Francisco Inchauste aka Finch on the state of the web design community:
This “how to” approach is reflected in the design resources we find today. Soon after a certain style or effect becomes popular, tutorials and other tools to create it become available. But the element that was missing from my “how to” books is the same element that is missing from these tutorials, lists, and galleries: “why.”
A good web designer needs to know both theory and execution. If you only know “how” then you’re a pixel pusher or coder, and if you only know “why” then you’re just a design pundit. This is true for other professions as well. The problem with the design community today is that there are far more tutorials and showcase sites than original, well thought-out and researched sites.
Actually I think it’s unfair for me to say there are less “why” sites than “how” sites. The perception that the design community is filled with tutorial and showcase sites is because they’re more popular. They are the sites that spread quickly within social media and give new designers instant gratification. If those sites are new designers’ main sources for inspiration, then they’re bound to conform to trends and eyecandy without understanding the fundamental design principles. I have nothing against these sites(unless they only post lists). I think they’re necessary and helpful.
There are plenty of great designers that offer thought provoking original content on their blogs. The problem is they are not into self-promotion, or simply don’t know how. They write for the love of the craft so traffic and exposure mean very little to them. I’m always thrilled to discover their sites. But finding this type of site is a bit difficult. In today’s world, if you don’t self promote, then you don’t exist in the public eye.
“Community” is what we choose to expose ourselves to and participate in. It’s different for everyone. My own design community is comprised of carefully chosen RSS feeds and a group of diverse and interesting designers I follow on Twitter. Some of them provide tutorials and showcases, while others focus on theory. Some do both. Finding the balance is the key. This is the only decent advice I can give if you’re looking for good reads. I’d love to see popular fluff sites start writing original content, and good writers start promoting themselves. But that kind of wishful thinking is beyond our control. People do what they do for monetary and personal reasons. We however, can determine the signal to noise ratio by choosing what to read, or not.
Start reading Finch today. I plan to share some of my favorite design blogs(many are lesser known) with you in the near future, one at a time. I’ll be sure to tell you “why” they are worthy of your time.