my own job where i get to help out other artists is amazing to me.
anyhow i just rambled on...i love your blog erin...its one of my favs. xo

amy said...

funny - just this morning I was considering stealing into Anthropologie to try on everything I loved, photograph it, and just keep the memory of why i loved the dress or whatever. I guess my idea there was that even though I can't buy everything I love - and there are a lot of things - I can still hold on to the feeling. Really, when we appreciate art and design it's because of how it makes us feel more than anything else. but, i mean, you should still buy pillows. haha

Julia said...

Okay, so this might be "revealing" a funky part of me, but there's a part in the classic Anne of Green Gables book that has Anne and Diana wandering up Diana's great Aunt's grand staircase. Anne mentions that she feels sorry for this great Aunt. Why? Because there's no room for imagination!

I love the fact that there are blogs out there giving shout-outs to all different sorts of things. I have to admit that I personally enjoy blogs that have plenty of "scope for the imagination!" However you desire to interpret that!

How you had a lovely time hanging out with your friends :)

Julia said...

By the way, I think you hit on something HUGELY important with your comment about Americans and their consumerism! I would love to discuss this :) It pains me too to realize that there is appreciation when there's a price tag attached!

the butterfly collector said...

hi Erin , just wanted to add my two cents! I love that your blog truly features what inspires you in the moment! I will only put things on mine that inspire me immediately too!
I get more enjoyment from window shopping as an experience and bringing home a head full of ideas than brining home stuff! I love to go for walks and get inspired by nature, architecture, the sea, a garden! I am a magazine addict and get a serious buzz from flipping pages rather than
flashing my credit card! I love to rummage through second hand stores and thrift shops to find an object I can make into something new! And what greater inspiration than the net when you can visit flickr and etsy , Design for Mankind and the WORLD and be inspired constantly! Thanks for producing such a great blog, keep doing what you are doing!

mizu designs said...

Gosh no I certainly don't have to purchase a print (or anything else for that matter) to enjoy looking at it on a blog or magazine. Just seeing the beauty briefly is enough for me. I agree that people from wealthy, western countries generally have a big problem with consumerism and we have to really look hard at this. There is so much stuff purchased and then thrown away every day. The best lesson I had in keeping myself in check is living in a 3 metre x 2 metre apartment in Japan for 7 years and not being able to buy anything because there was simply nowhere to put it. It was a great experience in understanding what I really needed to live.

Claire said...

I have really been enjoying the photo of the day content! I think if you can't find inspiration in images and the intangible, then maybe you should stick to flipping through catalogs. Art should be an important inspiration - it's how you hone your eye and build your own style. Keep it up! :)

design for mankind. said...

I'm reading all of these while I'm stuck in traffic and am just so inspired by what you all are saying. Gracious, I couldn't have said it better than you all do, collectively!!!

Next week's topic sounds like it should be consumerism... and oh gracious, do I have a bone to pick on THAT subject!!!!!!!

Thank you, sweet dearies. You are fabulous--- each and every one of you.

theartcloud said...

the main reason i visit blogs like design for mankind, is for a daily hit of free inspiration. what i love about your blog is its personal touch, it's obvious that you use it as an outlet to expose and share what comes to you. which i think is awesome.

this is a great topic to bring up. i've been thinking a lot about the function of things that can't be sold lately... i think in some ways their function is much more important than might seem obvious.

keep it up, please :)

erinn said...

Erin, you rock. nuff said.

But seriously, I do struggle with the whole consumerism thing as a blogger. When I began to think of what 'happy living' is the first thing that came to mind is what it was not about and that is buying lots of stuff to fill our homes. I really try to keep that in mind with each and every one of my posts. Just because one is a so-called 'design blogger' doesn't mean one has to become a shopping guide.

The comments here are amazing and it makes me even more proud to be a part of this community.

Did I say that you rock? Oh yea. I did.

design for mankind. said...

GOOSEBUMPS. I have them. :)

Megan said...

I enjoy your blog BECAUSE of it's non-consumer slant. I am tired of the BAZILLION blogs (and magazines for that matter!) That simply show a photo of a product and the price and where to get it. It's like a daily catalog. UGH! Enough! I like to peruse lots of blogs for inspiration and eye candy and I find that the things that touch me most AREN'T the consumer blogs, but the ones that are rich in imagery and aren't the same content all the time. Designers have to be aware and discover trends BEFORE they happen...they have to CREATE trends. How can you do that while always looking at objects/products currently out there?

Amy said...

Wow! I think I could write a thesis on this topic, however, I will refrain. I personally pride myself in the shunning of price tags and name brands. I am by no means a saint, but I love the pure nature of design which lends itself to inspiration. A high price tag provides nothing but increased debt which everyone likes to pretend they don't have. I love to look at design blogs and view them as a source for inspiration, not a where to shop guide. Design can evoke emotion and move one to live and create an environment/lifestyle that lends itself to creativity. Enough said, you get my point ;) Thanks for providing this inspiration, keep doing what you're doing!

jess gonacha said...

oh, i couldn't agree with everyone more! the feeling i get a lot of the time from design blogs full of price tags and the "you have to buy this" mentality is that i'm just not good enough. like, i can't afford that but i SHOULD be able to afford it, so what's wrong with me? i want to be inspired by what other people are out there doing and making, and i love that your blog is such a great mix of it all. and i am SO INSPIRED by your blog (and by YOU for that matter), and after all, your blog needs to make you happy first and foremost.

Thank you for everything you do for us all!! You rock, my dear. :)

Diana said...

sorry my comment went on there twice...got a little button happy. Erin - you are doing the right thing especially with so much support. I truly enjoy your blog - you are GREAT! everyone is right...post what you love. what if you love some commercialized items? does it make it wrong to post them too?

Krissy said...

Your blog is one of the first blogs I ever started reading - and for good reason! I love the way it's grown and evolved into more than just a design blog (not that it ever WAS JUST a design blog) but it's a community of people who are passionate about what they want and do in life. It's one of the few that I will come back to about 5 times a day, just to check what everyone is talking about! I'm inspired multiple times a day from you and the readers.

In short, you are awesome and keep it up!

Kibbe said...

Ah Erin! That's what makes your blog so different. I read alot of design blogs and after a while it seems they're all posting the same lamp, or trend, or designer. I know I will always find something fresh here, and perhaps a bit off-beat, which I like!

Decor Fellow said...

