Publication of Interior Designers Portfolio Pictures and the Blogoshere

Forgive me for this slightly academic post on "picture protection" -- but this is a conversation I just wanted to put out there... 

As a blogger I find it incredibly frustrating when designers prevent their images on their website from being copied or even "pinned"; especially since I think it is counter-intuitive to the goals of an interior designer. Sadly, I was not able to blog about a few designers at the Hampton Showhouse because of their pictures were not accessible on their site and not published elsewhere. 

First, website image protection of designers' work product is counterproductive to the business interests of an interior designer.  Generally, the goal of a designer is to become as well know as possible, to have a recognizable style, be sought after (maybe for licensing) and to be able to charge a premium for their projects. To this end, an interior designer should want images of their work published as widely as possible. Publication in the blogoshpere should be something that is encouraged and welcomed -- as this where some of the most devoted design aficionados visit, converse and peruse for inspiration (this includes magazine editors and potential customers). 

Second, the goals of image protection that help artists such as painters, and manufactures of, say case goods, do not apply in the case of interior designers; the painter and the manufacturer have a specific item that can be potentially reproduced and copied.  The interior designer's asset is their "style" -- something that is much more elusive and difficult to reproduce than a specific item. 

From the designers' perspective, I imagine they feel very proprietary of their work product, and they don't want others to copy it or even to publish it without giving them credit.  But like transformational artists, good designers affect the way that others decorate -- they direct trends and taste, and isn't that what they want?  If you are good, people are going to want to emulate your style. 

The solution might be for them to "sign" their pictures.  I get that designers don't want people copying their work product without giving them credit.  I think the best solution  is to have pictures on your site watermarked or labeled at the bottom with your name (like the "Design Bible Blog" in an earlier post ) and freely accessible  from your website so that the best photos of your work get disseminated by bloggers -- with your name attached.  By attaching your name to your photos,  you and your style will become synonymous and your work will become more easily recognizable preventing even accidental omissions.

In short,  I think the positives of wider publication of interior designer photographs in the blogosphere far outweigh the negatives of "lesser" designers trying to copy your style and I think this is a marketing strategy that more designers ought to rethink.  What do you think?

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