Pinterest’s Power In Project Design
November 24, 2014
A massage for the eyes. A crafter’s paradise. A Saturday morning time suck. Pinterest is all of these things. But it’s also become a crucial design tool. Originally considered a DIYer’s dream social media channel, Pinterest has relatively quickly turned into one of the best resources for the design community and an everyday tool in the Streetsense studio.
When you learn the history of Pinterest, it makes sense that the design industry has so enthusiastically embraced it. One of the co-founders, Evan Sharp was an architect by training and also worked for several years as a product designer. He innately understood the value of a visual history to develop your own design language. During his time in school, Sharp was finding that storing thousands of images in his own architectural library on his computer was becoming increasingly hard to organize. The result was a cluster of unorganized images without any way to group or arrange them for easy access. According to Sharp, “Pinterest was a way for me to create a link: let’s bookmark an image so that when I go look at it later, I go to where it came from. This is this architect’s building. This is what it is. And collections are a natural way of organizing that sort of inspiration. It very much [became] a professional tool in my industry.”
There are so many ways to use Pinterest for a design project. Today, we rarely work on anything without using Pinterest in a number of capacities throughout the project’s lifecycle. Here are just some of the ways our designers have involved Pinterest in their work:
- Visual Libraries: Views of lobbies, bars, and bistros and boards of favorite fabrics, fixtures, and flooring are all just some of the collections that our designers have created for project inspiration. Megan Capo, one of our designers, has over 12,000 pins on boards sorted in dozens of categories, from pillows to pools. When she begins a project, she has the benefit of pulling from this vast collection of pre-selected favorites.Keeping boards of pins for future use, designers in a click have an invaluable library of images they have been cataloguing.
- Project Planning: When starting a new project with a client, designers can build a Pinterest board based on the client’s needs and inspiration. The boards are kept private for just the internal team members to view, share style ideas, and save examples of similar projects and specific product samples. Preparing for client presentations is simplified, as images are ready for show and tell. It can also be a significant timesaver in schematic phases to gauge the temperature of clients by getting quick feedback to a range of inspirational imagery.
- Client Inspiration: Pre-Pinterest, clients would sometimes lament that they did not have effective tools to convey their own design preferences. Now, clients are almost always entering the design process with their own board of ideas to share and discuss. It’s a great jumpstart in the design process and has the benefit of fostering a much more engaging dialogue.
- Communication with Vendors: Another handy use for Pinterest is to facilitate communication with furniture dealers and other product representatives. Megan Capo will direct a dealer to her board when she needs a design tweaked or an alternative for a less costly alternate. The rep can see what is desired and pin options to the board. Without having to pick up the phone, create PDF’s, or e-mail, Megan can click “like” advising the rep to follow-up with details on the preferred option.
While Pinterest perks are aplenty, designers still have to proceed with caution. Sharing a project design board with a client has its risks as certain ideas can sometimes be misinterpreted. They may not recognize why the image was saved to the board, or they may love the sofa in the photo, but don’t understand that the image was saved because of the light fixture. And just as it can be hard for all of us to put “pencils down,” Pinterest makes it more tempting than ever to revisit final decisions.
Provided that Pinterest is used in addition to traditional mood boards and design meetings to avoid confusion, the reality is that Pinterest and this form of collecting can be a useful, imaginative aid in our creative industry.