Finding good design-related links on a daily or hourly basis aside from Twitter is difficult. Most of the design blogs I frequent daily only add one to five articles a day, which usually means resorting to Dribbble for inspiration, and Twitter for interaction.
After I recently subscribed to Sidebar.io (a great daily newsletter by Sacha Grief), the void was partially filled, but after immediately clicking through the five links in my inbox, I would then check out the latest links posted to Hacker News. Don’t get me wrong: I love Hacker News, but I’m primarily a designer, not a coder. That’s why I was so excited when Allan Grinshtein (you may also know him as the man who coined the term ‘flat design’) and Kelly Sutton of LayerVault launched Designer News, which is (you guessed it) a site for designers to post design-related links in a Hacker News-type format.
Even though Grinshtein calls it a side project, it feels like much more than that. I’ve been using it for a few days now, so here are my first impressions.
What makes Designer News so great is its community. Since Grinshtein has made the site invite-only, you won’t see spam and nasty comments, something seen quite regularly on Hacker News. This semi-exclusive network ensures that those posting links are designers and writers who are making an effort to share something with the community, not just companies and spam bots looking to sell something.
The major difference between Designer News and Hacker News (apart from their respective audiences) is their design. LayerVault has a beautifully designed interface, which Grinshtein has carried over into Designer News. The site features crisp icons (all SVGs), Helvetica Neue Bold for the link titles (making them much more readable than those on Hacker News), a simple form for logging in and out, and one for quickly sharing links.
The minimalistic feel of the site makes you focus on the content, but without hiding useful controls. Just like Hacker News, you can upvote your favorite posts with a click (although you must be a member to do so). Grinshtein is also introducing some nicely designed category icons next to certain links, but you can’t select a category when you post a link (yet). Oh, and the design is flat.
Grinshtein also has plans to add some new features, including an interesting one he shared with me via email:
We’re rolling out something pretty funny at some point in the next few days. We’re adding a Message Of The Day (MOTD) to the top of the front page, but it’ll be visible to members only. Editing it will erase the previous person’s message. You’ll need at least 1 karma point to edit but otherwise it’s fair game for everyone. The catch is that it’s the only place on the entire site that you can be downvoted. I expect this to be the source of a lot of laughs.
With its simple look and feel, voting and commenting system, and curated community, DN, as it’s being called, is going to change the way we discover interesting things within our community. From the useful links to CSS tutorials I wouldn’t find elsewhere, to the great creative process videos of other designers building great things, the site is filled of inspirational resources that you really should take a look at. If you want to become a member, send Grinshtein an email here, say we sent you, and he’ll be happy to let you in on the fun.