In my 5 years of designing spaces I have learned that experience is invaluable. There is only so much that school and a text book can teach you. Understanding your own aesthetic as a designer, and learning how to problem solve, deal with conflict and communicate effectively is all learned through sweat (and lots of it).
This is why I love trade day at the Interior Design Show. This year I attended several workshops that were truly invigorating (helpful as I needed the wake up Friday morning after wearing these all Thursday evening at the IDS party).
BlogPodium is a new platform that connects design & lifestyle bloggers, marketers, and the design community through a series of conferences. I thought this very first conference was a great gathering of media mavens- and here is what I took away from it:
YOUR BLOG MUST BE YOU: Speakers Kimberley Seldon and Kate Moore were adamant that your blog should be a reflection of YOU- your talents, your creative viewpoint, your voice. For Kimberley it’s not enough to say that something is “super cute” or “so awesome” (I was pretty much fist pumping when she said this, I completely agree that the vernacular of “cute and awesome” is so overused on design blogs particularly), and Kate agreed that if you want to be on a show like CityLine, you’ve got to show her something unique. Stay on point, and on message. And if you’re an Interior Designer Kimberley adds, you best be blogging about your own work!
EDIT, EDIT, EDIT: Speaker Margot Austin, who has been in the magazine world for 20 years, appreciates a well edited collection- a filter of beautiful things. The panel all agreed that there should be thought given into what you post- and that not all parts of your life may be true to the brand of your blog. Thought must be given to the approach and direction you want your blog (and this goes for all social media presence as well) to take.
WANT TO GROW YOUR BLOG: My lovely friend Jen Flores shared that if you want your blog to grow, consider a blog redesign, use pinterest and utilize guest posting. She also suggests updating your blog at least 3 times a week. Although she’s too humble to admit it, this woman is a blogging force to be reckoned with. 30,000 unique visitors and 100,000 page views monthly!!!
Blogging has been a great personal outlet for me and has been helpful in creating a brand for my business- and the people I have met in the blogging community are just fantastic. Some of the nicest and most encouraging creative minds.
BANKING ON DESIGN: ROBERT RUSCIO
Robert Ruscio, retail space designer, and designer of National Bank’s new Toronto flagship, offered his thoughts on the design of banks as a whole and the process his firm took towards the new National Bank flagship. The renderings of the new bank location are pretty gorgeous and let me tell you, the space certainly makes banking look way more fun- and way more stylish of an experience. I’m looking forward to some of the ways his firm has integrated the logo in more conceptual applications and the use of media in the environment.
Lastly, he shared that for every client, they create a list of words (kind of like core values) that inform the design and each design decision. Throughout the design process his design team are very cognizant of these key words- and they ensure the final design does not stray from this. I’m applying this to my design practice too- just came up with my list for a bedroom project I’ve got going on and it’s proving very beneficial to the process of design.
HOW DESIGNERS LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE: KIMBERLEY SELDON & JOANNA GOODMAN
In this workshop aimed at Interior Design professionals, Kimberley and Au Lit Fine Linens owner Joanna schooled me on how to establish great supplier relationships. Kimberley reminded me that an A team of suppliers is essential for any design professional and that nurturing this team will make my job easier. And as Joanna so aptly noted- if you can’t be an expert in everything, make sure you work with those who are. And Joanna knows her sheets- Au Lit is the Holt Renfrew of bedding, and a favourite shop of mine in Toronto. She reminded me that the job of an Interior Designer is to guide clients on how to live the best way possible, not just look the best. This includes the BEST quality sleep. I am buying a featherbed as a result of this workshop, her passion for bedding is totally inspiring!
MASTER CLASS: WILLIAM YEOWARD
William Yeoward, UK based textile, furniture and crystal master was an absolute joy to listen to. Witty, charming, and all around adorable he shared some stunning photographs of his home, the company showcase cottage, and his latest collection of textiles. The process of how a designer goes from concept to actualization has been particularly intriguing to me as of late- and on this topic William shared that one should stick with a colour scheme from an environment you feel drawn to (ie woods, grasses, flowers, fruit, garden, etc) and I love the quote: “Where I’ve come from, what I’m about, where I live. This informs my design.”
It was very much a satisfying day of design inspiration, and it feels great to already be applying many of the above principles in my design practice.