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Pinterest // Resource vs. Replica

The Nouveau Romantics // Using Pinterest as a Tool

Here’s a post that has been a topic of debate amongst colleagues, clients, friends, family, and within the studio: how can we harness the growing power of Pinterest, while allowing ourselves to challenge our creativity? What role does it, or perhaps should it have, within our event design work?

It’s a topic that garners many reactions, yet, when I think back to architecture school, it’s not that different from the hours we spent pouring over the large, glossy paged photo books of architects or artists — at least in terms of using it as a resource rather than a manual.As a student, we were encouraged to paw around the library, pulling books, looking over images for inspiration throughout the development of our design projects. It’s a process that informed my designs, and honed my ability to see inspiration in the most unusual of places. I evolved as a designer when I started to realize that copying specific ideas from designers wasn’t the point, albeit a necessary step, to finding my own voice within architecture. Using this voice while drawing from a variety of inspiration did [an does], ultimately, create my best work.

Within that, it’s not surprising that this culling of imagery has found it’s digital version: Pinterest. Previously, google images played a similar role congregator and database of imagery, not to mention specific libraries and catalogues of etchings, paintings, wallpaper, fashion, et al. When we needed an image of a particular item, I’d comb websites, blogs of designers or imagery archives and accumulate images in a menagerie of folders on my desktop. Pinterest has now provided the platform to collect all of this in one place, while providing the social media platform to collect, curate, and share.

Liene Stevens talks extensively about the way that millennials approach weddings as collaborations, and use Pinterest as a shareable bulletin board of images. I’ve seen this within our own clients, and have even seen it in the needs of clients in the architecture firm that my husband works for. I think it’s safe to say that it’s not going anywhere.

So how do we use this to our advantage, both as brides and grooms, but also as creative professionals? It goes back to the approach of using imagery — be it in a book, a magazine clipping, the internet — as a resource to help guide a design process rather than direct replication. No one truly wants to just copy someone else’s idea [no matter how brilliant], and furthermore, as we base our events on our clients’ personal story as Step One, how can direct replication stay true to that?

Personally, I use Pinterest as a collecting ground of inspiring images – from envelope details, to printing combinations, paper samples, to floral combinations, or high fashion details that combine colors in an interesting way. Within this framework, it’s an incredible resource that leverages Pinterest’s sharing component and allows us to get faster feedback from clients. There are subtle nuances that we can hone in on via a client’s pinboard, or we test ideas before we need to design, source, and price them out. It requires both parties to be on board and excited to create something unique to them, and that replication gets you halfway, but that extra push will create something even more memorable, meaningful.

RESOURCE vs. MANUAL – what do you think?

[Image by Antonio Zarli via Flickr. Provided to me by a client who loved the color palette as inspiration for a wedding. I’m diggin’ it.]