trade tales | Mar 27, 2020 |
Should you share another designer’s work on Instagram?

For most designers these days, Instagram plays a huge role in marketing. On the platform, where there’s an insatiable need for content, big and small firms alike have adopted the practice of sharing other designers’ work. We asked 10 designers—Jenny Brown, Lauren L. Caron, Matthew Craig, Jonathan Gordon, Sara Hillery, Liz Johnson, KristyChanel Lindsay, Nina Nash Long, Mally Skok and Ann Ueno—how they feel about sharing other decorators’ projects on their own accounts.

Matthew Craig
Matthew CraigCourtesy of Matthew Craig

Good business
“I don't see an issue with sharing another designer’s work on Instagram or any other social platform. I think it helps build community within the world of design. The only and most important caveat is that the post must include the designer’s name. There are a lot of incredibly talented designers out there that I have great admiration for. We are a community and I think it is good business to support each other.” —Matthew Craig, Matthew Craig Interiors, Seattle

Jenny Brown
Jenny BrownCourtesy of Jenny Brown

Proceed with caution
“I think there is a certain etiquette within the design community online, and designers should proceed with caution when posting another designer’s work. If you are so compelled to post a peer’s project, you must make it abundantly clear within the first three words that it is for inspiration, and name the designer and source the credit—especially if you are just reposting their images. The only time I post other designers’ work on my feed is when I am in a public space and take the photo myself. On the other hand, I often repost designers’ projects that inspire me in my Instagram Stories, always making it clear it is not my project. At the end of the day, it is a positive thing to have your work shared, and anyone would be delighted for a space they designed to go viral, but if there is a suggestion that a project is your own, reword it or hold off altogether.” —Jenny Brown, Jenny Brown Designs, Chicago

Jonathan Gordon
Jonathan GordonCourtesy of Jonathan Gordon

Magazine-worthy
“I’m the son of a patent lawyer, so I know the importance of intellectual property. As long as you’re making it clear where the photo came from and whose work it is, it’s a great thing. My firm will share images from Architectural Digest and other magazines because we don’t necessarily have enough photos of our own work to post something every day. We do 50 or 60 projects a year, which is a lot, but that would still only be about one post per week, even if we posted an image from every project. Instead, we post about the things that we like and make sure to properly credit.” —Jonathan Gordon, The Jonathans, New Haven, Connecticut

Sara Hillery
Sara HilleryCourtesy of Sara Hillery

Stick to stories
“I really believe your Instagram feed should be a visual representation of yourself and your work. If your feed is made up of other designers’ work, how will anyone know what your style is or what you're capable of? Of course, we are all inspired by each other’s work, but a great way to highlight another designer’s work is to share their posts in your Stories. The post will automatically be linked to their profile, and you can keep your feed your own. We work so hard on our projects—they are months and even years in the making, we shell out the money for photography, stylists and florists, so it’s understandable to be a bit territorial of the beautiful images we work so hard on!” —Sara Hillery, Sara Hillery Interior Design, Richmond, Virginia

Lauren L. Caron
Lauren L. CaronCourtesy of Lauren L. Caron

Mutual benefits
“The process of building a portfolio of work that we want to share, and hopefully have published in magazines or online editorial, takes a great amount of time and money—and producing content for social media outlets is tough to keep up with. If you can share another firm’s work that inspires your vision or is in line with your style, it will both articulate your style to your audience as well as support the other firm that is producing the work. We take care in clearly stating that the content is inspiration and not our own work. We also try to limit the amount of inspiration images we share on our feed to about one per week. On our end, we love when designers share our work and properly credit us. It often gives us an uptick in followers and has, at times, even given us more work or opportunities.” —Lauren L. Caron, Studio Laloc, Seattle

KristyChanel Lindsay
KristyChanel LindsayCourtesy of KristyChanel Lindsay

Inspiration image
“I believe that it is fine to post other firms’ work on Instagram, but only in a particular context. I believe that the photo should have the name of the designer tagged, so that reading the post is not required to identify who designed the space, and the context of the post should be celebratory in nature, referencing inspiration or complimenting a particular element of the design.” —KristyChanel Lindsay, KristyChanel Interiors, Atlanta

Ann Ueno
Ann UenoCourtesy of Ann Ueno

Extra credit
“We live in a digital world, and Instagram, specifically, is lucrative for our business, so it is inevitable that designers will share other people’s work—be it for a reference, inspiration, or to publicly compliment the other designer. I would argue that most people have good intentions when sharing work other than their own. But it’s important to follow a couple basic, unofficial but imperative rules, like give the designer and the photographer credit in the first few lines of the post, and tag each person as well. You don’t want to mislead your audience in a way that they would think it’s your work. Nothing good will come of that. So, as long as you properly credit everyone, continue to celebrate all the amazing work out there.” —Ann Ueno, Ann Ueno Interior Design, Miami

Liz Johnson
Liz JohnsonCourtesy of Liz Johnson

Positive affirmation
“I consider it a compliment when designers share each other’s work. It means they appreciate the design, the detail, the furnishings—whatever motivated them to share. Affirming, appreciating and celebrating another designer’s work is uplifting to me and to the designer I am featuring.” —Liz Johnson, Liz Johnson Design Studio, Washington, D.C.

Mally Skok
Mally SkokCourtesy of Mally Skok

Observe and report
“I like to think that the design community is a kind and inclusive one. I, for one, love varied and nuanced interior design posts, and I am always happy to give props to other designers’ work that I admire, or products that I include in my posts. I am not such a fan of social media accounts that simply regurgitate other people’s work to gain followers. One thing I am most definitely for is reposting posts from designers that are of fun destinations they have been to, or amazing art or furniture they have found. I think we can all learn so much from observing the work of our fellow designers, especially the great design masters of years past.” —Mally Skok, Mally Skok Design, Boston

Nina Nash Long
Nina Nash LongCourtesy of Nina Nash Long

Tread carefully

“It can be flattering when someone shares my projects or regrams something—plus, it doesn’t hurt my exposure, so why not? The importance of proper crediting is crucial, though; I cannot stress that enough. It can sometimes be misleading when people only post other people’s work. There have been plenty of times I’m scrolling through and see one of my projects posted on another account and it can be shocking that I wasn’t acknowledged. If you post an image and don’t credit the designer and team, that’s a big no-no!” —Nina Nash Long, Mathews Furniture + Design, Atlanta

Homepage photo: A project by Jenny Brown Designs; photo by Aimee Mazzenga

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