Friday, 28 August 2009

Design For Mankind

We know from experience that design blogs can very easily become an addiction. One inevitably leads to another, which in turn leads to hour upon hour of poring over creativity from around the globe. One place we know we'll always get our fix is Design For Mankind. Created by Erin Loechner, the site bursts with news and images related to everything from photography, product design, style and craft. As well as running an award-winning blog, Erin also manags to find the time to self-publish a bi-monthly digital zine, MANKIND/MAG. We caught up with her to find out how she does it.

Your blog has been going since 2007 and has a fantastic reputation, why did you begin blogging in the first place and do you have any new plans for it up your sleeve?
The blog started as a creative outlet for me. I was living in L.A. working at a top advertising firm, feeling as if I'd sold my soul to consumerism. I spent my days producing and researching marketing materials to sell Americans more items that they didn't need, and I wanted to create something that counter-balanced the desire to spend, spend, spend. I realized that not only is inspiration free, but it's very necessary in today's culture. The idea grew very organically from there, and I'm happy to note that the majority of the content that I feature can't be bought with money, but are geared toward artistic development. Ha. I always have new plans up my sleeve. It's in my blood. I'm never content unless I'm juggling a few projects, as I bore very easily. Look for some exciting news in early 2010.

Where do you find inspiration? How do you source the work you feature?
I'm constantly conversing with friends, strangers and the community around me. I find it so interesting that we all walk very different paths that often fork into the same crossroad. That, to me, is inspiring.The majority of my features come from emerging artists across the country whose work I wouldn't be familiar with if not for this awesome thing we call the Internet. To unearth new inspiration, I like to source artist pages for links to their friends. Often times, creativity begets creativity, so artists tend to run in similar circles and the community blossoms from there. I also make an effort to keep my eyes and ears open at all times -- you never know when you'll run into a talented typographer in the local coffee shop!

Who are your favourite artists and designers?
Oh shoot. This is a tough one for me, as there are so many. (Doesn't everyone say that?) If I could mix the range of Sandra Juto with the eye of Elisabeth Dunker, the heart of Camilla Engman and the mind of Jaime Hayon, that would be my dream artisan. If we're talking about emerging art, I always love the work of Rasmus Emanuel Svensson and photographer Erin Jane Nelson.

Can you take us through a typical day at the Design for Mankind office?
Ha -- office sounds so official! I often work from local coffee shops on my trusty Mac, and because I have an intense habit of compartmentalizing my week. What I'm doing depends on the day, but I'm usually writing a few articles for AOL's ShelterPop, DIY Life, posting on Share Some Candy, Design-Milk and SFGirlByBay, or business planning over at BAKERY. If I'm not juggling the above, I'm sourcing for Design for Mankind and Mankind Mag content, or heading to local yoga classes to blow off steam.

Who are in your eyes the ones to watch over the next year?
Will Bryant has been producing amazing work as a young graduate, so keep him on your radar. I'll also be tuning in to Christien Meindertsma, Nicolas Cheng, Catherine Soto, Natalie Rognsoy and Katy Horan.

Any tips for our budding couture contest entrants?
Stick to what you know. Risks are fun to take, but when entering a contest, stay true to your brand and let your personal work shine through. Let the risks fall on your everyday work.Also, have fun! (Another thing everyone says, I'm sure.) Every opportunity is worth its weight in gold, so take the experience for what it is and enjoy your time crafting.Good luck to everyone entering!

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