Penning a “slower design blog” has been challenging for me. I’m used to uncovering trends and unearthing portfolios and shedding light on the newest and greatest and best – wearing the safari hat of a sort of visual, cultural archaeologist. But these days, I’m doing the opposite. I’m learning to edit – to pare down and tell stories and explore processes. It’s difficult for me – a person who is endlessly inspired by so many different disciplines – to quiet the inner voice that is begging to share and upload and type and follow and screenshot and scroll and more and more and more.
But then I think of what a true archaeologist would do – what it might look like if she moved throughout her day too quickly. How many gems she might stumble on, missing the greater story in search of something bigger and brighter and newer? How much unfinished work she might produce, lazily dusting off the dirt and displaying a halfhearted artifact? And I’m inspired to return to this mission – to seek a more creatively fulfilling life by slowing down, looking up and moving forward with intention, much like the weathered hands of a true and practiced archaeologist.
The beauty of this, of course, is that I often discover those who are digging alongside of me, embarking on their own journeys to creative discovery. And last week, amidst a pile of trowels and mesh screens and hand brushes – I spotted an artifact called Justified Magazine.
Founded by art director and graphic designer Joshua Ogden, Justified Magazine provides a breather to our blogging culture while still acknowledging the power and shareability of the Internet. It began as a blog, as these things often do, and has now morphed into a printed format that offers insight into contemporary design and photography – a concise peek at creative individuals who are operating at the forefront of today’s visual culture. And although the blog was a success, Joshua wasn’t impressed.
“The web presence we have is great; it’s a mass of visual imagery from all over the place, ” Joshua writes. “The problem is that when someone submits work, it moves further down the endless cyberspace scroll of other nice submissions. I wanted to capture what the blog has into a printed format that could be kept, owned and even collected.”
Each quarterly publication is a £5 edition of a print run – whether that be 20 or 100,000 – creating something that exists in a tangible, thoughtful way. In a sense, Joshua is simply offering a new home for visual culture – away from the glass display case and into our homes and hands and lives.
It’s a change of pace that people are appreciating in Joshua’s world, and one that people are appreciating in my own. “There are so many fast content uploads on blogs happening all over the Internet,” he writes. “I think it’s nice to have that breather to digest content into a considered, thought-out format.”
It’s a breather that, in Joshua’s opinion, will keep us from becoming “dehumanized digital beings” He writes, “I think it would be healthy to get away from the screen. It seems most people work in front of screens, socialize using screens, read using screens and then watch TV on screens. It’s a bit ridiculous.”
And as far as creative inspiration is concerned, Joshua finds it most refreshing to be in an environment where digital use is at a minimum. “I try not to get inspired from online blogs. I feel more inspired meeting creatives in other fields like architecture and photography; people who have been taught to see things differently. Only feeding from online sources will make your work identical to thousands of others,” he adds. “That’s pretty dull.”
As someone who has ditched her RSS subscriptions in favor or more walks, books and leisurely conversations, I’m 100% on board. And to Joshua Ogden – a fellow cultural archaeologist returning to his roots – I tip my safari hat in sincere gratitude.
Image Credits: Justified Magazine