First, let me compliment you on your blog... not only for its aesthetic appeal but for its content and for broaching a subject such as this. Technically, a "blog" is an abridgement of the term web log-- that consists of regular entries of commentaries on events, places, people, and yes, things. A personal blog is like an on-going diary. Its filled with items that intrigue or inspire the author enough to warrant filing it away in their personal archives that coincidentally everyone can see. A blog is a way to reflect upon life--on your terms--through your eyes. Inevitably your point of view will resonate with some and be missed by others. Those of us who blog are not selling subscriptions to a compilation of information we amass or peddling the latest trends... we have magazines and catalogues a plenty for this. Will we, sometimes, highlight the latest color or a fantastic find from that fabulous boutique down the road? Absolutely! It is our point of view that finds it interesting. In my, humble, opinion we who blog are extending a piece of ourselves in hopes that a fellow few might catch on to the other side of that imaginary rope and give a little tug back. There was a fantastic post on Decor8 regarding inspiration and posing the question if it was ever too much? What I feel about inspiration is the same that I feel about this subject--the magic exists in the act of being inspired--and that is enough in and of itself. Be aware enough to enjoy the moment when inspiration hits you because that ping, while momentary, is extraordinary. And in the end, while you may be able to buy pleasure -- things that are tangible-- you can not purchase inspiration. Mind not the nay sayers and carry on as you will for what they think the are missing here they will be sure to find somewhere else.

Barbara said...

Many of the design blogs feature photos out of magazines and such. I'd say probably 50% or more of the items belong to the owner and aren't available for immediate purchase. In a world of instant gratification and consumerism, I love things that inspire and invoke imagination. I'm not going to go out and buy a $3000 chair, but if I love the lines, the color, or the detail I copy a photo for my inspiration files and keep it in mind for something in my price range in the future.

I think inspiration can be found anywhere, doesn't even have to be a tangible item... music, color, smells, it doesn't have to be an item available for immediate purchase.

I can understand the frustration of seeing the exact thing that you want, and not being able to purchase it or find it. I've been looking for the perfect lamps for years, I have something very specific in mind and when I see them and can't buy them it's frustrating. However, I see it as a sign that the person whose lamps are featured has great taste!

I love your blog, exactly the way it is. You shouldn't change a thing unless you want to. Sorry this got a bit rambling...

Janelle said...

I'm so glad you raised this topic! I enjoy this blog's mix of so many of the inspiring things that I love. I appreciate that you broaden the scope of what a design blog can cover. Design isn't one sided and restrictive, it's supposed to be nothing but creativity and exploring new things! What better way to do that than to explore different facets of design?

When all I want is to get prices and links to the latest Eames knockoffs, I know where to go ... but I really don't feel the need to own every last thing I see. My favorite way to use the information I find on design blogs is to think of new ways to use what I already have. That might mean rearranging furniture or trying out a new photography technique or painting style. None of those things need sources or price tags, and all can be inspired by any one of the posts I've seen on this blog. Consumerism can be fun and indulgent and has it's time and place ... but it's not every time and place.

When I come here, I know that no matter what has been posted, it will be beautiful and interesting and will set my mind working in a new direction, and that's what I keep coming back.

dailydesignspot said...

ok.. to start.. i am being rude and i am sorry.. i have not read th above and feel bad if i repeat what i am sure your wonderful and beautiful readers have already said (i complimented.. so know they cant be too mad can they be?)
lets start by saying.. erin.. you have it! what is it? it = you! simple right? your dailies are my favorite.. love the insight into people world and day.. so fun! i am a total on the spot inspiration lover (and i think that is why you get a little kick out of my 'blog').. i think it is funny you have been recieving flack for what you are doing.. funny really..
i do not blog to make money.. or make myself money.... its just for fun.. to be involved in this amazing design world.. to educate myself and maybe even make it easier for people to find interesting things.. i just love when i find a blog of someone who has a similar interest and aestthstic as mine.. haha.. i am so bad at spelling.. longest response? please keep doing what you are doing.. i love it! i just started a new job as a therapist at the hospital.. and i am going to need my daily dose of you!.. that sounds weird .. sorry.. your blog.. haha

suzanne said...

All I can say is "thank you for this post"...your words, along with the comments from all your readers, offer so much.

Stephanie Ryan said...

I love your content! I am very frustrated with the content of my blog. I love posting about mainstream design but feel that it is not meaningful enough. I so desperately want to find meaning and inspiration in the everyday things.But can't seem to find the resources. You inspire me to keep searching for the right material to best describe how I feel about design and life. My blog thanks you. www.DesignHealing.com

Meg said...

Whoever is giving you flack, just send them over to me! Blogs should be sources of inspiration and resources. Concepts, images, artists - are what is so amazing about the blogging community. I love seeing artists who have etsy shops, where I can get a piece of their creativity as well as seeing a stunning image posted that makes me think.

island girl said...

I just like/want to be inspired...i don't worry so much about wether there is a price tag or not...i'm not shopping....i'm looking for inspiration....

and you definitely deliver on the inspo.....

Justine said...

I completely agree with you! I look at design blogs for the eye candy and the inspiration -- and sometimes I feel guilty that I have no intention of purchasing anything shown, or sad that I would be unable to purchase it. Yes there have been a few times when what I've viewed on a blog has led me to buy from an online shop or purchase an item -- but for the most part that is not my goal or intention.
Not everything that is beautiful needs to be owned, and I appreciate just viewing beautiful things for beauty's sake.

seven said...

I like the way you do it... I feel like you're not just trying to hock something for someone else, you're just sharing your inspiration. It's nice to just look at something and think, "Wow, that's pretty," without feeling like I need to go see how much it is or if I can order it. I can't afford to buy anything anyway, so it's cool to just look and then close up the window. Now Etsy shops... I'm addicted to favoriting them.

design for mankind. said...

Holy crap, you guys. You are:
(a). TOTALLY encouraging,
(b). TOTALLY eloquent, and
(c). MY LOVES.

I'm so glad this sparked something in each of you re: inspiration in the details, b/c I truly think that's what it's all about. And as for your encouraging comments, THANK YOU. I'll keep doing what I'm doing as long as you keep inspiring me... :)

Esti said...

Enough's been said here above. I totally agree with you guys, and I couldn't have found better words than you. Just wanted to let you know that I personally enjoy and will keep coming to your non-pricetag aimed blog. You give me enough inspiration as it is. Thanks.

cindy k said...

your blog is such a breath of fresh air and one of my must reads each day! it brings a completely new design approach to me that i wasn't exposed to anywhere else. the dailies and ezines are so fantastic and they have nothing to do with pushing product. it’s hard to believe, in this day and age of mass marketing, that there are people want more of it.

i think inspiration can be found everywhere and anywhere if you’re alert. if you compare it to how we interact with people: there are those people with whom we have close relationships (the paintings on the wall) and those who we meet in passing (a trip to a museum). if i physically took possession of everything that strikes a chord with me, it would be chaos.

as far as being inspired by words: the declaration of independence will do. actions: a great leader like martin luther king. photos: the war photographer james nachtwey. inspiration isn’t always about pretty pictures and ideas about what you can do. how about what not to do?

erin, keep doing what you’re doing as long as it makes sense to you as you are authentic and that’s refreshing now a days. there is so much love coming from you whether it’s finding an artist that’s slipped below the radar, or the way you consistently interact with your readers.

