A Printed Artifact

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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

p.s. Just for fun: 12 Amazing Magazine Covers, A Magazine Dress and Printed Magazine Mistakes.

  • ditching my RSS subscriptions was one of the healthiest things i could have done for my mind + creativity + to tune back in to my own voice! proud of you for encouraging the same + excited that you too are invested in creating content rather than filtering through it! xoxo

    • Ah, thank you, Susie! It’s so great to hear from you, btw! Always a fan of your creative work!

  • Yes to ditching “RSS subscriptions in favor of more walks, books and leisurely conversations”.

    This design bloggy/internet world is like a buffet of too.much.imagery that I’m gulping down. Or an out of control fire hose.

    It’s so much sweeter to savour this post or that article or this photograph over here rather than move faster and faster and faster. Rather than overindulging on shoes or food, it’s words and images. And none of it ends up satisfying for long.

    But oh the temptation to keep up – your blog is the perfect antidote to that pressure to write more, read more, post more, pin more.

    And I will certainly check out Justified Magazine!

  • Love this! The desire to transition from blog to magazine hits close to home for me. And quality work that’s captured somewhere permanent is a wonderful concept that’s inherently lacking in our blogosphere. That being said, I might be a lost little bird without my blog. :)

  • Thanks for this, Erin! I just ordered Issue 2 and I’m looking forward to seeing the creativity inside those pages. xo

  • I have to say that, in a sea of rushed and under-thought posts, your blog entries are always a refreshing and meaningful read; I find myself forcing myself to avoid book marking everything you write. I just wanted to write a quick thank you for being an inspiration to me and my creative efforts, both on and off of the web.

    So thanks! Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Oh, Sophia – I so appreciate this note! Thank you for taking the time to respond and encourage!

  • Erin, thank you for such wonderful, thoughtful content. I find it so refreshing to see someone successfully blog in a style I long for. And so reassuring to see so many other people that get it and are asking for more! Truly inspiring.

  • Wow, this is really inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing. It’s funny, I have mulling over the idea – actually a big dream of mine for years – to create a publication of some sort. I’ve thought about a blog, not my personal one, but something grander, but I’ve always loved that feeling of finding a tangible publication that is timelss and deserves a permanent space in people’s homes or work spaces. Something creative and honest. A collection of real gems as you’ve put it so thoughtfully. My mind is now running. Thank you for the inspiration and wonderful post. :)

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they are quite refreshing. The inner voice always speaks loudest for me. I thank you again for sharing this part of your journey with me as a reader. I love to hear your stories, I believe hearing some else’s story is where I learn the most about myself in the most non selfish way. I wish you a lovely journey.

    My best intentions,


  • Beautifully written post. And must check out this magazine.
    I am so on board with your Slow Blogging Movement, Erin. Shared at Blog Brunch on Twitter today and plan to write about it in an upcoming blog post of my own.
    Just wondering, though — if we all ditch our RSS subscriptions, who will be reading these posts we’re taking time to create?

    • Oh, you are so kind – thank you for your sweet words! And you know, I have two thoughts on this:

      1. I’ve noticed that, personally, once I ditched the RSS subscriptions, I noticed which blogs/sites I wanted to visit and which kind of fell into the background. I’m still actively visiting the [very few!] sites I’ve missed, but am not passively sifting through content that’s coming at me, if that makes sense. There’s a big difference between actively engaging and pursuing information vs sifting through passive streams, in my opinion.
      2. I’ve noticed that what I miss most about the early days of blogging is that I used to write for myself, so it mattered less whether anyone was reading the post or not. It’s always wonderful to get feedback of course, but at the end of the day, writing something I’m proud of should fulfill me – whether that something is viewed by thousands or not. You know?

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