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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.

Start your pitch with a brief introduction, or remind the editor if you’ve worked together previously. In the body of your email, include bullet points covering:

  • Project Location

  • Designer + Architect

  • Design Style

  • Interesting info about this specific project

  • Link to the project photos

Be Mindful of Exclusivity

Rule of thumb: pitch to 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 about one week, a follow-up email is appropriate. You can submit to the next publication if you haven’t heard anything 48 hours after your follow-up email. This politely lifts your exclusivity and opens your opportunity to submit elsewhere.

Interior Design: Britt Design Studio, Photography: Raquel Langworthy

Learn to Think Like an Editor

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 Holiday Home Tour, 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.

Leave a Great Impression

On the podcast, Kelli Lamb shared about her bulletin board filled with thank you notes from designers, creatives, and photographers. Thanking an editor is such an important gesture that should not be overlooked. Editors remember the designers who were kind, gracious, and a general joy to work with—and guess what? Those are the designers they’ll want to feature again. Make the collaboration process a great one, and you’ll stand out in the crowd of submissions. A little bit of kindness goes such a long way.

For more on this topic, don't miss our podcast episode featuring Kelli Lamb.


I am grateful for your advice, I have learned a lot from your articles and I am still learning, you are really a legend, I salute you with respect.


The advice from an editor's perspective is particularly valuable. connections game

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