Social media as a marketing tool has gained increased prominence over the course of the last couple of years, for all types of businesses and services. Social media consumption has also increased significantly due to the worldwide standstill caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. At the end of the day, interior design, or design in general, is also a service and a business, which requires its fair share of marketing. The reach of social media is almost infinite, and when used to our advantage, can help us extensively in our profession, mostly to provide inspiration and help in networking.
Most forms of social media, as we all know, are primarily image-based, that is, it is a visual medium of communication. This is similar to design, where our primary means of communication is through drawings or images. This concurrence between the two makes social media very effective for designers or larger firms to showcase their work. It could be deduced that social media also has an effect on the design process. Sometimes, designers work from part to the whole, by collaging various separate ideas to create a unified whole. These are separate images, or montages, that come together to create a space, similar to the way social media works.
Every designer has their own unique style of design, a fact that is rarely acknowledged in design school. Social media provides a designer with the opportunity to exhibit their personal design style through their work. It is also an opportunity to showcase all different kinds of projects in one space – academic, built projects, conceptual projects, etc.
On social media, individuality and creativity is celebrated and recognized. This helps clients understand the designer’s style completely, hence giving them an opportunity to make an informed decision regarding the choice of designer or design studio. Social media is hence an effective tool to connect clients with the kind of designers that match their overall aesthetic, hence helping the design process to be simpler. It is important to note here that, most often, we all have access to the same library of information. Most clients come to a designer with a bunch of images that represent their vision, but it is the duty of the designer to inform the client about the importance of highly personalized design solutions.
It is important to create images, for social media or otherwise, that is strong and holds their ground. This means that every image should be legible, and should be able to clearly communicate the design strategy. This is where all the formal training from design school comes into play. Representation is a huge part of the design process, and if an idea is not represented correctly, it does not produce the same impact.
As designers, these images are already created by us for all our design projects. Hence, it is a lot easier to create an online portfolio or a storefront on social media. Most designers and design firms today use technology for design representation, and there are a variety of tools that are being used specifically for social media images – such as GIFs, short process videos, etc.
Social media also facilitates collaborations. Interior design, as a whole, is a highly collaborative process that involves professionals from various design fields. Since it makes networking easier, designers collaborate more frequently on projects, and this leads to creating spaces that are very impactful. The most important feature of social media for the design community is that it makes people and work accessible. It has now become extremely easy to initiate a conversation with any designer, no matter where they are located. This makes collaborations easier, and also creates a community that spans across borders, which is very important for design.
Social media is also being used by various designers to create content that is educational. This is important because it helps create awareness on various issues, as well as informs people about the power of good design in one’s everyday life. Sometimes, this content is also useful to young aspiring designers who look up to successful practices as role models. Breaking down the process of design of some renowned works helps students understand the thought behind the design process, which may not necessarily be published, if not for social media.
Social media is an academic studio of sorts, where designers exhibit their work, inviting critique, feedback, or appreciation. It also has the power to make design accessible to everyone, in a variety of different ways – through small do it yourself projects, to providing designers inspiration for their own individual projects.
Interior design trends from all across the world are clearly visible on social media. It is becoming increasingly evident that designers try to recreate trends where they don’t necessarily fit in. While social media is a boon, in that it makes available a huge library of inspiration, resources, and connections; it is also important to step back and re-evaluate our design decisions and remember that the spaces we create are to be lived in. They are spaces for people, for inhabitation, and for activity, and these are the things that hold the most prominence in the success of a design.