Confirmation Bias, Motionographer and You

This is the first in a series of video essays tentatively entitled Render Break. Thanks for checking it out!


Recently, motion designer extraordinaire Peter Quinn made a guest post on Motionographer rounding up his 11 favorite reels from his popular channel, Shit Showreels Say.

The post quickly racked up over 100 comments that touched on topics including curation, community development, diversity and business practices. It was great to see such an impassioned discussion on Motionographer.

My bad (kind of?)

As editor, I should own up to a mistake I made. I entitled the post “11 of the best showreels from 2015.” That was not wise. Maybe I should have used “Peter Quinn’s 2015 reel roundup” or “11 reels that are really good according to one person.”

But I mistakenly assumed that these titles were either self-evident or covered by my introduction to the article.

That mistake aside, I did want to address a couple of the reader comments made on Peter’s post. The sentiment behind these comments has popped up from time to time over the 10 years of Motionographer’s history.

An anonymous user (“antoine”) wrote:

Theres definitely a place out there [for] the styles in these reels, but those styles are too overrepresented by the industry, by schools, and by blogs like Motionographer, we need to get some fresh air in this here game.

And another anonymous user (“ConcernedAnimator”) wrote:

Yes, nobody but we ourselves should be the ones to blame for breaking or not the norm within our own works, but as the go-to place for motion graphics, Motionographer should be always trying to push things further.

The implication of these comments is that Motionographer is only sharing a narrow selection of work and just reinforcing the “status quo” — whatever that might be.

These comments are a perfect opportunity to discuss a fascinating quirk of human perception called “confirmation bias.” But before we talk about that, I need to do address the comments themselves first.

A quick look at some numbers

Okay, let’s do a quick inventory. Don’t worry, this will be more fun than it sounds.

Here are the 10 most visited pages on Motionographer since the Inspiration page was launched in April of 2015:

traffic2

There’s only 1 page in the top 10 that isn’t a variation on the homepage or the Inspiration page. (Hint: it’s the last one in the list). In other words, most people experience Motionographer as a grid-like listing of a bunch of projects and articles.

Let’s break down the homepage in terms of styles represented or topics covered:

Annotated screenshot of homepage taking Feb. 2, 2016

Annotated screenshot of homepage taking Feb. 2, 2016

A: Vector style animation: 5
B: Stop-motion: 1
C: Industry focus: 3
D: Author interview: 2
E: Visual effects: 3
F: Virtual reality: 3
G: Photoreal/high-end CG: 3
H: Hand-drawn or traditional animation: 5
Z: Not applicable/excluded: 1

Motionographer’s Inspiration page is updated every day — sometimes multiple times a day. More than any other page on the site, it represents what we’re currently watching (and liking). So let’s break that down, too:

Annotated screenshot of Inspiration page taken Feb. 4, 2016

Annotated screenshot of Inspiration page taken Feb. 4, 2016

A: Vector style animation: 3
B: Stop-motion: 2
C: Industry-focus: 0
D: Author interview: 0
E: Visual effects: 4
F: Virtual reality: 0
G: Photoreal/high-end CG: 3
H: Hand-drawn or traditional animation: 5
I: Typographic focus: 3

We could keep going and do a breakdown for all of our top trafficked pages, but we’ll stop here.

Side note: The traffic is actually irrelevant. If Motionographer is being criticized for what we share, then we should be measured by what’s on the site, regardless of how many times a page is visited. Still, traffic feels like a decent way to filter things.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Taking the homepage and Inspiration page together, here’s a rough breakdown:

Combined breakdown of Homepage and Inspiration pages

Combined breakdown of Homepage and Inspiration pages

Even if you disagree with some of the categorizations, the point is clear. Motionographer isn’t pushing an agenda. We share a wide variety of work created with a wide variety of techniques.

There’s weird, abstract CG stuff right next to hand-drawn animation right next to live action-based VFX work. We even include some coverage of emerging tech, like virtual reality and real-time graphics.

So what’s going on, then?

Where are some people getting this idea that Motionographer is somehow not posting a variety of work — an idea, by the way, that we just established is not based in reality?

Okay, enter “confirmation bias.” (Well, not “enter,” since I mentioned it at the beginning of this whole thing, and it’s been sitting patiently in the corner ever since, waiting to be called on.)

