Monday, August 23, 2010

Designing Writer

Today is Manna Monday, which means a guest post from Rebecca Ward as your literary food. Enjoy!


As a professional interior designer, my job is to magically create perfect interior spaces for my clients. I take their dreams and turn it into a reality. But design is more to me than just a job. It is my passion. And because of my love for it, I have to share it with others.


One of my outlets for doing this is through my design blog, Design R. Over time, I have discovered that I am no longer just an interior designer, but an author. I publish my writings about my passion in a public format so others want to read it. But, I didn’t fully come to this “writer” realization by myself. I thank Holly Becker of the blog Decor8 and the blogging class I took called Blogging Your Way (a wonderful course for bloggers from any genre). She is a perfect example of a blogger-turned-published-writer. Through this combination of her extremely popular design blog and writing, she writes for many magazines and has now been asked to publish a book. Obviously, the writing and design work well together.

Design blogs are highly visual and often littered with tasty photos of luxe interiors and fun decorator items. But it’s what is in between those photos -- the real substance -- that brings the readers back. As a reader of other blogs, I find the rhetoric critical for linking the subject to my interest.

Most of my blog posts are based on items I see, places I go, vendors I use and emails I get. How boring would it be if every posting went as follows:

“Here are some nice throw pillows ... " (http://www.pillowsandpillows.com/)



…and that’s it. It’s cold and impersonal and the only thing my reader gets from it is my taste in pillows. And besides, it’s just a throw pillow. Who cares?

What if instead I said this along with these pillow pictures:

“Throw pillows may be the most pivotal item in your room. As a decorator item, they can play a key role in tying together accent colors in the room. Their size and cost allows them to be changed with the seasons, occasions and mood. But they are so much more than accessories and so much more supportive than providing comfort when sitting against a stiff-backed sofa.

How many times do you see people holding throw pillows on their lap while relating an emotional story, grasping tight, punching or crying into it as the narrative progresses? Throw pillows can become fast friends."

With interior design writing, I draw an emotional connection for my reader with an easily dismissed accessory. Additionally, I ask a personal question of my reader that may lead them to comment with their own story, or at the least, reflect on the role throw pillows have played in their life.

Design bloggers need to remember they are so much more than designers: they are writers.

When we “sell” our design to our client, we build a story around it so that the client can see himself in this future space and become emotionally attached to it before it becomes a reality. Description and engaging the client in our design, is key to our success.

When presenting to my client, instead of saying,

“This is the sofa I chose for you. This is the fabric and this is where it goes. Do you like it?”

I would say something more like this,

“Now look at this sofa. Notice how the style of the legs tie in the coffee table you love. The fabric is a strong and durable ultra-suede that you won’t have to worry about your children being on it. I made sure the color is a wonderful neutral tan. Since you mentioned you like to host seasonal parties throughout the year, you will easily be able to change the colors and styles with each event by incorporating throw pillows. I made sure the this seat is 3” deeper than your current sofa so you can stretch out and take a nap comfortably when you watch golf on Sundays. The frame of this sofa is high quality, so durable that it could easily outlive you.”

My client is much more likely to buy the sofa after they picture themselves living with it. The use of these descriptive scenarios are powerful tools for every designer and something design bloggers need to make sure they are using in their writing.

Though a slightly foreign medium for designers, writing is just another outlet to release our need to express creativity. I encourage every blogger in every genre of “blog-dom” to consider themselves a writer first and foremost.

Rebecca Ward

Rebecca Ward Design



6 comments:

  1. Thanks, Rebecca! As a decorator/blogger, I learned quite a bit from this short blog today. Currently, my blog is very picture rich, but doesn't always tell a story. I'll be incorporating some of your advise in my future blogs.
    ~Misty Trevino

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post - loved your descriptions and emotional tie-ins!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Becca,
    From one who has reaped the benefits of your interior design artistry, you have now inspired me to create a blog sometime soon! I have written a few skincare articles, and now just need a forum in which to share them. Thanks!
    Valerie Connelly
    New Creation Skincare & Massage Therapy

    ReplyDelete
  4. So glad to inspire you both Misty and Valerie! thanks Mindy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this article! The right words can make anything a little more magical!

    BTW, you are a great writer!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Rebecca! wonderful post and great ideas...the course with Holly is great - anyone who takes it will pick up different things...and you are right, I always think of myself as a blogger, not a writer - but it is really the other way around because of the way we all communicate differently through our blogs. Great food for thought - thank you!! :)
    x

    ReplyDelete