Blogger Spotlight: Interview with Erin Loechner from “Design For Mankind”


Erin Loechner runs a popular design blog called Design For Mankind full of pretty things from fashion to graphic design and art. I asked her if she’d share some of her blogging wisdom with What Women Make and give us a glimpse into what she does on a day to day basis. What Women Make regularly features women in creative fields, whether they be bloggersdesigners, print journalists, thinkers, journalist/curators, photographers, publishers/entrepreneurs, novelists, and so on – and we always ask them to name some of their favorite creative women which I turn into a slideshow. See above for Erin’s picks.

I encourage you to add your two cents below.

Now for the interview:

How did you start Design For Mankind?

I was thrown into an art director role at a job that I was highly under-qualified for. Like most things in my life, I researched and studied night after night until I felt confident that I could deliver in this new role. I learned so much during that time and looked to the Internet for tips/advice/inspiration. As a long-time blogger (I’ve kept a personal blog since 2001), it only seemed natural to share my experiences and finds with the Internet. Thus, Design for Mankind was born.

What’s a day in the life for you? Do you have a routine? If so, what do you first do when you wake up?

My days are pretty mundane, really. I wake up, head straight for my french press and let the dogs out. We usually roam the yard for a few minutes and then I come inside and get to work in my sunny office. I don’t generally set an alarm; the day begins whenever my body tells me it’s time.
Is there a part of the day where you just won’t let yourself be online? A part of the week? How do you keep a balance?

Oh, there are many parts of the day where I ditch the computer. I used to be much more rigid about being online all day every day, and now I’m rarely online during the weekends or evenings. I’m pretty in tune with myself so it’s easy for me to know when I’ve had enough. I find that when I start mindlessly surfing as a form of procrastination, I do better when I turn off the computer and clear my head with some good old-fashioned Murder She Wrote. (I’m way into old TV these days!)

Let’s say you start with a good eye (which you do), what’s the magical secret to having a successful blog?

Knowing that there’s no magical secret. Every blog is different because it’s an extension of someone’s personality. I enjoy most when blogs grow organically and casually.  When a writer is true to themselves and their vision despite what might be web-savvy or business-minded.
Do you have a strategy for DFM or do you just blog what you like?

Nope, no strategy! My rules for myself are (a) anything I post must elicit some sort of reaction, and (b) it must come from an authentic place. Whether that’s a leather bison belt or a lovely watercolor… I suppose that’s for my soul to decide.

I see you lived in L.A. and then you moved to the Midwest. Where do you live nowadays?

Fort Wayne, Indiana. I love it here!

Is it hard to keep up with innovation and design from Fort Wayne? 

You know, the Internet is a wonderful thing. This job can be isolating and it’s certainly not the design epicenter of the universe, so it’s important that I can look outside of my zip code to glean inspiration elsewhere.
So how do you find the things you blog?

Mostly online. I am often seen jumping down the rabbit holes of blogs and artist sites. I rarely use Tumblr or Pinterest as a source for locating new finds because they’re rarely properly credited and I’m a stickler for online etiquette.
Do you travel a lot?

A fair amount, yes. This year has been killer with traveling, so my new rule is no more than 24 trips in one year.
Do you get sponsored to travel?

Not generally, no. I’ve never been sponsored to travel leisurely, but am often paid to fly out and speak on a panel or present a lecture.
Do people come to you for advice often? If so, what kind of people and what kind of questions do you get?

Oh, very much, yes. They run the gamut. Just yesterday I had a 12 year old email me to ask if she should take pottery or drawing next semester! I have no idea how to answer those questions, as I’m not an artist and have never taken a proper art or design course. Most often, I receive business-related advice and I always, always answer. I think it’s important to give back to an industry that’s given me so much.

You host creativity workshops. What’s a creativity workshop with you like?

Equal parts hard business advice and soft inspiration. I like to keep things conversational so there is a large element of discussion and brainstorming involved.
Who needs a creativity workshop?

Oh gosh, everyone. Anyone needing a jumpstart in life, and I’ve noticed that so many clients I work with are dealing with roadblocks that aren’t even business related. Confidence is a huge one. Attending a workshop is one of the first steps to gaining confidence — you start to invest in yourself, and that return on investment comes back in the form of self-confidence. I see it daily.
Whats next for DFM?

Big things, I’m sure. I never really know what’s in store for me.
Do you think you’ll close up shop and do something different?  If so, what?

I highly doubt it, but I suppose if I had to choose a different career, I’d love to be an author, professor, shop owner, stylist or interior designer / artist. Preferably all of the above.

Who is one of your favorite female creatives of all time:

Miranda July

(from me: and if you don’t know who Miranda July is, run, don’t walk to your netflix account and download her movie, then run don’t walk to the bookstore or go online and buy her book of short stories No One Belongs Here More Than You and then go check out her art book project. She is one of my all time favorites as well.)
You seem to be really into color. What’s your favorite color (the RGB if possible) these days?

Yellow has always been my favorite. It’s the color of sunshine, as trite as that sounds. (The RGB she gave is 255-255-0 which is used for the home image)

Not at all trite. Thanks Erin! And thanks for offering us a list of some of your favorite female designers and artists. They can be seen in the little slideshow I made above.


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