First, let’s define confirmation bias. I really can’t do better than David McRaney of the excellent website, You Are Not So Smart:

The Misconception: Your opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis.

The Truth: Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions.

If that’s not bookish enough for you, here’s a scholarly explanation from Dr. Raymond S. Nickerson of Tufts University:

People tend to seek information that they consider supportive of favored hypotheses or existing beliefs and to interpret information in ways that are partial to those hypotheses or beliefs. (source)

To put it as simply as possible:

Confirmation bias means you see what you want to see — and you don’t see much else.

Okay, so… why?

All this begs the question: Assuming many readers of Motionographer are suffering from confirmation bias (without knowing it), why? Why would they seek out “evidence” of their prior beliefs.

I’m not entirely sure. I have a theory, though, that I’ve developed over the last 10 years of running Motionographer. It’s kinda ugly, but here it is:

The sour grapes theory

I believe that the primary reason might be referred to as “sour grapes.”

Look, Motionographer has a reputation for being difficult to get onto. We call it having a point of view. After all, posting every project we come across would make us just another noisy firehose of content, and we really don’t want that.

So by its nature, Motionographer is exclusionary. There, I said it. Not everyone can be on here.

But that’s also true of any random Tumblr blog or Facebook page. It’s just the nature of publishing on any platform. We just happen to have a sizable audience. And that audience has stuck with us because of the specific way that we’re picky.

This exclusionary status breeds a kind of suspicious resentment in some people. And they probably feel wronged somehow. Or left out. Or angry.

If only there was a way to prove that Motionographer is just an echo chamber for a tiny group of people and/or trends, then everyone would see what a sham it all it is!

And that, folks, is how confirmation bias is born. On Motionographer. According to me.

Motionographer isn’t immune to confirmation bias

Of course, we’re not immune to confirmation bias either. It’s unavoidable, hard-wired into the human psyche. We can’t escape it.

On the whole, however, I truly believe we are a resource that is genuinely trying to present an inclusive point of view, one that dashes in enough fringe or avant garde work to keep things interesting but not so much that we disenfranchise our readers or completely lose our focus.

I also believe we could be so much better. I quit my dream job (no really, it was amazing) at Psyop after three years so I could pursue Motionographer full-time. It’s been about a year since then, and I can tell you, we’re just getting started.

The next phase will be more “by the people, for the people.”

How great it’s going to be will be largely up to you. We’ll have more on that soon. :)

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About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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  • Simon Reid

    Careful – You may get some haters hatin’ – The sounds goes out of sync at 3:00. Good post though! I have always thought your postings have been quite varied.

    • Thanks for the note, Simon! Seems to be a weird Vimeo quirk. Trying to fix it now!

    • Okay, just re-uploaded the video. It’s fixed (for me). Hopefully, you’re seeing the fixed version, too.

      • Simon Reid

        Looks great now!

  • Magnus

    I think we can all appreciate the fact that Motionographer (Justin Cone) cares enough about its viewers to take the time to respond to its viewers concerns. Obviously, yes Motionographer is a platform like any other blog that represents the views, likes, and inspirations of a select few. Rather then find it unfortunate that the “industry” perpetuates certain trends and styles of motion graphics, I find it more unfortunate that there aren’t that many other blogs that skew more towards other styles of animation, and can do what Motionographer does with such professionalism and attention to detail. I think we’ve all come across some animation somewhere on the web that is so next level, that we’ve been surprised that Motionographer hasn’t picked it up. However, there are sources, and blogs, and portfolios, and Tumblrs where one can find work that Motionographer doesn’t cover that will suit everyones tastes. It just takes a little more work then typing in Motionographer.com into your web browser. Personally, I’ve found it beneficial for myself to avoid following Motionographer religiously (no offense to Motionographer, I still love you) in order to create work that feels different and comes inspired by other sources, and I would recommend that to anybody whose end goal is to set trends and to not just follow them.

    • Thank you, Magnus! Fantastic comment. And I’m all for not following any one source too religiously — or relying on the internet in general as a primary source of inspiration.

  • Joe Lopez III

    I really appreciate Motionographer taking the time to address the community as an equal and friend rather than ignoring the comments on their pages. Now I will head on over to the Inspiration page for the first time ever.

    • Thank you, Joe!

