Less and More: 10 years blogging

On the 4th November 2008, I launched Atelier Tally with an article about the design ethos of Dieter Rams talking about my recent trip to Japan with the man himself, Dieter Rams. I was working for Vitsœ and reading a lot of blogs but felt like there wasn’t anything for the type of content I wanted to read. I was reading PSFK, Apartment Therapy, Design Observer and dezeen. which were all huge sites. I was looking for an individual voice to talk about design that was made to last but struggling to find this online.

I decided to launch my own blog, after Jane Audas had suggested many times, and write a few posts about Dieter Rams and Vitsœ. I quickly realised, like many bloggers did, that you need more content than just a few ideas to sustain a blog. At one stage, I was blogging 7 days a week, searching for content and churning out content, as well as occasionally reposting other people’s content (yes, that was a thing that people did back then and for the life of me I cannot think why).

Having spent a long time not really knowing what I was doing, but still blogging away, I began working at mydeco where I was introduced to a lot of bloggers who were all doing amazing things with their content. It was personal, it was authoritative and it was opinionated. I started to realise that my blog didn’t need to emulate a magazine, and could be my own voice. I guess it took a long time to get my head in the right place for blogging and trust my own opinion… after all, that’s what people come to read it for and not to read the marketing blurb from a website regurgitated on my own website.

I launched Heart Home magazine with Carole & Arianna, won a load of competitions for writing (I’ve never won a blog award. I know, I can’t believe it either), and wrote for a shed load of other people’s blogs. I was riding high on the acclaim from other bloggers and journalists and found my stride with blogging about what really interests me. It’s the one place I can say what I like and not have to concern myself with commercial affiliations. Or so I thought… I, like many other bloggers, realised we could make a lot of money from partnerships and started to take the paid sponsorships on which altered the content (despite firmly believing it wouldn’t).

NB. I have to say at this point, that I’ve worked with some great companies and loved the partnerships. But some I wish I had said no to as it didn’t fit with my content.

I toured Belgium with the Limblog Design Tour and was captured by TVL.be

 

After a discussion with Katie Treggiden, I decided to work out what the blog was about and settled on the theme ‘made to last’ which allowed me to talk about anything within that whilst giving me criteria to say no to opportunities and content that wasn’t made to last. I stopped attending events that weren’t on this theme and really focused on saying what I wanted to say.

Amongst the noise of the blogosphere, my blog kept quietly saying what I wanted to say and I left the other content for anyone else that felt it fit better for. Lots of blogs got bigger and bigger around me and became the main income generator for those bloggers, and I watched things change with their content. I decided at one stage, blogging, for me was always going to be a hobby and I wanted to retain the right to say what I want when I want. The freedom of blogging is what made me love it originally and that’s what makes me keep going.

10 years on, and I have a renewed lease of life for the blog in the guise of a podcast and articles. I have a lot to say about this industry and blogging is an amazing way to do that. Podcasting has changed in the last few years with faster mobile data, smartphones and more podcast apps. Commuters have started to listen to podcasts as a way to pass the time where they have less time to read blogs which have created this perfect culture for podcasting.

After 10 years, I’ve met amazing people that have stories to tell, and a podcast is an ideal way to connect my writing, opinions, and contacts with an audience I’ve built up over the years. I’m really looking forward to sharing these stories over the coming months, and start the next decade of Atelier Tally.

Blogging is about conversations, so I’d love to hear your stories of blogging. Jump in the comments and let’s keep confabulating about design.

Daniel

Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

1 Comment

  • It seems insane doesn’t it? Ten years!!!! This time next year I’ll be right there with you in the decade gang! The landscape has changed so much since we started out. I really quite miss those days when we blogs weren’t really monetized and people just wrote for the pure passion.

    For the first 5 years at least I turned down ALL brand collaborations out of principal. Id come from working on a design magazine that didn’t do advertorials so being paid to write an article just seemed so wrong.

    Like you I didn’t want money to influence my content and I couldn’t be sure it wouldn’t. So it seemed safer to say no to everything.

    But I saw all the blogs around me doing brand collaborations and getting paid to create their content. I started to question my approach and eventually decided it was time to jump on the band wagon. A lot of the collaborations I was turning down were things I’d write about anyway so it seemed crazy to keep saying no.

    The main reason why I’ve never taken my blog full time is the fear of having to compromise my integrity in order to pay the mortgage. I don’t want to have to feel I need to write an unsuitable post because I need the money. I like the freedom I have now to pick and choose what works for me. And more importantly to only write posts I’ll enjoy writing. I don’t want my blog to become another job I hate.

    I’m really looking forward to your podcasts. I haven’t quite worked out how to listen to podcasts yet but it’s on my things to learn list!!! Lol

    Massive congratulations on reaching such a milestone though.

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