Happy Holidays everyone! Hard to believe it’s nearly 2017… Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! It’s been a busy last few months for me here as I’ve been working on things for the future growth of the website I founded in 2012. And I’ve come to a decision. I’m launching Form Trends Premium Membership.
I’ve been writing exclusively about car design since 2006, when I was still a student at university. Over the last decade, I’ve written numerous articles, built companies, and watched thousands of designers graduate and get jobs in-house at large OEMs, start work at design firms, or become design consultants. As a professional journalist, I’ve always stuck to the car design beat out of love for the subject matter and the industry. But it hasn’t always been easy.
As a journalist I pride myself in delivering interesting, factual content to readers and viewers and, since 2012, I’ve been earning my living as a freelancer. The problem is, there are far too few outlets that understand car design, let alone enough willing to commission me to write about it. That’s part of the reason I started my own site, where I can write about all of the details and share the conversations I have with automotive form and trend shapers. And I love doing it.
Some of you may have seen and read that the media landscape is evolving. It’s doing so at a rate that’s on par if not exceeding the rate of change taking place in the car design world. An increasing number of people are sharing news stories online (be they real or fake) and new exploitative platforms are being created. Because of this, editorial budgets at reputable outlets are being squeezed; properly written, researched and presented articles created by professional journalists and photographers are being devalued; and overall quality is taking a dive.
First of all, I’m all for increasing competition, be it online or in print. Seeing something that is done well makes you naturally want to excel and become better at what you do. But that’s only true when the playing field is level. I’m not independently wealthy and I don’t live at home with my parents. Like many, I have responsibilities and bills to pay. Much as I love what I do, working for free is not a sustainable business model.
For nearly five years I’ve been writing in-depth design reviews, publishing exclusive interviews, shooting unique videos and posting photo galleries on this website. All of what I write is original content. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time and effort, and I don’t earn any income from what I publish here. I don’t have a sales team peddling advertisements, I don’t sell £2500 seats to design conferences, and my subscriber and view count is far too low to earn anything from YouTube.
What I do have are thousands of awesome articles published on this website and (what I consider to be) interesting content on the numerous social sites I add content to daily. And because I finance all of my travels to auto shows and college degree shows myself, I’m also independent and impartial – I can write what I like, which is a very good thing for you!
So after much internal deliberation I’ve decided to make certain elements of Form Trends only accessible to paying subscribers. I’m not asking for the moon, just a small donation to help pay my bills so I can continue doing what I do. Not all of what I publish will be members only, but if it takes more than an hour of my time to put together then I’ll have to make these articles reflect my efforts.
I hope you can appreciate that this was a very difficult decision for me to make; I’ve always wanted to create a platform that could be accessed by everyone, worldwide. My decision to go against the grain and buck the free content trend wasn’t taken lightly, but rest assured, I guarantee that the exclusive design stories, interviews, videos and photo galleries I’ve got coming will be worth it!
I hope you’ve found what I’ve been working on interesting, inspiring and educational so far. That’s the goal after all. Now all I need now is a little financial assistance to continue producing great content. The best part is, you’ll reap the benefits!
So as the year draws to a close, I hope you’ll decide to give yourself (or ask your company to gift you) the gift that keeps on giving: Subscribe to Form Trends and let’s soldier on into the New Year and beyond!
Wishing you all a very happy holiday season and best wishes for a joyous and prosperous 2017!