In researching how to start a design blog, I have come to the inevitable conclusion:

There are simply too many design blogs out there.

And as unpleasant as that statement is, a quick look through the design forums and popular blogs out there suggests that more often than not, most design blogs are a mass reworking of the same set of ideas, projects, and inspirations– essentially a living example of the 80-20 rule. This rule, also known as “the law of the vital few”, states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes; for example, when 80% of the work is done by 20% of the office / student body / sports team.

In the design blogging world, the law of the vital few creates a gap in which 80% of design coverage is really only being done by 20% of the top design bloggers. Its the effect of mass curating, and I’m very, very guilty of this myself– when the leaders of the design blog world post, the rest of us perk up our ears, and then we tweet, stumble, like, and link the new design fad until it finally dies in the archive bins of our blogs.

The same 80% of content becomes regurgitated over and over, even though only a small minority of bloggers are actually sparking the initial curation.

My question to you, then, is why should we bloggers curate at all? Is there merit or worth to a design blog that doesn’t produce its own work, but relies on the works of others? Obviously there is something wonderful to be mined from blog curation, given the contributions of great bloggers such as swissmiss, but how many similar sites do we need before there is too much of the same 80% of content?

How can we rethink design blogs for both the designer and the reader?

What do you want to see in a design blog?

(This will be my thinking picture from now on. I’m bowing my head in confusion.)

Posts that got me thinking: “Curating on the Web,” “Challenges in Curating and Publishing Content Online,” and “Blogging is About Caring Not Curating.”

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