Monday, May 13, 2013

Pinterest crazy

Lately I've been spending a lot of time revamping my brand, coming up with an identity that suits my style and the type of clients that I am trying to attract.  My logo has gotten a makeover and I am working on updating my portfolio with photos of more recently completed projects to help bring my website into the next decade (it hasn't been updated since 2009).  

I've also been pinning.  Pinning like crazy.  For those of you not familiar with Pinterest, Wikipedia defines it as pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, 're-pin' images to their own pinboards, or 'like' photos.  It's also the third largest social network in the US.

Last year when I started my account, I was convinced that I didn't want to use images that weren't mine.  When looking at random boards, it all just seemed like recycled content to me, and I felt that pulling ideas from others would take away from my authenticity.  There is a big debate in my industry about the use of imagery, protecting your images and whether or not using others' imagery, without credit, is ethical.  I didn't want to be one of those people who crossed the line, so instead, I looked at it as a tool for work, a mood board of sorts.  I kept trying to create presentation boards for clients, pinning ideas of products (mostly from catalog), imagery of inspiration (like a destination), and ideas for fabrics and wall coverings.  I had boards labeled by the job and tried to get my clients to add their ideas to the mix.  It didn't work very well out of context, and I found it easier to just walk my clients through the material in person.  

After a few months of laying dormant, I decided to give it another try and started to use Pinterest as a search engine for visual concepts.  Similar to HOUZZ, you can search for general topics or specific products - Design, Architecture, Outdoor Fireplaces, English Arm Sofas, Persian Rugs - though Pinterest definitely wins on the detailed scope - vintage Hermes, striped painted flooring, metallic herringbone wallpaper, Persian turquoise rings, etc.  And, aside from searching their huge database of imagery (remember #3 in social networking), you can also pin images from outside sources, such as websites, your own personal files, friends' photo books, Facebook, and so on.  I found that I started pinning from everywhere and every site that I found something interesting to pin from.  I also found that when searching on Pinterest for certain items, I came across other interesting pinners; interesting people who had similar interests to me.  I also started reading their blogs - and those who's pins they pinned from...  And soon enough, I realized that my boards were starting to become my own personal idea book; only instead of ripping out pages of design/fashion magazines and putting them into an idea book, I was pinning them and actually categorizing why I liked them.  And, and funny enough, after looking at my nearly 2000 pins-to-date, I'm realizing that my boards are beginning to support my brand.  They have become a collage that not only supports my design aesthetic, but a tool that helps my clients, potential clients (or the network) see what I mean when I'm talking about layering stripes.

So in the end, I have become addicted to Pinterest, and though I will never give up my hard copy design mags, my idea books have gone digital.  


  1. Thanks, you guys that is a great explanation. keep up the good work..

    granite countertops edmonton

  2. Elizabeth,
    I too struggle with the use of images that belong to photographers, other bloggers, designers, based on the controversy over copyright ethics AND totally agree that there are a lot of recycled images out there. I remember reading a post by Grace Bonney suggesting that if you credit whenever you can, even if you see images on other pinners' boards, where you know the source or the photographer/designer - and doing so in the comments field. The "do unto others" mantra, so to speak. I did this early on, and limited what I pinned (thus my lack of pins!!) but have not been as diligent about doing this and have found myself pinning more, just so I don't forget "where" I originally found the image - and also as you, to help with clients' inspiration.
    I think Pinterest does help define your style! and plan to get pinning. I'll still try not to pin an image that's been shuffled around too many blogs or social media outlets. And if I don't credit properly - please help me out by commenting on my pins!!
    This was a great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your STRIPES!!

  3. Thanks Cecilia! I look forward to seeing your boards :)

  4. I was and am also pinterest fanatic... Good luck to us!

  5. Wow! We need this post. It gathers everything a mom/woman should know. Thanks for this author!