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Once considered self-centered, voyeuristic,
and underground, Weblogs are now important media outlets, dependable
internal communication systems—informative resources on a bevy of topics—and
are even becoming viable educational tools. Slowly.
Graphic design in the last two years—like New York, Hollywood, politics,
and the adult industry1—has been flogged by blogs in an unexpected and positive
way. Previously, to engage in conversations about graphic design, one had to attend
varied events or lectures or join a support group. To read about graphic design
issues, one had to wait for the latest issue of a magazine or the most recent design
book. It was a slow and often a nonengaging experience. Now, open-ended and
quickly updated blogs like Speak Up, Design Observer, and aiga’s voice provide a
new dynamic that allows instant exchange of information, ideas, and criticism with
designers from across the country and the globe, as well as interaction among
students, entry-level designers, seasoned professionals, and everything in between—
from the comfort of one’s own computer.design
For graphic design students who visit blogs, this presents an excellent
opportunity to continue their education outside the classroom, to plunder the vast
available resources for their studies, and to develop an ability to talk about graphic
design. If course syllabi—a good number list blogs as required reading—serve as any
indication, educators are quickly realizing their potential as an educational tool.
However, the term blog carries the connotation of lonesome Web developers, living
in their parents’ basement and chronicling the developments of their latest Web
apps, understandably scaring educators away. Even its election as word of the year2
and its accompanying description fail to note blogs’ potential as influential elements
of culture, politics, business, and education, or to acknowledge that their content is
more than an “online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often
hyperlinks.” Graphic design blogs—mentioned above—go well beyond this premise
and it is only the back-end technology3 and front-end format4 that define them as
blogs, conceivably limiting their acceptance in the academic ranks. Perhaps a new
term is required to remove the word’s geeky stigma.design