Jude said...

Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. Wow! All these comments can only reinforce you are on the right track with all that you do here. "... Simply be inspired in the moment that it's found ..." Isn't that a big part of what life is all about, being inspired by the moments that make up our lives?

You know you could feature nothing but rolls of toilet paper here and I would love you regardless, because they way in which you present things, with your clever editorial and fresh perspective, always brings a smile and allows me to look at things from a different point of view. Gifts money just can't buy!

jennifer said...

inspiration has little to do with commerce. actually nothing, thankfully.
i enjoy your dailies very much.

Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly. I so look forward to receiving my daily dose of DFM via e-mail because of my busy schedule. Too much emphasis is put on consumerism and "upgrades". It is nice to look at and be aware of the latest design trends. But if it "ain't broke" and is reasonably useful, keep it. I enjoy our "vintage" look. Still looking for my sky blue Inspiration poster. That will be worth another hole in the wall.

"Back home in Indiana"

Jessie Cacciola said...

It's the same reason we go to an art gallery -- I don't expect to go in there and buy something; it's for the pure inspiration of the moment. And you've created a place for us all to talk about it. I think this blog, and many other blogs, are proof that people don't need to have something tangible in order to be inspired with a comment. Our thoughts are real. Our emotions are real. And this free space allows everything to flow smoothly, without the question of 'marketability.'
- Jessie -

Jo said...

i prefer the non buying slant of your blog. i read blogs to connect to people and what they are paying attention to and being inspired by. i find it less interesting when it is all about what we would/should buy if we could. I can't and do not want to purchase objects all day. So I say inspiration comes from the human connection not the objects...

becca said...

the photo from "the ones we love"! one of my favorite sites.

design for mankind. said...

Just so you guys know--- "Back Home in Indiana" was totally my Dad. Isn't he cute??? :)

And Jo--- you bring up an incredible point here... inspiration is about the human connectivity for some. Ok, is connectivity a word??

Anyway, I couldn't agree more. Why not celebrate the diversity behind our tastes and preferences that reveal the person behind??

Another Readers Speak, eh? :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog because of the variety and the lack of pushing of products. I love looking at all the inspiring photos. I don't enjoy reading blogs that seem to be just about advertising. You have a great blog and it's one that I read every day. I hope it stays the way it is.

-KellyA

design for mankind. said...

I'll do my best, KellyA! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo over stuff for the sake of stuff. Sometimes it's *less* of an inspiration to find something cool that's totally out of your price range. Not linking item to purchase makes you(the viewer) bring more to it so you have to find your own inspiration in it.


Net NET:It's your blog -- do what you want -- isn't that the beauty of a blog???

Amy said...

Erin, although there are products you picked for the blog, I never did notice a consumer-based slant to them. I know that most of them serve to inspire, or that you find them quirky and fun. And beautiful enough to share.

Inspirations comes from what we see and feel -- not a price tag. So, I see beautiful things from you and I wondered why I never discovered you before.

And while I'm at it, how do you manage to check all these comments while you're stuck in traffic?

design for mankind. said...

Amy-- thanks for your sweet words! You are a doll, and I get mini-goosebumps when I visit Pikaland, but that's a WHOLE different post! :)

As for comment-checking, it's a compulsion. I'm obsessed. And I get emails on my phone, which makes the obsession TEN times worse.

Although, I must say that I'm banning emails from my phone and am going cell-phone-less for 30 days to see if I can do it! I'll keep you posted... ;)

alice said...

Oh goodness I can believe you get flack?! I was so surprised! Wah! I love your blog! So much inspiration :D Also I love your comments that go with the pictures and things, you are funny ;) Always makes me chuckle.

tara said...

I'm not, in any way, a designer; so I never approach design blogs with the intention of owning what they show, I simply don't need it! As inspired as I am by furniture and artwork, I shop at Goodwill and my Hub and I created all of our artwork for our house.
I think this subject speaks to rampant consumerism in society (as other commenters have mentioned) and also the idea of "an ownership society", in which to have something, we must own it.

And it addresses the subject of HOW we think of our personal worlds: are we trying to fill it with things? Or with intangible ideas and inspirations? For me, filling myself with inspiration prepares me to create the things I want to be surrounded with. And what I want to be surrounded with is things of beauty AND meaning. My home is my little refuge and I don't want to fill it up; I want to treasure each piece!

reclaimingmisshavisham said...

I just want to drop a line to say that Lefora is an amazing way to organize your readers into discussion forums. You can easily post pictures and have infinite topics of conversation at once. They make great companion forums for blogs and host for free. Just an idea!
www.lefora.com

-Leslie/Miss Havisham

Karline said...

Wow this was a great discussion! My thinking is that one of the things that make this whole blogging world special and amazing is the idea of sharing inspiration, admiring good ideas, craftsmanship, and finding inspiration in unusual places, sharing experiments and giving/getting feedback. The fact that it isn´t so mainstream and
commercial gives it its immaterial value. Inspiration and imagination
are an essential part of being human and give us creative flow. Supporting and encouraging that is part of why you have so many comments on this blog/thus readers. Keep doing what you do. You do it well! Cheers!

elizabeyta said...

I just recently found your blog and the unusual items for a design blog is part of what appeals to me.
I say keep it the way it is and see how it develops!

Liz said...

I (like many, it seems) love that your blog is more about art/design than about buying stuff. I am tired of feeling like I need to buy stuff, that I might miss the next cool thing, ya know? I want inspiration and ideas, and discussion (no bashing, I believe there can be discussion and room for my opinion and your opinion with no bashing) and delicious, thoughtful conversations.

Love that you are tackling this topic so head on....

Shiny Black Shoes said...

I like pretty things, you post pretty things....enough said :)

design for mankind. said...

Amen, sistah! :)

when skies are grey said...

wow, i need to come back here when I have more time to read these comments...what a great subject. I couldn't agree more and when I first read the post I came here to say, please keep doing what you're doing. The things that most provide inspiration in my life don't usually carry a price tag. But it looks like everyone has said it in better ways. Great blog lady! Keep showin the cool stuff.

vic said...

I am too lazy to read through what everyone else said so will just throw my two cents into the mix.

Firstly, I cannot fathom how anyone can give you flack for what you post on your blog. You set the agenda here, you decide what you post and what you don't. Whether it's a photo of your aunt catherine's dog dressed up as a clown, a beautiful dress you can buy or a photo that inspires you, the very value in and reason for having a blog is that it allows you to post without constraint. It's your blog for goodness sake.

There are so, so many blogs out there. I feel as though yours is truly one of the originals. Your interest in the essence of what makes us creative and inspires us is a breath of fresh air.

Working in a creative field means that I have to find inspiration everywhere. Some of the best work I've done has been inspired by things that have happened to me and things I've seen, whether they be a photo on flickr or a man riding his bike along my street. Despite the fact that I work for a big, nasty advertising agency, I believe that creativity and inspiration can and should never have a price tag.

