Pinterest Ideas: How to use it in Your Design Business

Pinterest Ideas - How to use it in Your Design Business

How Pinterest Ideas and inspiration is replacing traditional media.  And how we as designers can use it to help both us and our clients define their sense of style.

I used to tell my design students to subscribe to various magazines for inspiration, primarily to help develop their sense of style.  Something I used to call ‘their internal design library’.  Magazines like Architectural Digest, Garden Design, House & Garden, Gardens Illustrated and Sunset Magazine where good examples.  But not anymore! Today all they need is Pinterest.

I would go so far as to suggest that using Pinterest ideas are singlehandedly destroying the magazine industry. Especially if my wife Carol is anything to go by.

It has become the go-to tool people use to plan their future.  From what they’ll make for dinner this week, to where to go and what to see on their next vacation. To use Pinterest ideas successfully for your business, you need to think about what your business has in common with your customers.

Interior designers, may want photographs of beautiful rooms. For an architect, it might be building styles or design details. A lighting company might be looking for images of stunningly lit interiors.  And for the landscape designer, it’s likely helping people discover the garden of their dreams.

Pinterest Ideas

Whatever the interest, people tend to pursue them through four stages: aspiration, anticipation, participation and reflection.

  • 1. Aspiration: the moment you get inspired to pursue a specific interest (i.e. thinking of remodelling a room or garden)

  • 2. Anticipation: the phase where people look into the interest and start prepping to actually do it (i.e. researching supplies).

  • 3. Participation: when people actually participate in the interest they’ve decided to pursue (shortlisting and ordering)

  • 4. Reflection: where people reflect on the finished result, maybe by taking a photo and sharing it on a social network.

Pinterest is most often used in the first three stages, and the most successful businesses use it to help clients and potential customers along the journey.

Creating A Digital Portfolio

Pinterest Ideas for Garden Design

Pinterest Ideas can replace the designers ‘Mood Board’ or ‘swatch board’ by creating an interactive online version.  Here, both client and designer can collaborate to producing a pinboard that truly reflects everyone’s ideas.

For the first time, Pinterest has allowed people to define their style in public. My wife is a classic example.  (  She used to subscribe to 6 glossy magazines and has now cancelled all but one.  As she is able to get all the ‘eye candy’ she needs online.

When creating and curating inspiring content, make sure you write thoughtful Pin and board descriptions so people can find what they’re looking for.

From a business point of view, marketing on Pinterest isn’t about bombarding people or blasting them with brand messages. It’s about identifying how your business fits in with the viewer’s interests.  Becoming part of how they pursue and participate in that interest. The businesses that achieve this are bound for Pinterest success.


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Duncan Heather

Duncan Heather is one of Europe’s foremost garden designers, to-date having won five gold, one silver & one bronze medal and three best of show awards for his design work. Duncan sat on the SGD council from 2004-7 during which time he was responsible for producing the first industry standard fee scale as well as instigating the publishing of the first standard contract.

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