      Oh, and the Inspiration page will soon be overhauled. We’ve learned a lot from its beta period. :)

  • There is a common misconception in any “scientific” method that if you use a quantified approach (as you are using by showcasing your stats) you are unbiased. There has been enough writing and debunking of this conception over the years to comfortably say that numbers themselves are in fact the representation of the “confirmation bias” you describe.

    What your numbers or even the “classification” method you picked don’t show, is that there are tons of different types of “vector animation”. A category like “visual effects” is so broad that it is in fact completely meaningless. So to say that you show “visual effects” work as well as “author interviews” is in fact the equivalent of saying “here is a sub selection of works that I have picked based on my taste within this wide range of categories (categories which, by the way, are somewhat loose)”.

    My feeling is that the reason why people see Motionographer as having a narrow focus (and the reason why you posted such a long defense of your editorial position) is that, purely and simply, that is what people perceive. That is enough to make it true, because what else is true? Using some kind of metric to debunk people’s perceptions is a statistician’s game. Numbers don’t prove anything, it is their interpretation that does.

    To say that people are upset at Motionographer because you decided not to show their work is very possible, but is not the entire truth. You are at the confluence of a certain amount of industry trends, a certain group of motion designers that you know and like, and you have a mouthpiece that allows you to push forward the things you think are interesting. That should be enough of a justification for your (biased) choices. If people don’t agree with you, let them. They have their own biases.
    But you can’t just blow back and say that they are wrong, they are right. You are right too.

    Motionographer is a filter. I personally don’t have the same filter as you, and I personally find your filter to be repetitive and favoring too much of the same common ground of motion graphics that makes us drown in the similar styles of animation over and over again. One thing you don’t discuss here is that you have a great power of influence over younger generations of motion designers who have no idea what their “style” is. Or over a range of clueless “clients” who look at motionographer to find out “what’s hot” and what people are doing. That is what causes the copycats to abound.

    But all this doesn’t diminish the fact that you have done an awesome job at creating a thriving community of people who are engaged in this type of work and who come back for more.

    If that wasn’t the case, these types of conversations wouldn’t happen. And it is a good thing they do.

    • Very well reasoned post, sir! Thanks for taking the time to write it.

      I agree wholeheartedly with the upshot of your comment: Motionographer is a filter, plain and simple. I say that in the video, and I also point out that we’re not immune to confirmation bias. So we agree perhaps a little more than you allow in your comment. ;)

      And I’m definitely not pretending to be scientific or even accurate with my breakdowns. As I said in the video, I’m just trying to show that we post a variety of stuff — a wider variety than we are sometimes given credit for. Rough approximations and loose categorizations are fine for making this point.

      Lastly, when discussing the Sour Grapes Theory, I’m careful to say that it only applies to *some* people, not everyone. I also couch it as a pretty casual observation.

    • liliandarmono

      As a contributor as well as long term observer and practitioner in this field, I love your response. Bang on.

      • There’s no doubt that Motionographer shares trendy work. We have an obligation to do so, in my opinion — as long as we don’t go hog wild and *only* share that work.

        Sharing work that’s “on trend” acknowledges what’s going on out there in the real world, while also serving to exhaust a particular trend. Also: just because a project employs a trendy aesthetic doesn’t mean it has zero value and shouldn’t be celebrated or discussed.

        The point of my post is that while we do share trendy work, we share a *wider variety* of work than we are *sometimes* given credit for. That variety goes unnoticed, I believe, because people over-emphasize (to themselves) the trendy work. This makes sense, given that they’ve been psychologically primed to “see” this work. After all, it’s already popping up on their Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook feeds — well before we share it on Motionographer. Truth be told, we’re often a bit late to the party.

        • liliandarmono

          Yes I can attest to this too. As my editor Justin has proven to be very open and encouraging of our diverse tastes. In general if we see something we like, and we are prepared to stand behind it, we get to post it. Bear in mind that we are all volunteers though, so like Justin said, being late to the party is quite common. On the other hand, as a contributor I have copped some flak from readers who say what I post isn’t of a ‘good standard’ (which to me reads : it’s not trendy enough). Which is the opposite end of the spectrum in this debate. At the end of the day this is still a highly subjective exercise, and as much as we want to please everyone, we can’t :)

    • I agree totally with this response. I think the break down of broad categories is deceptive because it ignores the subsets within those categories. This is where the feeling of bias people are responding to probably sits. If you show 18% vector animation and it all looks the same, you are biased towards a trend.
      There isn’t a simple solution though. Trends represent the work of a particular time and they sit in the context of what came before it. The work on the edge of the field probably wont feel as relevant to most people because its responding to small subset of ideas. This is where the art of curation comes into its own. How far do you push your readers before they stop caring about what you’re showing? It’s clear that Justin is taking this seriously, and I think this is why Motionograper will continue to be centre point for the community.