Finally, keep doing exactly what you're doing. Your e-zines and dailies are great, your posts are inspiring. I'll keep coming back every day, even if you post a photo of your aunt catherine's dog dressed up as a clown...

Anonymous said...

Of course you can inspire by words, deeds and actions. It just takes a little more thinking for the observer to get it.

design for mankind. said...

Wowza-- I'm loving these comments! It's so great to know that it IS possible (in today's age) to break out of the consumerist box [or bag: paper or plastic?] and really find your true passions and inspirations.

Kudos to you guys. You are wise beyond the ages.

my love for you. said...

really excited to see where you take the blog...once again, you are so inspiring. love that you are tweaking it. way to go. high five!

lisa s said...

well i'm late to this party, but i still want to chime in.

i think it's FANTASTIC that you are not always about the shopping - i think what inspires you is engaging and important to put out there.

keep on keepin on!!

Fledgling said...

Hello DFM!

I guess I didn't recognize this blog as an interior design blog. I mean, I suppose it wasn't a secret, but that blurb at the top, "because beauty lies ..." hooked me and kept me scrolling. Mea culpa.

I'm looking for beauty. Wherever I can get it.

The manufactured item--handwoven or injection molded--is, in a sense, the end of the line. That's the culmination of the inspiration, the end. But what was that thing that made the person jump out of the shower with shampoo still in his hair to sketch it out? I, personally, like to see enough stuff that will bring me to the shampoo-still-in-the-hair moment.

I see a bit too much regurgitation in design. Regurgitation makes things easier to swallow, but it's not fresh. So I like seeing the raw, yet unappreciated, immature, unwashed thing still growing.

I like what you do. I'm inspired. But I'm not an interior designer. Is that okay with you?

All the best, -N.

design for mankind. said...

N--- wow. I am totally blown away. What a beautiful and well-thought comment. I'm floored.

I love your writing and I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts.

Do come back--- of course it's ok with me. :)

pve design said...

A price tag cannot be put on inspiration. One of my favorite parts of being a designer/ artist is that of inspiring others. The collaboration is key.
I love your point of view and that you keep is real!

frida said...

I just found your site and I'm in love. Don't go changin'!

welcome.

because beauty lies in the details of design. in the pencil shavings, in the blueberry waffles. the vintage dress, framed portrait, old postcard.

design is inevitable. celebrated. design for mankind.

4.15.2008

readers speak: price tag for inspiration?



The great thing about a blog rather than a website is the collaborative nature of the former. I so love reading comments and seeing readers connect with each other to form relationships that can be vital in the future. So, naturally, I'd like to open a 'reader's speak' forum, where any and ALL are welcome to comment about the subject at hand. I'll probably do this weekly, save that it doesn't get totally out of control and it becomes the land of design bashing. Because that? That is NOT ok with me.

Anyway, I've received a bit of flack lately for the content of Design for Mankind. I've added some features that I rather enjoy (i.e. 'photo of the day'), but that aren't typical of "design blogs." In other words, I'm not paying homage to the type of design that can be purchased, and I'm not listing a ton of stores/shops/online merchandise.

So my question for you is: does it matter? If you love a print, does it have to be hanging in your office to provide inspiration, or can you simply be inspired in the moment that it's found?

May's eZine (to be released the last week of April) stems from this topic, where I've contacted dozens of artists/photographers/etc to reveal inspiration in the unexpected. I'm so excited to share some of these, b/c they're very close to my heart. I'm a firm believer that Americans have a BIG problem with consumerism, so sometimes it pains me to hear that we can't be inspired without a pricetag.

Your thoughts? Can it be done? Can we teach ourselves to inspire others with our words, our actions, our photos? Our must we seek inspiration in the tangible?

[Leaving to hang out with a few lovely LA ladies, but am looking forward to hearing your thoughts when I return!]

80 comments:

poetic home said...

The main reason I love your blog is because of its non-consumer slant!! I think all of our homes should reflect what inspires us - and that is not necesarily found through purchasing items. A beautiful photo may prompt us to think of a memory of the past - and then creating a vignette capturing those emotions....none of that can be bought, boxed, shipped, or replicated. As a stylist, I've found that the most beautiful images come from non-commercial shoots, with moments and treasures that cannot be ever bought. Major kudos to you for writing outside of the box and inspiring us all with the wonders of life that are priceless!

mandco said...

This certainly is interesting! :-) I love good design, I really appriciate art and I love those moment of pure inspiration when seeing something interesting. For me its nothing about the price tag, its the appriciation of the work, and inspiration that it provides me, that gets to me. I really hope you'll keep your e-zine like that; inspirational, and not simply a product showcase. After all, you certainly do not go to the Louvre to look at products to buy do you ;-)

Diana said...

THANK YOU for bringing this topic up. I have been feeling the same way because I post inspirational furniture and design that:

1. I can't afford
2. Can't always be bought online
3. and isn't always tangible.

I'm inspired in the moment, and I can see something, love it, and not have an immense desire to purchase it...just appreciate the design aesthetic and care that went into that object. Down the road I may remember that piece or those words and be re-inspired all over again.

I have also been feeling down about posting things that aren’t handmade, but manufactured pieces. Again, I DON’T want to buy all this stuff (even if I had the money) I want to share and admire it. Is this wrong design blog thinking? Sometimes I'm even afraid to classify myself as a design blog - it's just a me and you blog for everyone and everything. I'm rambling..thanks for bringing this up!

S.HOPtalk said...

Erin:

I am and continue to be inspired by so many things which I have no intention of ever actually purchasing (either due to budgetary reasons or impracticality). I love to see what others do with their creativity and the ideas they put into action.

I also hang on to magazines for years and continually refer back to pictures and articles for inspiration, rarely flipping to the "resources" page for purchasing info. Am I crazy? ;)

I LOVE what you share with us, price tag or not...keep it coming!

Diana said...

THANK YOU for bringing this topic up. I have been feeling the same way because I post inspirational furniture and design that:

1. I can't afford
2. Can't always be bought online
3. and isn't always tangible.

I'm inspired in the moment, and I can see something, love it, and not have an immense desire to purchase it...just appreciate the design aesthetic and care that went into that object. Down the road I may remember that piece or those words and be re-inspired all over again.

I have also been feeling down about posting things that aren’t handmade, but manufactured pieces. Again, I DON’T want to buy all this stuff (even if I had the money) I want to share and admire it. Is this wrong design blog thinking? Sometimes I'm even afraid to classify myself as a design blog - it's just a me and you blog for everyone and everything. I'm rambling..thanks for bringing this up!

troll formerly known as yooper said...

The reason I subscribe to your blog is because it is eclectic and interesting. I appreciate that you are not pushing conserism - I can get a great deal of inspiration from items/pictures without actually purchasing them. I have an inspiration board in my workroom that is quickly becoming filled with a variety of items, many of which seem to have no common thread.

