It’s 2017 and as a designer, no matter how amazing your projects are, you’re nothing without images. You need them more than ever, and in a steady stream. For your website, for social media and for publications looking to cover your work, you continually need great images that reflect your talent and passion for design. We asked our marketing and brand strategy team as well as top design-centric public relations and advertising agencies for tips on amassing a portfolio that shows you and your firm in the best light.

Tip #1: Find a photographer that fits your style

Seek out photographers whose images compel you. Think of your portfolio as the book or magazine of your brand, and you are the art director and editor. As you flip through your apps – Instagram, Flipboard – take a look at the nuances of lighting, mood and perspective that define the look you seek. Check the feeds of influencers you admire, be they editorial entities such as design publications or leading design firms. Consider this when seeking out your own photographers for major projects:

  • Do you want to work with someone who prefers to use as much natural light as possible?
  • Someone whose style is bulbs off or bulbs on?
  • Windows blown out or showing the view, etc.

Fair warning, though, once you start noticing these things it is hard to stop, even in your leisure time.

Tip #2: Apply other disciplines to bring out the best

Consider that sometimes a residential photographer might be best for a hospitality project where the design is meant to feel luxurious. Similarly, an industrial project might benefit from the work of a fine art or archival photographer. Look at the annual reports of some top industrial firms to see great examples of this. Photographers can put an exotic spin on hospitality, theater, stadium or even office projects.

Award-winning travel photographer, Rick Lew, who has shot the most exotic and far-flung global destinations for Condé Nast Traveler, has in recent years become one of the most sought-after architectural and hotel/hospitality photographers.

Currently, one of the most popular Instagram images under #architecturalphotography is by travel photographer, Parisey. Check out his feed: @theworldisbigandiwantotseeit.

Architectural photography

Travel and architectural images from Paris and Bucharest. Photos courtesy of @theworldisbigandiwantotseeit.

Tip #3: Fortune favors the prepared

Try to have more than one photographer with whom you establish a creative rapport. That way, when your project is ready, you can tap into the talent that’s available within that often short window during which your client is willing to suspend business in order to capture your genius.

Architectural photography

Go hunting for styles you like on Instagram: #architecturalphotography.

Tip #4: Don’t forget styling

Often the styling is as important as the photography itself. In contract projects less styling is usually more, but none can be a disaster. This is particularly true anywhere you need soft goods styling, such as in hospitality environments where bed, table and bath linens can quickly take over within a shot and distract from your design work if not styled properly. These textiles need to be smooth and contained while still appearing soft and inviting.

Architectural photography

A random sampling from the insanely beautiful Instagram feed of Vogue Living Australia.

Tip #5: No current projects? There’s always something to share!

Often it can be months between the big shoots of entire projects, so in between, our experts recommend the following techniques for populating your social feeds:


Shoot your concepting process. This might be inspiration boards, drawings with swatches, renderings, scale models or some other device you use to illustrate concepts and themes. You can shoot these in a way that’s abstract so as not to reveal any proprietary information by showing a sliver or a slice along with other elements. This is also an opportunity to storyboard your own dream concepts, to design for the kind of projects you wish to get.

Along the way, you can create mini concept shots that focus on color stories through paint palettes, fabric and finish samples. These things CAN be beautiful. Designer David Scott, crafted an entire monograph (Outside the Box) on the strength of his concept trays and themed inspirations.

Architectural photography

Caviar, calfskin and the Chrysler Building figure into a design concept by David Scott. Photo courtesy of Pointed Leaf Press.


How do you see the world and what’s in it? This is as important as the original work you create. Many design pros wonder who will care about this, but as a design pro you are an opinion leader, and your singular take on anything from iconic landmarks to street art is part of your brand persona. If you admire the work of your colleagues in the field, share that as well. An open, generous sharing of ideas is more accessible than ever. Just make sure that you don’t put any image in your feed that you don’t love. Even if it means you don’t post from a particular event, it is better than posting something that doesn’t reflect your viewpoint on design. Remember, it is your brand’s magazine.

Designer David Scott beautifully curates the natural elements that inform his design in a spread from his monograph, Outside the Box. (Pointed Leaf Press)

Designer David Scott beautifully curates the natural elements that inform his design in a spread from his stunning monograph, Outside the Box. Photo courtesy of Pointed Leaf Press.

Architectural photography

Drapery in progress. Photo courtesy Marks & Tavano Workroom.

Works in progress

Turn that showroom or workroom visit into an opportunity for content. Shoot funky angles of a half-upholstered chair or come in tight on some finish detail that’s rocking your world. People love behind-the-scenes content and building anticipation before a final outcome is one of the strongest engagement tools in social media.

Do you already have great images of your work? Send them our way, and be sure to point out where you’ve incorporated Crypton fabrics. You may just see them published in this space or we may contact you to see if our PR teams can pitch them to design publications for editorial or social media.

The theme du jour is diversity. We think it is timely and relevant, whether we’re talking about the vast scope of new design products showing up at market, or the new emphasis on diversity in renderings. We look at what industry journals are saying about the renewed commitment to inclusiveness in the design field. No time like the present.

Scalies for the Real World

First, we offer this article from Curbed. It explores why some firms are placing importance on creating more diversity in architectural renderings. You’ll also discover the lengths some shops go to get an accurate portrayal of each site’s neighborhood. They also link you to great ‘scalie’ resources for incorporating into your next drawings. Try Just Nøt the Same, Escalalatina or Skalgubbrasil.

Turner Field Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative Study Design Distil for Perkins+Will

Turner Field Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative Study Design Distil for Perkins+Will. Photo courtesy of Curbed.