  • Dominique Elliott

    Personally I’m very grateful for Motionographer as one of the many resources I use in my teaching. (There are interesting essays about what psychologists refer to “deindividuation,” the phenomenon that results from anonymous online postings. You might find them of interest Justin.)

    • I should definitely look into deindividuation, as I’ve experienced its negative effects for long enough. ;) This new comment system is helping, though.

      Thank you, Dom!

  • I really appreciate you breaking this down, and for how you continue to amazingly curate this site. Motionographer is truly one of a kind and has refused to go stale after so many years.
    That being said, I had kind of hoped there would be motion graphics in that video. :D

    • ” I had kind of hoped there would be motion graphics in that video.”

      Me, too! Ha! Making these videos takes so much time. A ridiculous amount.

      Future videos will focus more on the work of others, though; you can be sure they’ll be plenty of motion graphics to go around. ;)

  • Lorcan O’Shanahan

    Hey Justin!

    Recently, Ive found my work output in both personal & professional fronts has taken a slump as self study into all areas of study incl. cognitive sciences, physics, and architecture has reigned king. people who may know my work would be able to tell you how inactive ive been this last year. So, i’m very excited to see more topics and conversations like this being brought into this realm of discussion and an industry mostly composed of above average intelligence in both emotional and intellectual categories. We have a lot to learn from each other and the work we put in front of one another.

    I believe that our perception of the world around us is slave to our physical biology, free will you say? honestly i can barely find rational for that to even exist anymore. This sometimes sparks fear in people when i talk about it, sometimes defences go up and the conversation usually takes a turn to anger or dismissal… But I personally see it as a massive opportunity, I feel that knowledge burning under my ass and giving me the power to change who i thought i was and couldn’t help, especially in those areas I felt I was lacking in…

    Neuroplasticity is also another reason to believe that absence of free will should be an empowering thought to dance with . Often I hear/read that “finding motivation to do things in life is for the weak” and that a professional doesn’t need motivation, they just get and fucking do their job. but the truth is, motivation still means there is resistance toward what you are pushing for, and that’s not much better than not doing it… But we have to power to fundamentally change who we see in the mirror, and turn into the person we want to be.

    All we need is to ask the right questions to ourselves and become aware of patterns and the geometry of our thought processes to be able to snap out of them. i loved this analogy from Norman Doidge about how when a sled goes down a snowy hill at first, there is no specific route down, but the more and more you go down that same hill, a track will form making it harder and harder to break out of if and take a different route.

    My point is Justin, with what you mention here about bias, its a blindness to this track we are on, and as we race down the same one over and over, the snow on either side starts to block our view of what other tracks there may be.

  • Jeremy Stuart

    This post is definitely a good metric of how much Justin cares, but it feels like maybe too much weight has been given to criticism. It’s probably good to at least consider the feedback, but often the loudest voices are the least important. AKA “haters gonna hate”. Trolls gonna troll?…

    Because of the endurance and prolific nature of this site, its tastes have more influence than most, BUT I don’t believe that puts some greater responsibility on it. It’s still a very small operation which represents the interests of a small group. And thats fine! All good focused publications have that. Trying to please everyone just results in dilution. It can’t be for everyone, and shouldn’t.

    The cost of entry for a blog is virtually nothing. If people feel under represented, or feel a voice is missing, then their time would likely be well spent putting it out there. It’s at least more productive than filling up a comments section with frustrations.

    • Great points, Jeremy! I need to read your comment to myself once a week as a reminder. Thank you!

  • Andrew Bird

    Awesome! Motionographer is one of a few inspiration sources for me! When i’m feeling lazy, it’s my main one (and Prologue of course!). Confirmation bias is also something I am super excited about studying (in Psych) but it’s a major sign of lazy and un-explorative thinking. Those people need a half cooked prawn mysteriously left in their shoe. Yuss!