Please keep doing what you are doing.

troll formerly known as yooper said...

Sorry, I should have hit the review button first. conserism should be consumerism.

Kati said...

I am totally in the same boat. As someone who has a strong diy ethic (and who spent over a year not buying new clothing and re-fashioning or sewing my own) its weird having a consumer-centric blog. At the same time, when you neglect to include a shopping link (or if something is unavailable) people get upset. It's as if I'm hearing that something holds less inspirational value when it doesn't have a physical value. Does that make sense?

I love to just look at things - especially as there is no way my wallet will ever come close to supporting my passion for design.

I know it can be hard to ignore the negative feedback but your mix of inspiring offerings is what makes this blog so fab. You can't put a price on that. ;)

design for mankind. said...

Oh my--- that was fast, you guys. I totally appreciate what you are saying, and I have to admit... it's an ABSOLUTE breath of fresh air. I'd hate to feel like Design for Mankind is "adding to the noise" in a sense--- it's hard enough for us to resist purchasing new items to achieve a certain status or internal belief, and I'd hate to fuel that human nature. Thank you for seeing this blog as nothing more than an avenue toward inspiration--- both tangible and not.

THANK YOU.

littlemithi said...

I have wondered quite a lot about this ... the great thing about the blogging world is that you can surf to your hearts content and be inspired by the beauty in art and design out there.

But then do you REALLY need to have that fabulous piece of art on your walls too? Sometimes I just don't have the money, sometimes the beautiful red flower vase just won't go in predominantly blue living room (no MATTER how beautiful!).

I've had my blog for a while and people keep telling me that "you should sell you stuff". Why? I might want to become a freelance editorial illustrator, working to client briefs .. do I really NEED to have the etsy shop (unless I feel I have something to offer that way too of course!)?

Good design is not always about consumable products (says the girl who is engaged to a design engineer who teaches sustainable design).

design for mankind. said...

OK confession time, Mithi. I'm totally one of those people that think you NEED to have a shop, but that's totally for selfish reasons.

Forgive me? :)

a cat of impossible colour said...

Like the other commenters, I enjoy the fact that your blog posts are eclectic and that you don't just list prices and shops! Your blog name, 'Design for Mankind', should give people a heads-up that it is about inspiration and not just about consuming. :)

jen said...

it can't always be about a product. good design is inspirational not because you can go get it and put it out, but because it gets you thinking about what is possible. how you might do something- or makes you look at something in an entirely different way.
good design is sometimes about a product for me- but most of the time it is simply about keeping my eyes open- especially when I am reading a blog like yours that lets me see so many new to me things and keeps me thinking all the time.
if it is only about a product i think we loose so much of the beauty- you don't have to possess everything that you think is lovely. in fact many of those things one can never really possess in the first place.
thank you for bringing up this very interesting topic.

design for mankind. said...

VERY well said, Jen. I absolutely agree and think this is such a unique perspective!!! :)

design for mankind. said...

MandCo: "After all, you certainly do not go to the Louvre to look at products to buy do you ;-)"

LOVE THAT! :)

littlemithi said...

You're forgiven Erin ;) Infact I don't want to be an editorial illustrator - I want to design my own stationary and surface pattern to sell ... But at the moment, going through the education is more important...

Back on topic, what we love about your blog is the inspiration ... not so much the shopping catalog (its nice too - but not always necessary)

rachael said...

i think it's refreshing for some things to just be appreciated for what they are...with so many design blogs out there, it's also nice that you set yourself apart this way.
it's one of the reasons why i like your blog :)

design for mankind. said...

HA, thank you, Mithi. And Rachael--- I totally spelled your name wrong on your blog. Totally sorry. Wow. :)

Thanks for your words of affirmation; I learn so much from so many of you... indeed, inspiration comes from everywhere [and everyone!!!].

Kelly Lynn Jones said...

cant wait to meet you tonight!! xo

heidi said...

Erin: as artists, we know that inspiration comes from everywhere... we just need to be open to it. Then there are times when you need to seek it out... your blog is like hitting the motherload. For me, it's not about shopping at all. It's about seeing.

Kelly Lynn Jones said...

i am inspired by so much in which has nothing to do with money especially all kinds of art. i paint and draw not because i think i could make some print, or it be profitable, or even like-able. i make art because it is something i have to do..the moment i could hold a pencil i was drawing..it is what gets me up in the morning, its my everything.....of course with that said, i run a store where i sell art prints...i also need to pay rent and the bills etc...and what best way to do that, but by having my own job where i get to help out other artists is amazing to me.
anyhow i just rambled on...i love your blog erin...its one of my favs. xo

amy said...

funny - just this morning I was considering stealing into Anthropologie to try on everything I loved, photograph it, and just keep the memory of why i loved the dress or whatever. I guess my idea there was that even though I can't buy everything I love - and there are a lot of things - I can still hold on to the feeling. Really, when we appreciate art and design it's because of how it makes us feel more than anything else. but, i mean, you should still buy pillows. haha

Julia said...

Okay, so this might be "revealing" a funky part of me, but there's a part in the classic Anne of Green Gables book that has Anne and Diana wandering up Diana's great Aunt's grand staircase. Anne mentions that she feels sorry for this great Aunt. Why? Because there's no room for imagination!

I love the fact that there are blogs out there giving shout-outs to all different sorts of things. I have to admit that I personally enjoy blogs that have plenty of "scope for the imagination!" However you desire to interpret that!

How you had a lovely time hanging out with your friends :)

Julia said...

By the way, I think you hit on something HUGELY important with your comment about Americans and their consumerism! I would love to discuss this :) It pains me too to realize that there is appreciation when there's a price tag attached!

the butterfly collector said...

hi Erin , just wanted to add my two cents! I love that your blog truly features what inspires you in the moment! I will only put things on mine that inspire me immediately too!
I get more enjoyment from window shopping as an experience and bringing home a head full of ideas than brining home stuff! I love to go for walks and get inspired by nature, architecture, the sea, a garden! I am a magazine addict and get a serious buzz from flipping pages rather than
flashing my credit card! I love to rummage through second hand stores and thrift shops to find an object I can make into something new! And what greater inspiration than the net when you can visit flickr and etsy , Design for Mankind and the WORLD and be inspired constantly! Thanks for producing such a great blog, keep doing what you are doing!

mizu designs said...

Gosh no I certainly don't have to purchase a print (or anything else for that matter) to enjoy looking at it on a blog or magazine. Just seeing the beauty briefly is enough for me. I agree that people from wealthy, western countries generally have a big problem with consumerism and we have to really look hard at this. There is so much stuff purchased and then thrown away every day. The best lesson I had in keeping myself in check is living in a 3 metre x 2 metre apartment in Japan for 7 years and not being able to buy anything because there was simply nowhere to put it. It was a great experience in understanding what I really needed to live.

