Adam Japko founded the Design Bloggers’ Conference five years ago, when he was leading the Digital Sherpa online marketing firm, and creating Design Sherpa, a division dedicated to design-industry clients. At that point in the Great Recession, he says, “everyone was looking for a way to feel good about something,” while online content and social media were gaining ground in terms of how people were searching for great design.
Japko, now the CEO of Esteem Media, which owns Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and New England Home magazines, believed bringing bloggers together with professional designers could be a powerful combination. “I thought, ‘This is exactly what these people in the design industry could benefit from.’”
And have they ever. The entrepreneur sat down with The HighBoy to talk about the confluence of blogging and design—and the conference that celebrates it.
How many design blogs are out there?
When we started the conference, we identified at least 25,000.
And surely it’s grown since then. What can you say about the influence bloggers have had on the industry?
It’s one giant megaphone for the design industry! The trade has leveraged these bloggers to share their content and express their ideas and concerns. The 300-400 bloggers at this conference has three times the distribution that the national magazines do.
This whole social operating system of self-publishing has created a much broader distribution network. Magazines’ web content is being shared in much more significant ways—and it increases their web traffic. The magazines need to have a brand authority that’s very important to the design community, so I don’t see any negative impact. Designers still want to be published.
As design coverage has proliferated online and made more unique furnishings and décor available to more of us than ever before, where do you see antiques and vintage trending?
It’s a timeless design trend.
What can you say about the impact of this conference as it celebrates its fifth anniversary?
I totally underestimated it. It’s the ability of bloggers and designers to network in person with people they’re already connected to online. Everyone has this common understanding of the power of it—and spending a few days with a few hundred people like that at a party that I throw is amazing!
Catch The HighBoy and other design lovers from across the country at The Design Bloggers’ Conference this week, February 25-27, at Atlanta’s Grand Hyatt in Buckhead. See you there! Or if you can’t join us in person, follow @the_highboy and @DesignBlogConf using the hashtag #DBCATL to keep up with the fun!
Images via Adam Japko.