The design world isn’t what it used to be — and that’s probably for the best. Social media has become not only a creative outlet for a new generation, but also a crucial way to find clients. An innovative young jeweler exhibits her wares not just at the usual trade fairs, but amid the avant-garde innovators at Design Miami. And a communal studio space in Manhattan provides a new template for how designers can work, both together and apart.
In the six years since Instagram burst into the App Store, the social-networking site for the visually oriented has become the clickbait of choice for interior designers—Bunny Williams has 129,000 followers—and, for young decorators especially, a source of new clients as well. “I’ve met so many people on Instagram,” says Mark D. Sikes, whose preppy, all-American style has earned him 75,500 fans. “It’s less polished than a professionally produced design portfolio, but it puts you literally into the hands of the public, showing them who you are and what you love.” Here, 10 design firms talk about the power (and pitfalls) of Instagram.