Claire said...

I have really been enjoying the photo of the day content! I think if you can't find inspiration in images and the intangible, then maybe you should stick to flipping through catalogs. Art should be an important inspiration - it's how you hone your eye and build your own style. Keep it up! :)

design for mankind. said...

I'm reading all of these while I'm stuck in traffic and am just so inspired by what you all are saying. Gracious, I couldn't have said it better than you all do, collectively!!!

Next week's topic sounds like it should be consumerism... and oh gracious, do I have a bone to pick on THAT subject!!!!!!!

Thank you, sweet dearies. You are fabulous--- each and every one of you.

theartcloud said...

the main reason i visit blogs like design for mankind, is for a daily hit of free inspiration. what i love about your blog is its personal touch, it's obvious that you use it as an outlet to expose and share what comes to you. which i think is awesome.

this is a great topic to bring up. i've been thinking a lot about the function of things that can't be sold lately... i think in some ways their function is much more important than might seem obvious.

keep it up, please :)

erinn said...

Erin, you rock. nuff said.

But seriously, I do struggle with the whole consumerism thing as a blogger. When I began to think of what 'happy living' is the first thing that came to mind is what it was not about and that is buying lots of stuff to fill our homes. I really try to keep that in mind with each and every one of my posts. Just because one is a so-called 'design blogger' doesn't mean one has to become a shopping guide.

The comments here are amazing and it makes me even more proud to be a part of this community.

Did I say that you rock? Oh yea. I did.

design for mankind. said...

GOOSEBUMPS. I have them. :)

Megan said...

I enjoy your blog BECAUSE of it's non-consumer slant. I am tired of the BAZILLION blogs (and magazines for that matter!) That simply show a photo of a product and the price and where to get it. It's like a daily catalog. UGH! Enough! I like to peruse lots of blogs for inspiration and eye candy and I find that the things that touch me most AREN'T the consumer blogs, but the ones that are rich in imagery and aren't the same content all the time. Designers have to be aware and discover trends BEFORE they happen...they have to CREATE trends. How can you do that while always looking at objects/products currently out there?

Amy said...

Wow! I think I could write a thesis on this topic, however, I will refrain. I personally pride myself in the shunning of price tags and name brands. I am by no means a saint, but I love the pure nature of design which lends itself to inspiration. A high price tag provides nothing but increased debt which everyone likes to pretend they don't have. I love to look at design blogs and view them as a source for inspiration, not a where to shop guide. Design can evoke emotion and move one to live and create an environment/lifestyle that lends itself to creativity. Enough said, you get my point ;) Thanks for providing this inspiration, keep doing what you're doing!

jess gonacha said...

oh, i couldn't agree with everyone more! the feeling i get a lot of the time from design blogs full of price tags and the "you have to buy this" mentality is that i'm just not good enough. like, i can't afford that but i SHOULD be able to afford it, so what's wrong with me? i want to be inspired by what other people are out there doing and making, and i love that your blog is such a great mix of it all. and i am SO INSPIRED by your blog (and by YOU for that matter), and after all, your blog needs to make you happy first and foremost.

Thank you for everything you do for us all!! You rock, my dear. :)

Diana said...

sorry my comment went on there twice...got a little button happy. Erin - you are doing the right thing especially with so much support. I truly enjoy your blog - you are GREAT! everyone is right...post what you love. what if you love some commercialized items? does it make it wrong to post them too?

Krissy said...

Your blog is one of the first blogs I ever started reading - and for good reason! I love the way it's grown and evolved into more than just a design blog (not that it ever WAS JUST a design blog) but it's a community of people who are passionate about what they want and do in life. It's one of the few that I will come back to about 5 times a day, just to check what everyone is talking about! I'm inspired multiple times a day from you and the readers.

In short, you are awesome and keep it up!

Kibbe said...

Ah Erin! That's what makes your blog so different. I read alot of design blogs and after a while it seems they're all posting the same lamp, or trend, or designer. I know I will always find something fresh here, and perhaps a bit off-beat, which I like!

Decor Fellow said...

First, let me compliment you on your blog... not only for its aesthetic appeal but for its content and for broaching a subject such as this. Technically, a "blog" is an abridgement of the term web log-- that consists of regular entries of commentaries on events, places, people, and yes, things. A personal blog is like an on-going diary. Its filled with items that intrigue or inspire the author enough to warrant filing it away in their personal archives that coincidentally everyone can see. A blog is a way to reflect upon life--on your terms--through your eyes. Inevitably your point of view will resonate with some and be missed by others. Those of us who blog are not selling subscriptions to a compilation of information we amass or peddling the latest trends... we have magazines and catalogues a plenty for this. Will we, sometimes, highlight the latest color or a fantastic find from that fabulous boutique down the road? Absolutely! It is our point of view that finds it interesting. In my, humble, opinion we who blog are extending a piece of ourselves in hopes that a fellow few might catch on to the other side of that imaginary rope and give a little tug back. There was a fantastic post on Decor8 regarding inspiration and posing the question if it was ever too much? What I feel about inspiration is the same that I feel about this subject--the magic exists in the act of being inspired--and that is enough in and of itself. Be aware enough to enjoy the moment when inspiration hits you because that ping, while momentary, is extraordinary. And in the end, while you may be able to buy pleasure -- things that are tangible-- you can not purchase inspiration. Mind not the nay sayers and carry on as you will for what they think the are missing here they will be sure to find somewhere else.

Barbara said...

Many of the design blogs feature photos out of magazines and such. I'd say probably 50% or more of the items belong to the owner and aren't available for immediate purchase. In a world of instant gratification and consumerism, I love things that inspire and invoke imagination. I'm not going to go out and buy a $3000 chair, but if I love the lines, the color, or the detail I copy a photo for my inspiration files and keep it in mind for something in my price range in the future.

I think inspiration can be found anywhere, doesn't even have to be a tangible item... music, color, smells, it doesn't have to be an item available for immediate purchase.

I can understand the frustration of seeing the exact thing that you want, and not being able to purchase it or find it. I've been looking for the perfect lamps for years, I have something very specific in mind and when I see them and can't buy them it's frustrating. However, I see it as a sign that the person whose lamps are featured has great taste!

I love your blog, exactly the way it is. You shouldn't change a thing unless you want to. Sorry this got a bit rambling...

Janelle said...

I'm so glad you raised this topic! I enjoy this blog's mix of so many of the inspiring things that I love. I appreciate that you broaden the scope of what a design blog can cover. Design isn't one sided and restrictive, it's supposed to be nothing but creativity and exploring new things! What better way to do that than to explore different facets of design?

