The Insider's Guide to Getting Design Work Published

When we invited Rue magazine editor Kelli Lamb on the podcast, she dropped invaluable knowledge about how to get published as an interior designer. From packing a submission to networking with editors to establishing a well-rounded press strategy, Kelli wasn’t afraid to share best practices from an insider’s point of view.

As Kelli knows firsthand, the quickest way for a designer to gain notoriety, exposure, and inquiries is to pitch their latest and greatest work. While there’s no exact blueprint to getting published, rest assured you don’t need a PR rep to make it happen. Whether an online or print publication is your goal, these are seven best practices from our conversation with Kelli Lamb to guide the process.

Interior Design: Katie Monkhouse Interiors, Photography: Bess Friday

First, Do Your Homework

It can be 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, 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 projects they are looking for on their submissions page. Think about regional publications vs. national publications and print vs. digital.

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 publication that wasn’t the right fit.

Don't Submit Without Professional Photography

Unless you are a top-tier designer who can secure a feature based on established relationships and progress shots, trying to get published without professional photography is a nonstarter. Having your best projects professionally photographed is essential, 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 market your business and submit for publication when the time is right.

Most digital publications will require high-resolution photography that’s bright, clean, and visually uncluttered. For email submissions, attach a link to your project photos and (this is key) make sure the privacy settings allow the editor to view them.

Interior Design: Nate Berkus, Photography: Roger Davies

Network In Person and Online

Take the time to look up and follow editors of the publications that best align with your work. Spend time liking, commenting, and genuinely connecting with them 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. Another opportunity to meet editors is by attending industry events like trade markets or Design Camp. While online follows are great, there’s nothing more valuable than making a face-to-face connection.

Thoughtfully Package Your Submission

While every publication differs, most do not require an entire house project. Sometimes even a single room will do. More than anything, make sure your submission tells a compelling story – about the remodel, any challenges you faced, unique design features, etc.