To Our Readers: Half-Year Mark, Lessons, and the Future
Six months ago, my brother and I launched Design Instruct to serve as a place for designers and digital artists to get inspired, share techniques, and learn more about their craft. That was the basic idea we worked with. We had no idea where this would take us. Today, 6 months after the fact, we could not be happier with the way the design community has embraced our site.
- Launched: January 25, 2010
- First tutorial published: How to Make a Vibrant Portfolio Web Design in Photoshop
- Content published: 90
- Contributors: 33
- Comments posted: 1,547
- Twitter followers: 4,900+
- RSS Subscribers: 4,400+
- Smiling Editors: 2
What We’ve Learned
The last 6 months have been truly rewarding for us. Every new post is an adventure. Every talented contributor we’ve had the pleasure to work with continually surprises us with his or her ideas and their helpfulness in sharing their knowledge with the community. Every new comment that our readers leave brings excitement to our days.
Having had the opportunity to work on Design Instruct these last 6 months is, at one and the same time, a truly eye-opening experience, as well as a very humbling one.
The Work Hasn’t Been Always Smooth, Communication is Key
My brother and I had to adapt to a way of working from disparate locations. Add to that fact that our contributors also come from every corner of civilization; from Italy, Romania, India, Malaysia, from the American Midwest to the green hills of Ireland.
Suffice it to say that one of the biggest lessons we learned is to always communicate no matter what happens. However that communication is achieved — whether it’s through the phone, through emails, through the comments section of Design Instruct — the key to solving every problem is to always communicate, and to communicate well.
The Talent Out There is Beyond Belief
One of the greatest pleasures that we get from the work we do at Design Instruct comes from being able to find truly talented people and having them share their creativity with the community.
What we learned in this process is that talented people can come from any corner of the planet. There is no geographical epicenter for amazing work. There are only great ideas — and great ideas can come from anywhere.
For instance, on Design Instruct, you’ll find Miguel Cardona’s ink and watercolor illustrations, Mohammad Jeprie’s ultra realistic Photoshop techniques, Tyler Denis’ awesome Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials, or Ciara Panacchia’s guide on print preparation — these are great people from different parts of the world and in different design/digital arts fields. We’re glad that we were able to find all our writers and share their work with the community.
It’s About Our Community. It’s About the Readers.
At the start, we had no idea what to expect with Design Instruct. Today, as we reach this 6-month milestone, it is blindingly clear that the readers are one of the most important aspects of the work we do.
Without you, the reader, there would be no Design Instruct and there would be no community. It is the readers that we work for.
What’s in Store for the Future
As I’ve mentioned, when we started this site, we had no clue where we wanted to go beyond our single basic idea (publish great content). To an extent, we’re still not entirely sure of the shape of things to come — which isn’t a bad thing because we want you to guide us.
The fact of the matter is, the direction of Design Instruct is mostly determined by our readers and our contributors. We make decisions by reading your comments and emails, talking to our writers, and looking at the stuff that you’ve voted as the most popular (based on the page views you give them).
We want to build one of the most active and one of the most robust design communities on the Web. It’s a lofty goal, to be sure, but with the help of the community and the amazingly talented people who contribute to our web publication, we believe that it’s entirely possible.
In the future, we will set up forums to give our readers the opportunity to open up discussions and achieve two-way communication with the community.
We will also be putting together new types of content and regular features. We can’t say much more than that, so you’ll have to stick around and find out what these new types of content are for yourself.
We’re looking at ways to improve the functionality of the website to make it easier to find things, improving the search feature, navigation, and including helpful metadata on each tutorial. We will implement a filtering system for our content so that you can quickly find the right resources that you need. By the end of the year, we will be upgrading our web servers and content distribution network so that your reading experience will be smoother and with fewer issues (such as images occasionally not displaying). We want to whittle down our Upcoming Features list and push out these site features so that you can much better enjoy your reading experience.
More to the point, we will continue to bring you nothing but the best highest quality and relevant information for all of your design needs. In addition, we want to try to publish content more frequently.
We hope to have you along for the ride.
The last 6 months has been a blast. We are truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to reach such a wonderful and diverse audience and to work with immensely talented people.
It brings us great joy that we are able to contribute to the design community and to help educate and inspire people. As we continue to work on Design Instruct, our purpose becomes clearer every day: We are here to be a place for inspiration, a place to learn, and a place to share knowledge.
Whatever else we are, those are the principles we will work with every day. Our only hope is that we are able to enrich your lives in increasingly positive ways. We want to keep inspiring you to do great work. Whether you’re a professional, a student, or an enthusiast, we’re here to keep those creative juices flowing.
Design Instruct team
P.S. Let us know what you think the future holds for Design Instruct in the comments. If you’ve been with us since day 1, let your presence and support be known!