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Joseph Ayoub is the founder and only contributing writer for the Whitezine web magazine, but don’t let the small staff fool you. This site is packed with photography, design and other creative and inspiring finds which make this a bookmark must.
We asked Joseph Ayoub some questions about Whitezine, cool hunting and trend spotting. This is what he had to say…
13 Questions with Joseph Ayoub
1. How did you get involved in Whitezine and what motivates you to continue?
Two years ago I created my first personal blog. Soon enough, day by day it started becoming increasingly professional. I stopped talking as a blogger and more like a journalist.
A year after its creation, I received a nice offer from a web company interested in buying it. It was a nice opportunity so I sold it. At that point, I asked myself what i wanted to do “on the web”. Whitezine was born from both personal and professional needs. I love what I do, and I love doing it for a living. The coolest thing is that our community is growing larger day by day - the blog is gaining popularity and it’s really motivating.
2. How significant are the topics of cool hunting and trend spotting in the world of design?
More and more important - the Internet made it all possible. People used to pay to get magazines about design - unfortunately, there’s not one single TV channel about design. Now it’s all free on the Internet, so more and more people are becoming fan of cool designs and trends. And there’s more and more websites about trends and cool spotting.
3. How do you define a trend?
For me, a trend is something liked by a certain community and most importantly new and original. The original definition is THE important characteristic. It becomes a trend because it’s liked, but it’s liked because it’s original.
4. How do you define cool?
Cool however, is something that fascinates us. It’s more of a personal definition, when trend is more about community.
5. Do you need a culture of innovation to create something that is cool?
No. Something cool, something trendy can be something old. Take a look at the vintage trends these days. We’re wearing and using trends that were cool 40-50 years ago, and some brands understood this by renewing their old products (Adidas, Vespa, Mini…) It has been shown in art history that people always come back to old sources. What today we call vintage is not a new thing. However, when an innovation becomes a trend, it’s really great. It’s easier to renew something and make it trendy, then to create something new that will become trendy.
6. What is the best way to create an infectious idea, product or service?
There’s not a miracle recipe. Original is a nice word to this definition but is not the only word. Most important things are inspiration, time and personal touch. Take Apple Inc. as an example. They used to do the same computers as IBM, but they made them with a nice design. That’s the first thing that made Apple ... infectious!
7. What is the key to innovation?
In a few words, questions, inspiration and ambitions. Ask yourself what people need, what people want, what product or service will be innovating. Take a look around you. Be inspired by your world to create a new and a better world. When you have a good idea, ask yourself what thing you could add, or remove to make it interesting and unique. And of course you must have ambitions and believe in your projects or else you’re not going anywhere.
8. What are the most important trends you see in design?
These days, it’s either black and white, or full of colors. Colory things are really happening these days. It’s all also a lot about squares. That’s why Whitezine’s recent new design left all the round corners behind to be more simple.
9. What are your ambitions for Whitezine?
To become a real “trend hunter”, have more writers, more articles, and most importantly more readers. And then maybe we’ll have our own shop with awesome stuff. I can’t reveal too much about Whitezine’s project, but you’re going to see us more and more.
10. What is an example of a time where you have thrown away an existing idea to force yourself to find something new?
Whitezine! Whitezine was not my first website, and the one I had sold was a little bit like Whitezine; however, it felt like it had little room for growth. We couldn’t evolve or make it better, or bigger. That’s what convinced me to sell it too. And then I thought about what I wanted to do. I realized that most design websites were too corporate, not “real”. That’s why on Whitezine, you have the community links widget, a little bio about the article’s author, and a real Twitter account (@rade). There’s no wall between me and the readers. The other thing is that it’s bilingual. It’s the only trend website in English and French. Even fubiz.net (website I love) translates his posts with Yahoo’s Babelfish service.
11. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
Yeah I do! Ironic for a person who writes about creativity. I start working at 9, sourcing till 11 bookmarking every interesting new article (I do have other websites). Then I start reviewing everything I bookmarked and start writing my articles. In the afternoon I work with other people, Calii (the agency that creates our websites and projects), clients (i’m also a Consultant in Web communication), advertising agencies, and of course artists who send me their work.
12. Professionally, what do you want to be doing or studying in 10 years?
I don’t know and don’t want to know. I know I’ll do a couple years in Web Communication and advertising. In fact I’ll start working in an agency in a month. But in 10 years ... I don’t know, My dream would be to open a shop/coffee/art gallery/open-space. A concept I created, but that can’t be open yet, especially in France. People don’t have the habit of going to a coffee shop to meet people and to “work”. It’s viable in the States but not in France (at least not for now).
13. What are your most important hobbies?
Surfing (on the Internet), writing and listening to music, hanging out with my friends, and discovering the world. I do however have one Geeky thing, but don’t tell anybody: I love playing Halo on my xBox.