We love the new Walker Art Center blog redesign, hot on the heels of their total site overhaul this past winter. Each of the Walker's nine blogs is assigned a unique flag, representing the different audiences each one serves.
A short excerpt from Emmet Byrne, Eric Price, and Paul Schmelzer on The Gradient, Walker's design blog:
It was an interesting exercise and allowed us to assess the state of our collective blogging efforts—how each of our (now) nine blogs serves a different audience, how they all have different use characteristics by their audiences, and how they could all be focused into tighter streams of content. The blogs definitely represent the long tail side of our publishing efforts—lots of small bits of specialized content for micro-niche audiences—so maintaining a strong emphasis on the personalities behind the Walker and their specific interests was key. And the rebranding process illustrated for us that when you present people with tangible criteria to change, such as a new name, tighter description, graphic—an understandable format to inhabit—it helps them better speculate on what their blog can be.
The idea of the long tail, first coined by Chris Anderson back in 2004, is still an exciting one. The gist is that in an exponential curve representing popularity vs. item, the area beneath the "unpopular" area of the curve (the long tail) is equal to the area captured by the "popular" side, so selling small batches to many niche markets has the potential to be just as successful a landing a megahit. He applied it to entertainment, the Walker Art Center applies it to publishing, can we apply it to everyday objects? Is this one way a small batch manufacturing brand like ours can survive with high-volume competitors like Target, CB2, and Ikea?