Pin It to Win It: Pinterest for Architects

By Ann Novakowski posted 06-05-2012 11:46 AM


From client requests to notes on vendors, your online bookmarks are getting out of control and your Evernote notebooks are a fierce hot messHundreds of design ideas and inspirational stylings zip through your mind and your inbox on a daily basis.

A new social bookmarking / photo sharing / shopping gallery website is changing the way brands engage potential customers and it can help you get organized, attract clients, and connect with like-minded designers. 

Pinterest is an "online virtual pinboard" that "lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web." (from their website) The invitation-only service has surpassed 11.7 million unique visitors monthly "crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history." (TechCrunch)

"...any other standalone site in history" > Yes, that means even Facebook can't boast this user explosion.

"We have seen a large increase in online traffic since joining Pinterest and it is now our 3rd most common referral site," says Andrew Shore, President Sea Pointe Construction, a design/build residential remodeling firm servicing Southern California.

But why should you care?

Though the ladies are dominating the site in the US, business men (29% earn $100k+) are the primary UK users - proving the service can fit almost any mold. Hinge refers to Pinterest as the New Trend in Marketing Architectural Services.

Chicago interior design and remodeling firm, Lugbill Designs, is still in the early stages of Pin-spiration, but note, "Pinterest is great because it amplifies the social aspects of Facebook through a more aesthetically appealing medium. This leads to increased sharing and exposure. We eventually see it outperforming other social media avenues, largely due to the connections that can be made with individuals interested in design, along with the press and media."

Also, it's wildly addictive.

Here's a scenario for you to ponder: 

A Pinterest user is pinning away when they come across a gorgeous photo - it's one of your projects. It goes immediately in their "Dream Home" pinboard. A friend of theirs sees it and clicks-through to your portfolio website. It just so happens they've put your project in the "Live Here" pinboard, and they're looking to renovate. Instead of coming to your office with stacks of ripped magazine pages and sketches on napkins, the homeowner writes down a single URL...the Pinterest collection: "This is what I want." You create a collaborative pinboard between the two of you—client & architect—containing inspiration pictures, roofing options, eye-catching faucets, and maybe even Instagram photos from site visits. Photos of the finished project get pinned up so fast your iPhone practically smokes. The feed from that pinboard automatically updates your Facebook page and Twitter feed, ever growing your list of fans and friends. How cool would that be? 

What is "pin-worthy"?

Common "pins" include anything from recipes to infographics, design ideas to inspirational quotes. Videos are now pin-able and even Zuck has jumped on the band-wagon.

Firstly, find out what content of yours is already out there. Run a quick search with the following URL: WEBSITE to see your pin-worthy projects. You may be reaping the benefits of this giant referral engine and not even know it!

Here's a list of 10 creative ways to use Pinterest:

How are architects using Pinterest?

Architects are using the tool to both engage clients and draw design ideas from pinboards. 

Architect Ryan Thewes of Nashville, TN uses Pinterest for his business, "but as of yet have not had any success with it as a marketing tool." What's worked for him? "I have had success with it as a tool for communicating design and ideas. I ask my clients to create pages and post images of things they like. That helps me get inside their heads and has really improved and streamlined the whole design process. What has typically multiple design revisions has gotten to the point where we are pretty close on the first try."  

AIA National shares award-winning projects, workplaces and sacred spaces.
AIA Committee on Design spotlights their tour of modern Columbus, Indiana.
Kevin Harris documents the firm fuzzballs ("Archipets") daily office happenings and project portfolios.
ARCHITECT Magazine pins cover pages and studio visits.
AIA Dallas showcases projects of their membership in a dedicated pinboard.
Chicago Architecture Foundation is setting the bar high with 687 pins and nearly 2,500 followers already!

How to get started

  • Request invite or have a friend invite you
  • Find your friends who're already using the site
  • Create pinboards based on topic or theme
  • Start pinning and re-pinning

Pin-Etiquette in a nutshell: Don't be a meanie and credit your sources.

*NOTE: There is an official Pinterest etiquette page located here.

  • Use your smart phone, tablet, iPhone app, Pinmarklet
…and be pinned
  • Wordpress widget, pin this button on portfolio, "Follow me on Pinterest" button, add Facebook tab

When pinning your own work

  • Upload high quality photos or images
  • Add appropriate hashtags (think like Twitter e.g., #kitchen, #lightfixtures, #pine)
  • Include a link back to the original site
  • Ask your friends to repin your work on their boards
  • Tag other architects or the AIA to plug collaborators & get some attention
  • Use the comment section to mention other users or take notes:
    - This project won an award from @AIANational
    - Hanging out with @AIA_COD and snapped this quick pic
    - @FLloydWright, love your work!
    - Must remember this roof. Wonderful.


FYI: You don't have to follow everyone who follows you. You can like pins you find interesting or repin them to save to your collection.

Pinterest goodies   

How Pinterest can help your business  

Pinterest plug-ins for your website

Block pinterest – if you’re just not interested



Integrate pinterest with IFTTT

- Pinterest to Fb page (
- Pinterest to Flickr (
- Backup pinterest to dropbox (
- Pinterest RSS to twitter (

Add Pinterest to Facebook

Adding pinterest to SquareSpace   

Top 5 ways pinterest can help architects stay organized

#HousingKnowledgeCommunity #WhitePapers #TechnologyinArchitecturalPractice #Guides #Reports/Essays #InteriorArchitectureKnowledgeCommunity #SmallProjectPractitioners #Tips #FactSheets #BestPractices #CustomResidentialArchitectsNetwork #PracticeManagementKnowledgeCommunity #SmallFirmRoundTable #Articles
1 comment


06-06-2012 04:21 PM

We encourage our clients to use Pinterest to organize their design ideas and inspirations. They then share these with us online so during the process, we get their mood and what makes their heart sign (design wise). It also acts as an important launch pad to discuss budget and to have an honest meeting about matching wants with budget. If a client wants to spend $20,000 on a kitchen renovation and only shows photos where a couple of appliances eat the entire budget, we can have a frank and candid discussion before any drawings begin. Saves time and heart ache to be able to do this as early in the process as possible.