When all I want is to get prices and links to the latest Eames knockoffs, I know where to go ... but I really don't feel the need to own every last thing I see. My favorite way to use the information I find on design blogs is to think of new ways to use what I already have. That might mean rearranging furniture or trying out a new photography technique or painting style. None of those things need sources or price tags, and all can be inspired by any one of the posts I've seen on this blog. Consumerism can be fun and indulgent and has it's time and place ... but it's not every time and place.

When I come here, I know that no matter what has been posted, it will be beautiful and interesting and will set my mind working in a new direction, and that's what I keep coming back.

dailydesignspot said...

ok.. to start.. i am being rude and i am sorry.. i have not read th above and feel bad if i repeat what i am sure your wonderful and beautiful readers have already said (i complimented.. so know they cant be too mad can they be?)
lets start by saying.. erin.. you have it! what is it? it = you! simple right? your dailies are my favorite.. love the insight into people world and day.. so fun! i am a total on the spot inspiration lover (and i think that is why you get a little kick out of my 'blog').. i think it is funny you have been recieving flack for what you are doing.. funny really..
i do not blog to make money.. or make myself money.... its just for fun.. to be involved in this amazing design world.. to educate myself and maybe even make it easier for people to find interesting things.. i just love when i find a blog of someone who has a similar interest and aestthstic as mine.. haha.. i am so bad at spelling.. longest response? please keep doing what you are doing.. i love it! i just started a new job as a therapist at the hospital.. and i am going to need my daily dose of you!.. that sounds weird .. sorry.. your blog.. haha

suzanne said...

All I can say is "thank you for this post"...your words, along with the comments from all your readers, offer so much.

Stephanie Ryan said...

I love your content! I am very frustrated with the content of my blog. I love posting about mainstream design but feel that it is not meaningful enough. I so desperately want to find meaning and inspiration in the everyday things.But can't seem to find the resources. You inspire me to keep searching for the right material to best describe how I feel about design and life. My blog thanks you. www.DesignHealing.com

Meg said...

Whoever is giving you flack, just send them over to me! Blogs should be sources of inspiration and resources. Concepts, images, artists - are what is so amazing about the blogging community. I love seeing artists who have etsy shops, where I can get a piece of their creativity as well as seeing a stunning image posted that makes me think.

island girl said...

I just like/want to be inspired...i don't worry so much about wether there is a price tag or not...i'm not shopping....i'm looking for inspiration....

and you definitely deliver on the inspo.....

Justine said...

I completely agree with you! I look at design blogs for the eye candy and the inspiration -- and sometimes I feel guilty that I have no intention of purchasing anything shown, or sad that I would be unable to purchase it. Yes there have been a few times when what I've viewed on a blog has led me to buy from an online shop or purchase an item -- but for the most part that is not my goal or intention.
Not everything that is beautiful needs to be owned, and I appreciate just viewing beautiful things for beauty's sake.

seven said...

I like the way you do it... I feel like you're not just trying to hock something for someone else, you're just sharing your inspiration. It's nice to just look at something and think, "Wow, that's pretty," without feeling like I need to go see how much it is or if I can order it. I can't afford to buy anything anyway, so it's cool to just look and then close up the window. Now Etsy shops... I'm addicted to favoriting them.

design for mankind. said...

Holy crap, you guys. You are:
(a). TOTALLY encouraging,
(b). TOTALLY eloquent, and
(c). MY LOVES.

I'm so glad this sparked something in each of you re: inspiration in the details, b/c I truly think that's what it's all about. And as for your encouraging comments, THANK YOU. I'll keep doing what I'm doing as long as you keep inspiring me... :)

Esti said...

Enough's been said here above. I totally agree with you guys, and I couldn't have found better words than you. Just wanted to let you know that I personally enjoy and will keep coming to your non-pricetag aimed blog. You give me enough inspiration as it is. Thanks.

cindy k said...

your blog is such a breath of fresh air and one of my must reads each day! it brings a completely new design approach to me that i wasn't exposed to anywhere else. the dailies and ezines are so fantastic and they have nothing to do with pushing product. it’s hard to believe, in this day and age of mass marketing, that there are people want more of it.

i think inspiration can be found everywhere and anywhere if you’re alert. if you compare it to how we interact with people: there are those people with whom we have close relationships (the paintings on the wall) and those who we meet in passing (a trip to a museum). if i physically took possession of everything that strikes a chord with me, it would be chaos.

as far as being inspired by words: the declaration of independence will do. actions: a great leader like martin luther king. photos: the war photographer james nachtwey. inspiration isn’t always about pretty pictures and ideas about what you can do. how about what not to do?

erin, keep doing what you’re doing as long as it makes sense to you as you are authentic and that’s refreshing now a days. there is so much love coming from you whether it’s finding an artist that’s slipped below the radar, or the way you consistently interact with your readers.

Jude said...

Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. Wow! All these comments can only reinforce you are on the right track with all that you do here. "... Simply be inspired in the moment that it's found ..." Isn't that a big part of what life is all about, being inspired by the moments that make up our lives?

You know you could feature nothing but rolls of toilet paper here and I would love you regardless, because they way in which you present things, with your clever editorial and fresh perspective, always brings a smile and allows me to look at things from a different point of view. Gifts money just can't buy!

jennifer said...

inspiration has little to do with commerce. actually nothing, thankfully.
i enjoy your dailies very much.

Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly. I so look forward to receiving my daily dose of DFM via e-mail because of my busy schedule. Too much emphasis is put on consumerism and "upgrades". It is nice to look at and be aware of the latest design trends. But if it "ain't broke" and is reasonably useful, keep it. I enjoy our "vintage" look. Still looking for my sky blue Inspiration poster. That will be worth another hole in the wall.

"Back home in Indiana"

Jessie Cacciola said...

It's the same reason we go to an art gallery -- I don't expect to go in there and buy something; it's for the pure inspiration of the moment. And you've created a place for us all to talk about it. I think this blog, and many other blogs, are proof that people don't need to have something tangible in order to be inspired with a comment. Our thoughts are real. Our emotions are real. And this free space allows everything to flow smoothly, without the question of 'marketability.'
- Jessie -

Jo said...

i prefer the non buying slant of your blog. i read blogs to connect to people and what they are paying attention to and being inspired by. i find it less interesting when it is all about what we would/should buy if we could. I can't and do not want to purchase objects all day. So I say inspiration comes from the human connection not the objects...

becca said...

the photo from "the ones we love"! one of my favorite sites.

design for mankind. said...

Just so you guys know--- "Back Home in Indiana" was totally my Dad. Isn't he cute??? :)

And Jo--- you bring up an incredible point here... inspiration is about the human connectivity for some. Ok, is connectivity a word??

Anyway, I couldn't agree more. Why not celebrate the diversity behind our tastes and preferences that reveal the person behind??

Another Readers Speak, eh? :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog because of the variety and the lack of pushing of products. I love looking at all the inspiring photos. I don't enjoy reading blogs that seem to be just about advertising. You have a great blog and it's one that I read every day. I hope it stays the way it is.