    Thanks Mographer… see you in the morning!

  • James Price

    I can vouch for the fact that Motionographer is hard to get work onto. When it was Tween (yes, I’m that old) Justin posted a fair bit of my work when I first moved to New York and started at Transistor. Over time the site grew to be really big and I found myself enjoying Motionographer less and less. But looking back on it now I reckon it was because I fell out of love with motion graphics (this is a whole other topic about making your passion your career, which we don’t have time for).

    In the last couple of years as I’ve stepped away from the motion industry I’ve found myself really liking the stuff that’s posted on here. I think when you focus too hard on any one thing you can drown in it, and all you see is its problems. Creative minds need to be particularly wary of this. It’s also worth remembering that creatively you get paid for your taste – but it’s a skill that you can use for good (making cool things) and evil (being particularly critical and cynical).

    So take it all for what it’s worth folks. It’s cool that people curate stuff you might like for free!. If you don’t like it don’t complain, make something better, or find something new that makes you happy.

    Thanks Justin and crew. Keep doing your thing :)

    • James! So good to see you here. Thanks for chiming in.

      Confession time: I’ve fallen in and out of love with Motionographer myself. If not for my partner (Carlos El Asmar, the invisible force behind Motionographer and F5), the site would have been shut down numerous times.

      Over time, I’ve learned to keep things in balance, always working on something that wasn’t *just* motion design. It’s a little counterintuitive, but as you say, it’s key to actually finding the joy in this stuff.

      Thanks again!

  • We appreciate all the hard work you put into Motionographer. Really cool you took the time to address this! I’ll be reading even if haters are hating.

  • Thomas Schmid

    thanks for this well thought out discussion justin. I agree with a lot of what you said. as for the root of sour grapes, having worked at the same studio for over a decade, i see a lot of this energy pop up myself.

    For me, an elephant in the room that no one likes to admit or discuss openly, is that a studio lives or dies based on profit, and profit is very related to relationships with clients. The clients in my field are mostly ad agencies, and more often than not, have creative directors that read motionographer every day. They themselves have preconceived notions and desires of what realm they want the spot to fit in. This leaves plenty of room for studios like us to shape and carve our own style into it (especially if they are coming to studio X for their X style), but that typically drives a lot of what people call “oh that style is one of those, a vector, stop mo, bla bla bla”. Occasionally opportunities arise where the client is trusting in an idea that has never ever been attempted before, or a visual medium that’s explicitly against the norm. But, i’d say that’s rare and those opportunities are best left up to spec work unless you’re willing to turn business away. Spec jobs are often where animation studios find their best work, and also find it the hardest to do, because it ties up resources and money.

    SOOOOOO, all i’m trying to say here is that we are all conscious of style influence, and being fans of others work, but blaming the industry on repeat styles and mediums is being a little blind to the client process and also to achieving jobs in an increasingly difficult timeline and budget.

    Ok, that’s my schpeil. thanks for bringing these topics to the forum justin.
    one love
    t

    • Thank you so much for introducing the client aspect of all this, Thomas. As an industry that is fueled by commercial work (either directly or indirectly), we can’t ignore the role that clients play.

      In future videos, I hope to touch on the pressures (good and bad) that client work can create in both individual designers and studios. I might come knockin’ on your door for some input, if you’re game…

      • Thomas Schmid

        totally! it was kind of a an obvious point so i’m conflicted on whether it was worth pointing out, but certainly a dominant force in our decision making. i’d love to open this up for discussion with you.

    • Joshua Harvey

      I’m with you 100% Thomas, my first reaction was to point out the box that most work is born from. Client process or the “confirmation bias” of how the client decides what they want/trust. Trends sell and it’s very difficult to sell an idea unless you’ve somehow proven the success before creating it. Which I feel is counter-intuitive to the whole process of exploration.

      Ultimately trends are broken by a surprising piece out of no where that re configures old mechanics, they’re never really THAT new. Everyone loves to see something new, which is why they become breakout spots. Motionographer, also, is where a lot of people seem to go looking for that thrill. With that, I also want to add that Motionographer isn’t responsible for when those trend breaking spots happen – or for manipulating where it all goes. As industry journalists their only responsibility is reporting what they think is relevant.

