is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Riffing on a post I wrote a year ago called “The Sad Story of Illustration on the Web,” the always-incisive Paul Carr writes in the recently launched Pando Daily that, just as illustration has suffered because of the Web, so too has the rich tradition of punning at news publications been in decline since the advent of blogging.
“Here in the blogosphere [there’s] little-to-no place for editorial cleverness in headlines. Search engine optimization of headlines and a relentless drive for clickthroughs means that headlines must either be absolutely directЁ…or infuriatingly opaque.”
While Subtraction.com is not a serious news source or a significant publication, Carr’s lament has been my experience here too. I used to really enjoy writing mildly clever headlines for my posts, making frequent and at least passable use of puns. I gave up on that a while back, though, realizing that it wasn’t doing me any good in terms of maximizing the reach of what I write. I changed over to the more direct approach with great reluctance; it felt a lot like giving up something meaningfully human in order to more efficiently appeal to the machines. But hey, they’re going to rule us one day soon anyway, so may as well make nice sooner rather than later. Read Paul’s full post here.+