“ Main Website: singulardesign.co.uk / Developed to encourage new writers and photographers „
I came across this site via a friends recommendation on Facebook and have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. 1) Because it doesn't carry all that much in the way of advertising. 2) It seemed a little bit different and quirky to the sites that I normally visit. 3) It's actually a good idea. and 4) I like looking at pictures and reading stuff. Basically, as I understand it, Bench Marks (or Bench Marks by SingularDesign, to give it its full title), is a place where people can send in their photos or written work (new work, I believe) and have it/them viewed on the website. It doesn't make any charge for this, which is a bonus; but does ask politely for a link back to the site, although it's not requested or required. Submitters can have urls back to themselves or their websites, plus their names and titles of the work that they have submitted. The premise of the website, or at least this incarnation of it (it states that it is a fluid online publication and will develop purely through the submitted work that it receives) is how we care to be remembered, or would like to be remembered (which is where the bench marks come in). I found the articles and stories, both interesting and funny, and the photos (predominantly benches) are actually very well done and presented (and certainly not as boring, as I thought it might be). Has some nice little touches, whereby you click to open a story, or an article (space-saving, I think, but a nice touch.) I did have a problem finding everything though, the navigation is not especially clearly thought out - seemed a bit higgledy-piggledy (The Time, The Place, The Spot doesn't really explain what or whether you might be going to read something or look at something) - fortunately it's not a huge site, and you do get the hang of it; but there's room for improvement. Also, couldn't find a link to the newsletter - could be an oversight; it is a fairly new site. But it does have a link to a Facebook fan page. It also carries a donation button, which I didn't use - but, if I submitted work and had it accepted, then I might be inclined to do so. But there's no pressure, no demands and it's a very relaxing environment (odd thing to say, but that's how it feels), perhaps it's a colour thing. It's quite a small site at the moment, but I would expect it to grow quite quickly, once people start submitting their work, and I look forward to seeing how the website/periodical develops.