      If you’ve seen work out there that you feel is ground breaking or under-represented, submit it, I’d love to see it too, or start a competing site. Motionographer has added a respect to and has legitimatized the artists of our industry. I could be wrong, cause I just got into the game as Motionographer was born out of tween, but we didn’t have that kind of voice before Motionographer. I love the direction that this community is going and the conversations that Justin brings to the table. So this is my personal thank you.

      Basically, the faults of the world are there for you to solve, not complain about. Get out there tiger.

      End rant – haters start hating

  • keep on doing what you’re doing.

  • Dave Glanz

    Thanks Justin – and it’s great to hear that you’re devoted to Motionographer full-time now. Very curious to see where this goes.

  • Steve

    Confirmotion bias?

  • Joseph Francis

    Could also be that people like some categories more than others and when they see what they like they take it for granted that it should be there, and when they see other types of work they think, “oh, not more of that crap,” without feeling that they, themselves, are being excluded.

  • ZOO

    I had no idea about the inspiration page, game changer. Thanks!

  • Very insightful – I didn’t realize people were so suspicious, seems very strange. Very excited to see what you have in store for us ?

  • Nuno Mendes

    You know what i think? You really must be a nice person. Taking the time, effort and positive energy to make such a reply. Keep it coming, please :)

  • James Grean

    First, this series is something I’ll definitely watch, it’s a great idea.
    One thing no one else has touched on was the anonymity call. I appreciate what you’re trying to say here, let’s all be friendly and sign our work. But sometimes a contrary opinion on the internet is cause for harassment of one kind or another, whether that’s namecalling at the lowest level or being excluded from industry stuff at the higher level, because of that one time that you disagreed that whoever was so great or that a things wasn’t, now no one will collaborate with “that sour grapes dude”. And so sometimes you just want to say what you think without worrying about being ganged up on by all the super-positive-so-positive-it-hurts motion fanboys out there. There is tremendous pressure to be positive at all times in this community and I don’t think that’s healthy 100% of the time. The pressure to be back slapping and positive is crushing sometimes, absolutely crushing. Isn’t that what “Inside Out” was all about?
    So we can’t post anonymously anymore. Ok. But I think that could in some ways limit discussion as the fear of being tainted with the negative brush forever is very very real fear in this industry. Even to the point where you might not be “hating”, just disagreeing. But on the showreels comments, there was a huge backlash against those that dared disagree, despite efforts to logically and clearly explain why they disagreed. Heck I’m afraid of the backlash to what I’m saying now.
    Personally I’ve love to see this idea explored in a future render break. Can we have legitimate discussion of the industry if we’re all too afraid to say certain things? Sometimes we need tough love. Sometimes the truth hurts (subjective though it may be). Sometimes someone has to raise the idea (even if it turns out to be wrong) that maybe, just maybe, something could be improved. Isn’t that worth considering for a moment, rather than just being written off as “hating”? Hate is a pretty strong word, and I don’t think we really truly hate anything about motion or the industry. But we do all have frustrations. Expressing those should be okay, within reason.
    I’ll read up on deindividuation myself so I can talk about this with at least some knowledge rather than the instinct I am going on now. I have seen blogs with anon comments degenerate into the worst pits of despair, and I’ve seen others that promoted pretty interesting discussion. Partly comes down to the maturity of the demographic? And sometimes I wonder about the maturity levels overall of the motion industry.

  • jeffbriant

    Well said. Always nice to have a hub to come and push me through a block, or stressful day.

  • I don’t see it’s necessary to highlight the mix of work, if anything it just makes me feel you’re diluting the quality, quality of work over anything else that’s why I come here. If one week there were no stand out pieces of hand drawn work would you just post a 5/10 to keep the hand drawn updates ticking over?

    I’m always interested as well with blogs such as yours whether you’re swayed by external factors. Would you avoid posting too many Staff Picks as it’s likely your audience has already seen it?
    Or if it was posted on another design blog before yours would you be less likely to post it?
    Or say a piece of work went under the radar and you didn’t pick up on it for a year would you be embarrassed to publish it late?

    People have sour grapes because being featured on here or Staff Picked is almost an industry ‘award’ I’ve worked with studios who spend £0 on old fashioned marketing and invest everything into studio projects to get features, staff picks etc…. I guess the worry then is are studios just improving on what they see as being ‘in’ on here (guilty as charged) because they want to make something you approve of rather than risk creating something completely different (and possibly ground-breaking).