Design Milk: What's Fresh in Modern Design

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h1The designers and artists I feature and work with are my muses. They direct me where to go next.

Jaime Derringer, Design Milk

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Whether you're just cool-hunting or looking for what’s fresh in art and architecture, furniture and fashion, or interior design and technology, chances are you're a fan of Design Milk (and if you're not, what are you waiting for?). Jaime Derringer started Design Milk as a side project in 2006 when she was looking for a couch – and quickly discovered a passion and talent for spotting great design. Now she runs one of the best curated and well-respected modern design magazines on the Web. She's also part of the design channel on the SAY 100 and a SAY Media partner.

We caught up with Jaime to find out more about her muses, her personal style, and what she's coveting right now.

You're a curator for one of the most popular design sites on the Web - what's your filter for what makes a good design find? I go with my gut. It almost never fails me (although there are times - and readers sure let me know!). I especially love design that is created in unusual ways and blurs the line between design and art, such as Jólan van der Wiel's Gravity Stools or the Blast Stools by Guy Mishaly - anything that makes me look twice or think a little harder, go to the front of the line.

What are your influences and who are your muses? I never thought I'd be a blogger and when I started there weren't really too many "bloggers" out there. When I was little, I wanted to be an archaeologist and a creative writer. There was a point in time when I wanted to move to Japan and become an interpreter. I kind of floated around and fell into Design Milk. The only influences and muses I have are my family. My mom always taught me to be independent and think creatively so I think that always resonated, even when I was in school and working for one of the largest advertising firms in the world. Eventually that inside voice gets louder and louder until you need to give in. The designers and artists I feature and work with are my muses. They direct me where to go next.

What was your breakout post or series of posts that put you on the map? Actually, it wasn't specifically a post or series, it was when I quit my full-time job and took the plunge to full-time blogging. Once I started focusing 100 percent of my time on improving the blog and following my passion, I noticed an instant growth in readership. It just goes to show you that when you put all of yourself into something, people begin to notice.

Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swiss-Miss credits you with doing an amazing job of curating what's fresh. What's excites you right now in design, furniture, and art? Tina is doing amazing things, too! She is my hero. I think on a daily basis my answer to your question would change, but these days I am pretty interested in what's coming out of Israel… it just seems so experimental. I love Mexican design, UK student design, South Korean designers - there's a ton of great stuff happening now all over the world.

How about design and technology – what's fresh there? Technology is always changing, but the most recent impact that technology has had on design is the advent of 3D printing and rapid prototyping. The idea that 3D printers will soon be affordable and accessible to consumers will definitely change the industry, but it's already dramatically changed things on the designer side. I'm actually working on a great series talking about technology and design with faculty from various US design schools called "The Tools That Make It Happen." I also see companies creating more interactive design, like crowd-sourced design or customized options - where customers design their own products or customize existing products.

Give us taste or your personal style: What things are you coveting this season? I always seem to want things that either don't exist or aren't on trend this season! I want gigantic gold jewelry, sandals with thick ankle cuffs, flowy Stevie Nicks-style tunics, chunky black wedges, 3D-printed shoes, anything asymmetrical… I collect a lot of stuff on my personal Pinterest page. (Design Milk has a page, too.)

What were the coolest things you saw at High Point Market this year? I was surprised that High Point had so much to offer in terms of modern design. I fell in love with a sofa at Innovation that I'm posting soon. There was a very cool chair with an LED inside that you could control with a remote control, too. I also got a special tour of the Leif Petersen showroom, which was like an Italian design wonderland.

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You also have Dog-Milk, a site where dog meets design. Tell us how that started and how it's going … A few years ago, I found myself posting tons of designy dog items on Design Milk. At the time, I didn't have any kids so my dogs were my only babies, and I wondered if maybe there were other design lovers out there who also had dogs, who, like me, had difficulty finding cool dog stuff. Turns out there were, so I wanted to create a place for us. Dog Milk quickly became a place where design-saavy dog enthusiasts could gather and keep tabs on what's new for their four-legged fur babies.

Where do you go online for inspiration or eyecandy? Who are your soulmates in design? Sadly, I don't have time to read blogs anymore. I feel like the cobbler with hole-y shoes. I hang out on Pinterest a lot, but mostly for personal use and I spend tons of time on Twitter. As far as design soulmates are concerned, there are some people who I really feel I connect with and most are my friends - both online and off.

You have a new member of the Milk family (congrats!) - what's next?! Yes! It's been quite an adjustment at the Milk headquarters. If you think there's a new baby blog coming, you're going to be disappointed! I don't think there's a mommy blogger inside me trying to escape. However, I am contributing here and there to the home/design section of a new parenting website called Mom.me.

As far as what's next for Design Milk, there isn't anything huge lined up, but we're always experimenting. I'm very excited about a design subscription we just launched with Lost Crates that will feature designy goods hand-picked by me every month delivered to your doorstep. I am pretty sure the subscribers are going to be really surprised at some of the amazing things I have planned.

Follow Jaime on Twitter @jaimederringer and @designmilk.