Monthly Archives: August 2008

Black & White Graphic Insight: Plan B

Plan B, 2008
Collage, ink and resin on wood
8 x 11 inches

I’m finishing up the final pieces for the Black & White Graphic Insight series. I’ll miss working with this color scheme, but it’s time to move onto the next vision! Plan B will be available at my solo show at Nemo in October. Details soon!

The Week in Pictures: 8.29.08

week in pictures nubby twiglet typography

This week was shockingly action-packed; it included run-ins with strange donuts, extra hot sauce and airsoft guns!

Recently, Nemo has been working with Mountain Dew’s extreme sports and music festival, The Dew Tour. We were asked to come up with promotional ideas when one of our team members had an epiphany and summoned Portland’s Voodoo Donuts to whip up some VooDew donuts. These babies were infused with Mountain Dew and featured a thick lemon filling. I refused to try them. To say that I was scared was the understatement of the century. Mmmm, delicious lemony goodness!

The adventurous spirit rolled on through Sunday when I met up with some of my old work cronies for a night out at the swanky Portland City Grill. Here’s the view we took in:

My ex-boss JD (full disclosure: we worked at a shoe store in the mall many years ago) is hilarious. At 6 foot 5, he makes me look like a dwarf and we’re always putting on a show. That’s him in the background:

This guy used to speed skate and breakdance. Oh, and due to an accident many years ago, he can do the splits (I dared him once do to them in the middle of the store we worked at). We also used to get into trouble for playing Michael Jackson way too loud. Here were are cruising through rainy Portland on the way home:

On Tuesday, I was invited along on a mini fieldtrip to view a Nike booth that Nemo’s assisting with for an upcoming trade show. As I was walking out the door, I noticed an arsenal of airsoft guns spread across the ping pong table in our lobby. Of course, I couldn’t resist a photo-op!

We went on site and the booth looked great, but I was more mesmorized by this Mr. T poster in the work area. Safety is the key!

Our mini field trip ended up stretching on for four hours, but can’t you tell that we had a blast?!

On Wednesday, the newest crop of Nemo employees were told to assemble in the middle of the office for a little initiation. Seems that there’s a tradition to make employees eat a massive spoonful of extra hot sauce. I refused (it would have probably sent me to the hospital) but the crowd wasn’t having any of it. They repeatedly chanted “NUBBY! NUBBY!” and handed me a spoon. I sat it on someone’s desk and snuck to the back of the crowd. It was a smart move; one person threw up, another ended up with a massive sore in their mouth and and there were a lot of people complaining of burning insides! Haha.

How was YOUR week?!!

Link Love: 8.28.08

1. Smashing Magazine offers up 30 free high quality WordPress themes!

2. Gala Darling just posted her birthday wishlist. Whip out that credit card and get shoppin’!

3. Camille is a fellow Oregonian with a perfect mix of high / low style that I love and was just featured in a NY Times Style Mag article.

4. The Daily News offers up a list of fashion’s 50 most powerful people.

5. AideRSS is a free service that researches every blog post you make and shows its ranking so you can see what’s the most popular! I use it almost every day now and it’s helped me focus my energy on the types of posts that do the best.

6. The one and only Mademoiselle Robot just interviewed me about style!

7. Sailorette offers up a rundown (with links) of her favorite lady bloggers here.

8. The NY Times blog The Moment is compiling a list of its many fans in its right-hand column and all you need to do is offer up some link love!

Advice #11: How To Choose Niche Blog Topics

I’m trying to start a blog for women my age and demographic (I’m twenty, live in Boston, am an English major, and care both about the plight of women in the Middle East and what color to paint my nails. Get what I’m saying?)

I want to provide something for smart, feminist-type girls who care about the world they live in but still like to dress hot and keep up with what’s going on in fashion, design, music, etc. I want it to be cohesive without being too limited to one topic because I know that I am interested in a huge range of things.

My idea is to develop something that keeps all posts pertaining personally to women my age in some way, basically only zeroing in on issues that they can relate to or that affect them personally.

Is this focused enough?

The short answer to your question is yes, absolutely.

The much longer answer is that you should give your blog niche some serious contemplation before getting started. This is important because your blog will further resonate with readers if it has an overarching theme that unites the smaller topics you’d like to cover.

Since women’s blogs covering both fashion and feminism (along with the related topics you mentioned) are already rampant, ask yourself what you can do differently. Is there a fresh and unique angle that you can take to stand out from the competition?

When you start blogging, it’s a good idea to consider whether you’re focusing on a niche topic or a niche demographic. As Darren Rowse explains in his case study of Gala Darling, she started out writing mostly fashion-related articles (a niche topic). Later, her blog expanded from covering a set topic (fashion) to reaching a much broader audience of ‘youthful alternative (unconventional, individual, eccentric) women.’

Gala’s knack is offering up helpful articles that cover an awe-inspiring range of topics (past pieces have included details on how to tie a scarf, the benefits of a raw food diet, choosing flattering hairstyles and gift buying guides).

Yet, Gala seamlessly unites these widely varied subjects through a few key principles. First and foremost, she always offers an inspiring, positive perspective that uplifts her readers. Secondly, she composes most of her articles in an information packed editorial-style format. Thirdly, her topics usually relate in some way to self knowledge and personal aesthetics (this includes a heavy dose of how-to articles). And most importantly, her articles always offer value to readers.

Consider most of the mainstream women’s fashion magazines that grace the newsstands. They jam a multitude of subjects (style, beauty, advice, cultural and political matters are commonplace) into every issue and have been hugely successful with this approach.

Like you, readers of these magazines tend to multifaceted with regards to their interests. And, having a handful of smaller topics under your umbrella makes it more likely that readers will find something that suits their tastes while offering a perceived value.

Even if you start blogging about a singular topic, over time your focus often expands to include a broader range of offerings. This may be done consciously to provide readers with more value. Or, perhaps it’s a natural growth that’s happening because you’re changing as a person (and in effect, your content is reflecting this).

When expanding upon your niche, don’t spread yourself too thin or there may be too little common ground for your readers to grasp. Instead, do what comes naturally while keeping your main topic in mind. Building out from that core in tiny, measured steps will keep growing pains to a minimum.

When you’re writing an article, always ask yourself how you can relate it back to the central theme of your blog.

Let’s say that you decide to focus on the topic of feminism from a modern woman’s perspective. If you choose to write an article about what color to paint your nails, this could be molded to fit your niche by first giving a brief history of why women wear nail polish and what the cultural relevance is. As a lighthearted finishing touch, you could list your favorite colors and brands (and in effect, cover the smaller angle of fashion).

If you’re covering the plight of women in the Middle East, perhaps you can zero in on a particular country and discuss the hardships that these women are fighting to overcome. In closing, offering up a list of charities and organizations that your readers can participate in will provide value and relevance to their lives.

Since you have so many interrelated interests that can be shaped to fall under a larger umbrella, it’s less likely that you’ll run out of topics to blog about. And, this is something to take into account because it definitely gets trickier after you’ve written a few hundred articles! There’s nothing wrong with having a handful interests that you’re passionate about as long as you can find a way to unify them within a niche.

And, if your idea still feels a bit fuzzy, this list claims to be the world’s most comprehensive blog niche and topic idea list!