7 Tips to Get Your Design Work Published

We’ve had some really fun press lately like my sister’s kitchen reveal on Domino and my “5 Minutes With” interview on the back cover of Rue Magazine yesterday, so it was an appropriate time to talk about pitching projects! In previous blog content, we’ve covered how to prep for a photo shoot and what to do when those images finally land in your inbox. Updating your online portfolio is a given, but what if you want to get your work featured on a larger stage? That’s where getting your interior design work published comes into play.

The quickest way to gain notoriety, exposure and inquiries as an interior designer is to effectively market your projects, which includes pitching your latest work. While there’s no clear blueprint to getting published, rest assured you don’t need an expensive publicist to make it happen. Whether getting work featured online or in print is your goal, we’re here to help. After years in the industry, we’ve learned some key secrets to help get your interior design work published with seven best practices to guide the process.

1. Keep It Offline

Try your absolute best to keep project photos offline before your work has been submitted, picked up, and officially published. Most digital and print publications are looking for exclusivity, and that means original content that (1) hasn’t been published elsewhere and (2) hasn’t already been revealed across social media. Note: Updating your website portfolio is generally safe, as is sharing a handful of sneak peeks on Instagram Stories. However, when in doubt, be sure to check with the editor before posting. Once your feature has been published, it’s fair game to share and promote to your heart’s content.

Interior Design: Katie Hodges | Photography: Haris Kenjar

2. Research Publications

Real talk: it’s painfully apparent to editors when designers submit to a publication they’ve never actually read. A little bit of research goes a long way, and it’s always worth the time investment before submitting. As you consider where to publish, be sure to carefully examine the types of projects each publication showcases and find the aesthetic that best matches your project. Some publications even outline the type of features they are looking for on their submissions page. By carefully curating your initial pitch, you’ll drastically increase your chances of being selected. Plus, you won’t waste any time waiting for a response from a publication that wasn’t the right fit.

3. Submit Professional Photography

Here’s the bottom line: trying to get published without professional photography is a nonstarter. No matter where you are in your design business, it’s imperative to have your best projects professionally photographed, even when you’re just starting out. If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer in the early days, consider setting up a trade of services. This will give you beautiful, quality images to not only market your business, but to submit for publication when the time is right.

Most digital publications will require high-resolution, already edited photography that’s bright, clean and visually uncluttered. When it comes time to submit, attach no more than three photos of the project and offer to provide a Dropbox link should they like to see more. Or, simply follow the instruction on their submissions page.

For more on this topic, check out What You Need to Know When Working With a Photographer

4. Craft a Story

Make sure your submission tells a compelling story – about the remodel, any challenges you faced, unique design moments, etc. In the body of your email, include a short intro to the project (about 300 words or less) including:

  • Project Location

  • Designer + Architect

  • Design Style

  • Interesting info about this specific project

  • Problems you solved for the client

Interior Design: O’Hara Interiors | Photography: Spacecrafting Photography

5. Pitch One at a Time

To help ensure exclusivity, pitch just one publication at a time. You don’t want to be accepted by multiple publications and have to backtrack when they want exclusivity. Many publications (especially blogs and digital magazines) can’t respond to every submission. After two weeks, one follow-up email is appropriate. If you haven’t heard anything after your follow-up email, you can submit to the next publication. This politely lifts your exclusivity and opens your opportunity to submit elsewhere once those two weeks have passed.

6. Think Seasonally

Publications are always looking for great content to fill their editorial calendar around each holiday or season. Whether it’s a fun styling vignette for spring or an entire Christmas Home Tour, be sure to send those content pitches early and often. Most publications plan their seasonal content several months in advance (and even longer for print publication), so don’t wait until the last minute.

For more on this topic, check out Holiday Content for Interior Designers

7. Engage Online

Take the time to look up and follow editors of the publications that best align with your work. Spend time liking, commenting and connecting with them in a genuine way to begin building a relationship. Note, this will take time, patience and grace. Remember, building working relationships is often much slower than building online friendships. Be courteous of their time, energy and expertise.

Interior Design: Design Shop Interiors | Photography: Stephanie Russo

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