-KellyA

design for mankind. said...

I'll do my best, KellyA! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo over stuff for the sake of stuff. Sometimes it's *less* of an inspiration to find something cool that's totally out of your price range. Not linking item to purchase makes you(the viewer) bring more to it so you have to find your own inspiration in it.


Net NET:It's your blog -- do what you want -- isn't that the beauty of a blog???

Amy said...

Erin, although there are products you picked for the blog, I never did notice a consumer-based slant to them. I know that most of them serve to inspire, or that you find them quirky and fun. And beautiful enough to share.

Inspirations comes from what we see and feel -- not a price tag. So, I see beautiful things from you and I wondered why I never discovered you before.

And while I'm at it, how do you manage to check all these comments while you're stuck in traffic?

design for mankind. said...

Amy-- thanks for your sweet words! You are a doll, and I get mini-goosebumps when I visit Pikaland, but that's a WHOLE different post! :)

As for comment-checking, it's a compulsion. I'm obsessed. And I get emails on my phone, which makes the obsession TEN times worse.

Although, I must say that I'm banning emails from my phone and am going cell-phone-less for 30 days to see if I can do it! I'll keep you posted... ;)

alice said...

Oh goodness I can believe you get flack?! I was so surprised! Wah! I love your blog! So much inspiration :D Also I love your comments that go with the pictures and things, you are funny ;) Always makes me chuckle.

tara said...

I'm not, in any way, a designer; so I never approach design blogs with the intention of owning what they show, I simply don't need it! As inspired as I am by furniture and artwork, I shop at Goodwill and my Hub and I created all of our artwork for our house.
I think this subject speaks to rampant consumerism in society (as other commenters have mentioned) and also the idea of "an ownership society", in which to have something, we must own it.

And it addresses the subject of HOW we think of our personal worlds: are we trying to fill it with things? Or with intangible ideas and inspirations? For me, filling myself with inspiration prepares me to create the things I want to be surrounded with. And what I want to be surrounded with is things of beauty AND meaning. My home is my little refuge and I don't want to fill it up; I want to treasure each piece!

reclaimingmisshavisham said...

I just want to drop a line to say that Lefora is an amazing way to organize your readers into discussion forums. You can easily post pictures and have infinite topics of conversation at once. They make great companion forums for blogs and host for free. Just an idea!
www.lefora.com

-Leslie/Miss Havisham

Karline said...

Wow this was a great discussion! My thinking is that one of the things that make this whole blogging world special and amazing is the idea of sharing inspiration, admiring good ideas, craftsmanship, and finding inspiration in unusual places, sharing experiments and giving/getting feedback. The fact that it isn´t so mainstream and
commercial gives it its immaterial value. Inspiration and imagination
are an essential part of being human and give us creative flow. Supporting and encouraging that is part of why you have so many comments on this blog/thus readers. Keep doing what you do. You do it well! Cheers!

elizabeyta said...

I just recently found your blog and the unusual items for a design blog is part of what appeals to me.
I say keep it the way it is and see how it develops!

Liz said...

I (like many, it seems) love that your blog is more about art/design than about buying stuff. I am tired of feeling like I need to buy stuff, that I might miss the next cool thing, ya know? I want inspiration and ideas, and discussion (no bashing, I believe there can be discussion and room for my opinion and your opinion with no bashing) and delicious, thoughtful conversations.

Love that you are tackling this topic so head on....

Shiny Black Shoes said...

I like pretty things, you post pretty things....enough said :)

design for mankind. said...

Amen, sistah! :)

when skies are grey said...

wow, i need to come back here when I have more time to read these comments...what a great subject. I couldn't agree more and when I first read the post I came here to say, please keep doing what you're doing. The things that most provide inspiration in my life don't usually carry a price tag. But it looks like everyone has said it in better ways. Great blog lady! Keep showin the cool stuff.

vic said...

I am too lazy to read through what everyone else said so will just throw my two cents into the mix.

Firstly, I cannot fathom how anyone can give you flack for what you post on your blog. You set the agenda here, you decide what you post and what you don't. Whether it's a photo of your aunt catherine's dog dressed up as a clown, a beautiful dress you can buy or a photo that inspires you, the very value in and reason for having a blog is that it allows you to post without constraint. It's your blog for goodness sake.

There are so, so many blogs out there. I feel as though yours is truly one of the originals. Your interest in the essence of what makes us creative and inspires us is a breath of fresh air.

Working in a creative field means that I have to find inspiration everywhere. Some of the best work I've done has been inspired by things that have happened to me and things I've seen, whether they be a photo on flickr or a man riding his bike along my street. Despite the fact that I work for a big, nasty advertising agency, I believe that creativity and inspiration can and should never have a price tag.

Finally, keep doing exactly what you're doing. Your e-zines and dailies are great, your posts are inspiring. I'll keep coming back every day, even if you post a photo of your aunt catherine's dog dressed up as a clown...

Anonymous said...

Of course you can inspire by words, deeds and actions. It just takes a little more thinking for the observer to get it.

design for mankind. said...

Wowza-- I'm loving these comments! It's so great to know that it IS possible (in today's age) to break out of the consumerist box [or bag: paper or plastic?] and really find your true passions and inspirations.

Kudos to you guys. You are wise beyond the ages.

my love for you. said...

really excited to see where you take the blog...once again, you are so inspiring. love that you are tweaking it. way to go. high five!

lisa s said...

well i'm late to this party, but i still want to chime in.

i think it's FANTASTIC that you are not always about the shopping - i think what inspires you is engaging and important to put out there.

keep on keepin on!!

Fledgling said...

Hello DFM!

I guess I didn't recognize this blog as an interior design blog. I mean, I suppose it wasn't a secret, but that blurb at the top, "because beauty lies ..." hooked me and kept me scrolling. Mea culpa.

I'm looking for beauty. Wherever I can get it.

The manufactured item--handwoven or injection molded--is, in a sense, the end of the line. That's the culmination of the inspiration, the end. But what was that thing that made the person jump out of the shower with shampoo still in his hair to sketch it out? I, personally, like to see enough stuff that will bring me to the shampoo-still-in-the-hair moment.

I see a bit too much regurgitation in design. Regurgitation makes things easier to swallow, but it's not fresh. So I like seeing the raw, yet unappreciated, immature, unwashed thing still growing.

I like what you do. I'm inspired. But I'm not an interior designer. Is that okay with you?

All the best, -N.

design for mankind. said...

N--- wow. I am totally blown away. What a beautiful and well-thought comment. I'm floored.

I love your writing and I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts.

Do come back--- of course it's ok with me. :)

pve design said...

A price tag cannot be put on inspiration. One of my favorite parts of being a designer/ artist is that of inspiring others. The collaboration is key.
I love your point of view and that you keep is real!

frida said...

I just found your site and I'm in love. Don't go changin'!