In this age of content overload, where anyone and everyone posts their ideas online, it can be difficult to sort through everything to find high quality articles. When your feeds are dominated by headlines like “You Won’t Believe How Many Calories This Meal Is” and “Did Chelsea Clinton Copy Kate Middleton” (which, by the way, I just grabbed from a popular online news site), it can sometimes feel like journalism has given up.
Fortunately, not everyone’s focus is on creating click-baiting headlines luring you into sub-par and ad-filled content. Some people are striving to write things that you might actually benefit from reading. One of these people is Andy McMillan, publisher of The Manual – a design journal for the web.
This year, The Manual is doing things a little bit differently. Scratch that. Extremely differently. Instead of releasing The Manual as printed & copyrighted editions that require a subscription, they’re making everything freely available and asking readers to contribute whatever they can to help support the publication via their Kickstarter page.
Time will tell if the experiment will work, but backers have been steadily rolling in. This week, Hover stepped up to the plate and pledged £5000 to be a patron. We love great ideas and individuals that are passionate about bringing them to life, so it was a no-brainer for us. We strongly urge you to make whatever pledge you can towards making this experiment work, which you can do here. But you probably want to know a bit more about The Manual before you give away your hard-earned money, so here’s some more info for you:
What is The Manual?
The Manual is a design journal about the web, but not in the typical sense. When you hear ‘web design journal’ you might expect articles about Photoshop techniques or colour theory. What makes The Manual different is that it’s not so much about the how but rather the why of web design. Design connects people to the web, so examining both sides will help designers better understand this connection and create better, more meaningful work.
The topics covered in The Manual include: communication, family, history, language, learning, observation, people, profession, relationships, storytelling, travel & turning points. In short, the many different areas of our lives that define us and shape our views of the world. Even if you’re not a designer per se, design plays an important role in your life and so you can still learn a lot from the high-quality articles found in each issue.
Why You Should Make a Pledge
If you want a basic reason, The Manual is a great journal and you’ll enjoy reading it. But it’s so much more than that. The journal also represents what can happen when people band together to support something that is meaningful to them. It would be easy for Andy to include sponsored posts or fill every other page with ads, but that would compromise the excellence that readers have come to expect from the journal. As he explains, a crowd-funded business model “will allow us to build a sustainable, ad-free, independent publishing model based on the core tenants of what has brought our discipline to where it is today: generosity and the free sharing of ideas.”
By giving away content for free however people prefer to access it (it will now be offered online, as an eBook, and as an audiobook in addition to print), this is an experiment in whether people are willing to directly support the content that they love. That’s why Hover is backing The Manual, and we hope you will too.
Update: Congrats to The Manual for successfully reaching its goal!
*Photo courtesy of Moniker