Editor’s Letter: February 2013

Image above: Valentine greeting (ca. 1910) via the NYPL Digital Library

Some months feel as if they take years to pass, and sometimes they fly by before you know it. January passed so quickly and with so little time to reflect, but it was one of the best months of my work life. I’ve never felt luckier to work with the people I do, and I’ve never been prouder of or more excited about the work we’re doing here. Max, Amy and I have shared early mornings and late nights together, poring over projects, posts and to-do lists, and this month they are my most cherished Valentines. To have people who share your vision and not only give their time and hard work but 100% of their creativity and passion is the biggest blessing I could ever receive. So while we prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the site (among other special events and holidays this month), they’re the people to whom I’m dedicating all my projects.

In last month’s letter, I talked about what home means to me, but this month I wanted to reflect on what’s happening at that new home now. Unlike the eight years of blogging that have come before, this year we decided to do things differently. We scaled back our team, set real work hours and started the year by sitting down to excitedly plan all of our content (almost every darn post) through May. We of course left room for improvisation, changes and new ideas, but planning holidays, interviews and larger projects ahead of time finally gave us the advance notice we needed to plan content for special events. Because I stubbornly held on to my “blog by the seat of my pants” mentality for so long, I was always running out of time to post content for the holidays. Every year I was sheepishly apologizing to readers in the comment section for not getting Thanksgiving ideas up fast enough or gift guides live in time for non-expedited shipping. But no more. This year the three of us sat down and researched holidays, special events and other time-sensitive topics and planned ways to integrate those special moments into our content in a way that felt right for D*S (that’s our January brainstorm on the wall above). From huge month-long craft challenges (hello, March Madness) to themed interview series, we let our imaginations run wild, and I’ve so enjoyed the content that’s come from this planning.

This month we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mardi Gras, Purim and Black History Month with content that’s tailored to those themes (in addition to our regular design content) and seen through the lens of what we love most here at D*S: creativity and authenticity. I’m so excited to show you everything we’re working on, but before we dive into this month’s content, I wanted to use this editor’s letter to send all of you a love note and say thank you. This month’s most popular holiday too often focuses on romantic love when it should be about celebrating all the special people in our lives — family, friends, colleagues and those who make us smile throughout the day. For me, that’s not only my team here, but also all of you online who crack me up on Twitter, leave meaningful comments on the site and share such personal and important photos on Pinterest and Facebook. Finding and embracing these communities on and outside of the blog has been so wonderful these past few months, and I wish I could send all of you a real Valentine in the mail. So I hope you’ll accept this digital love note instead. All my love, Grace

Misty

“This month’s most popular holiday too often focuses on romantic love when it should be about celebrating all the special people in our lives — family, friends, colleagues and those who make us smile throughout the day.” — I usually hate this month because of Valentine’s day, but this was a great reminder. Thank you, Grace!

Chedva

Hi Grace, I love reading those Editor Letters, and I love that you’re giving thought to holidays other than Valentines Day in February. Reading about these decisions and moments makes reading Design Sponge feel so much more personal again.

Autumn

Grace, thanks for sharing the challenges of making it work. It’s inspiring to read about a small, dedicated team not only pulling it off, but getting to the stage you described: the ability to step back, reframe and buckle down to make the flow work at a whole new level. Within those moments is the potential for small businesses to find better work/life balance (I hate that term, but there it is) and open doors to new ideas. Congratulations and thanks for the love. It’s mutual.

Allison W

I really love where D*S is going and I am so excited to see what the three of you taletned people have come up with!

Emily

Grace, Amy, and Max,

Thanks for all of your hard work! I’ve read Design*Sponge since 2008 and really can’t imagine going a work day without it! It’s such a strong, clear point-of-view that does wonders for the creative community.

Happy February!

Emily

Casey

Happy February to you and the team! Thank you for the great posts and daily inspiration.

Samantha

D*S Team I’m so excited for the new direction you have started to take, especially the transparency on your thought process and what’s going on in your office.

As a designer and crafter who also enjoys leaving everything to the last minute it’s helped inspire me to organize my own work and goals for the year.

Best of luck to you!

Katy Gilmore

I love your idea of an expanded love celebration for Valentine’s Day. And seeing your worksheet and reading about your brainstorming just increases my admiration for your day after day delivering of creativity and inspiration! Thank you! (I love the link that D*S provides between my daughter-in-law and me — separated geographically, we often email excitedly about a D*S topic.)

Becca

Aw! I love this month’s letter. I am so excited to see what you have in store for this year and know it will be fantastic. I find planning out my calendar in advance helps me be more productive and spend less time worrying about how I’ll get it all done, which allows time for me to be more creative. It doesn’t always work out as I had planned, but that’s ok too!

Rachel

I’ve been telling my husband all the time since January 1, “Design*Sponge is totally killing it this year.” The 2013 content so far has been amazing. I’ve definitely noticed a shift in the content and perspective and I have to say I am really loving it. Kudos to all of you and thank you SO MUCH for your hard work!!! Happy Valentine’s day D*S!

eLIZabeth Floyd

“…before we dive into this month’s content, I wanted to use this editor’s letter to send all of you a love note and say thank you. ”

Thank you Grace! This is a special month, and it is good to be reminded that all relationships are rewarding, on many levels. Have a wonderful February and I am looking forward to D*S’s March Madness!

Liz

Hilary

Just wanted to echo that I am experiencing a radical, amazing shift as a reader due to all the phenomenal planning and organizing y’all did. It feels amazing to be along for the ride as it gets sharper and transparent with a clear flow and direction. As Rachel said, killing it in 2013 so far!

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