New Products That Run the Gamut

We spend 10 days a year at High Point Market, since our performance fabric technology is featured in some 60 showrooms there. We interact with designers, editors, bloggers, the famous High Point Style Spotters and of course we stop in to see all of the brands that offer our technology. As a result, too often we don’t have time to explore the show in the way we’d like.

Good thing our pal, Mark McMenamin from Interior Design magazine, has curated this superb selection of standout pieces in two categories: lighting and tables. From sinuous to geometric, earthy to colorful, there’s something for every designer who’s too busy designing to make it to market.

Duna chair by André Gurgel and Felipe Bezerra for Tissot Móveis.

Duna chair by André Gurgel and Felipe Bezerra for Tissot Móveis. Photo courtesy of Interior Design.

American Institute of Architects Leads Country in Commitment to Diversity

According to Architectural Record, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) intends to redesign the profession’s commitment to diversity, and recently released its Diversity and Inclusiveness recommendations in a new report that took 14 months to complete.

The Commission’s work focused on the implications of increased equity, diversity, and inclusion in architecture. Highlights of the actionable recommendations:

  • Expose children and families to architecture through K–12 Programs, with elements that help underrepresented groups to discover architecture.
  • Develop self-assessment tools to collect data on diversity and inclusion issues in the biannual AIA Firm Survey. Use results to establish best practices.
  • Create and publish best practice guidelines for architectural practices, covering such themes as career progression, work culture, pay equity, and talent recruitment.

This follows AIA’s $1 million contribution to its Diversity Expansion Scholarship, announced late last year in Architect’s Newspaper. Both summaries describe an AIA that is still finding its footing in the area of workplace diversity and the educational programs that will make it possible.

In the end, though, it was this article from The Architects Newspaper that gave us hope and inspiration. It is about the promise of inclusiveness and integrity across the entire profession in all areas of business practice.

How does your firm approach issues of diversity and inclusiveness? If you’ve discovered or implemented your own best practices then we’d love to hear from you. We might even ask you if we may share them in this space.

Make that next Uber ride a treasure hunt for beauty, form and color. Enliven your wait on the coffee shop queue by finding something inspiring that may perk you up even more than that five dollar latte. Here are some fun finds to add to your feed, and maybe to feed your designing soul:

1. @labatrockwellgroup

Come for the kaleidoscope of the week, stay for the the true definition of visionary. The LAB at Rockwell Group is an interactive design firm within the Rockwell Group blending strategy, tech and architecture to create memorable spectacles that bring people together. From the Academy Awards to Broadway to killer hospitality environments worldwide, their work speaks for itself. In the LAB, they seek to answer a question: How do you experience a world that doesn’t yet exist, and design for it?

It was an exciting day down at @_hudsonyardsnyc with the unveiling of the new monument “Vessel” by Thomas Heatherwick

A post shared by The LAB at Rockwell Group (@labatrockwellgroup) on

2. @michellenussbaumer

Our friend, designer Michelle Nussbaumer, has a dreamy travelogue of an Instagram. The editors of Architectural Digest named it among their “musts” last year, and we agree. With beautiful rooms of her own design, like the one pictured below in Mexico, as well as insightful and delightful snaps from her world travels, and her latest vintage and antique furniture and accessory finds for her peerless Dallas design emporium Ceylon at Cie, Michelle never disappoints. And, if you love her feed, you might wish to procure her new book, Wanderlust (Rizzoli), which has been flying off shelves from coast to coast.

I created this outdoor sala in Mexico to feel colonial but it’s all brand new. #mexicolindo #mntrippin

A post shared by MichelleNussbaumer (@michellenussbaumer) on

3. @studiomk27

This Brazilian architecture firm has a richly varied and often very tongue-in-cheek Insta’. We can’t stop watching the strange, slightly grainy black and white video of a uniformed housekeeper, complete with starched hat and white gloves, doing a little curtsey before pulling a carved wooden screen across what appears to be a lovely modern interior. We don’t get it, and we don’t have to. Architect Marcio Kogan has something here. It makes us smile. Italian ELLE magazine’s editors loved it, too.

Casa Abre e Fecha ??? 2016

A post shared by studio mk27 (@studiomk27) on

4. @design_bitches

Architects Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, AKA “Design, Bitches” bring their eclectic expertise to Instagram. Their playful feed gives bite sized glimpses of their own restaurant designs, global collaborations in brand identity, commercial spaces, residential and cultural buildings. Their client list includes such diverse entities as Google, Rag & Bone, Coolhaus and Whole Foods Markets. The resulting Insta’ is so fab you almost don’t mind that their genius may be one reason you have to pay $6 for that scrumptious Coolhaus ice cream sandwich. They sprinkle the feed with scenes from their travels and quickie caprices like rainbows, blinky lights and, shown below, Disney’s Space Mountain, snapped at magic hour, when the light is just perfect.


A post shared by Design, Bitches (@design_bitches) on

5. @roomonfire

If you’re mesmerized by circular staircases, rapt at repetition as a design statement and swoon over enfilade, this is the feed for you. Both stunning in its imagery and disciplined in its editing, Room on Fire satisfies. It is curated from things around the web by interior designer and stylist Chloe McCarthy. There’s also a Room on Fire Tumblr. This Insta’ isn’t only fun to follow, it is also an object lesson in Instagram best practices. She manages to achieve continuity while always offering up something new. And she gives credits where credits are due.

Would we love your Instagram? If so, please let us know using #CryptonFabric! And don’t forget to follow us @CryptonFabric!