Welcome back to Mr. Bazaar! We first interviewed Will Taylor of Bright.Bazaar over a year ago — now we welcome Will back as part of our ongoing collaboration with Holly Becker of Decor8 and her friends in the international blogging community. We caught up with Will and chatted with him about the recent redesign of his blog…
Since our first Q+A over a year ago, Bright.Bazaar has made some major changes — while you’re still sharing your love of color, you’ve redesigned your blog and tweaked the content a bit — what changes have you made and why?
When I started Bright.Bazaar four years ago I knew absolutely nothing about blogging and so the whole experience has been a bit of a baptism of fire in that I’ve had to learn as I go. The one thing that has always been at the heart of the blog is my addiction to color — I always say that I’m just a gentleman hooked on hue as that’s essentially what prompted me to start writing the blog. Over the years my love for color has remained but I’ve also learnt new skills such as graphic design and photography which I was keen to reflect in my content as much as possible. In order to do this I refreshed some of my regular columns to make sure they felt fresh and inspiring, while also giving me the space to experiment in these new creative areas — some things work and somethings don’t, but you can’t beat learning by trial and error!
A redesign is a major undertaking — what factors were most important in the changes in the look + feel of the site?
I approached last year’s redesign with one aim: to create a site that was colorful yet sophisticated. I wanted to be sure that the site design was the perfect foil to all the colorful content I post — I think the best site designs are the ones that don’t fight for a user’s attention but are simple and easy to navigate. For me, it shouldn’t be the site design that creates the feeling and experience on a blog; it should be the content. I think of the content as the leading actress and the site design as the cameraman or gaffer, i.e. the latter are essential to the smooth running of the film but effectively are there to make the lead look as best they can; it’s the same with the content on a blog because that’s what readers are coming to engage and interact with.
Talking of interaction, this was another element I was keen to build into the new site. Readers now have improved category navigation with simple icons next to each post to signify which category it belongs to, as well as a playful ‘Paint the Internet bright’ feature that let’s readers easily share any picture to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I think this part of the site is one of my favourites because not only does it sit perfectly with the playful ethos that lies at the heart of blog (to inspire readers to bring more color into their homes and lives) but if fits with the trend for how readers like to engage with content by sharing their inspirations across their own social networks. There’s more information on the new design, right here: Take a Tour of Mr. Bazaar’s New Blog Design.
You’re the attending a lot more tradeshows and working as a freelance journalist for publications in Europe and North America — what titles are you working for and how has working for US publications changed your viewpoint?
Most of the publications I work for have a global audience — for example, both The Simple Things and Sweet Paul are magazines sold on newsstands on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as having digital versions. Essentially this means I approach my articles and product round ups for these titles in a different way than I would a title that has a more localised readership. It can sometimes be a challenge but if I’m ever struggling I remind myself of who the core or typical reader of that title would be to help focus the piece to give it that all important red thread.
What are your favorite British style influences?
I love that there’s an abundance of talented independent designers in Britain, like the furniture designer, James Harrison and interior accessories brand, Mini Moderns. Both of these companies started around the time of Bright.Bazaar so it’s great to see their work get more recognition as the years go on. I was lucky enough to be given an armchair designed by James when I turned 21 and I recently just bought one of his sofas for my apartment; it’s a lovely feeling to follow a designer’s work and see it filtering into your life in different ways as the years pass.
In addition to the blog’s changes, the tools used for blogging have evolved in the last year — is there a new tool, app or site that you’re especially excited about? What tools do you find the most helpful or most influential in changing how you work?
I really like how visuals have become such a central part of social media, seen through the popularity of networks like Instagram, Pinterest and now Vine. These are perfect social networks because they transcend boarders by bringing together and inspiring people from all over the world. I love that I can post an Instagram or pin to Pinterest knowing that there are no language barriers to prevent someone of engaging with that content. I’m really interested to see how Vine will shape video content for blogs and social media; video has been around for ages but they’ve managed to make it simple and easy for people to do themselves. I think there used to be a fear that videos were too technically difficult to do unless you were an expert — Vine has changed this and I think it could add really value to content as the platform evolves.
With so many successes, we want to know — what do you want to attempt next? Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do but continue to put off?
It’s funny because in our last Q&A I spoke of how I’d always wanted to write a book but hadn’t found the right fit with a publishing house at that point. Well, fast forward 14 months and I’m super excited to say that I’ve recently signed a worldwide publishing deal to release the first Bright.Bazaar interiors book in 2014. I’m both excited and nervous about the huge challenge that lies ahead, but I can’t wait to dive into the project and start learning more about book publishing. I’ve always written Bright.Bazaar so that it feels like my readers are right there with me soaking up all of my colorful design adventures, and I really hope the book will feel like this, too. With that in mind, I decided to make a video to announce the project to my readers so that they could join me in exploring London on the hunt for color and playful places to write.