This is how he developed a 1.2 million design lovers’ community on Instagram
Phil Darwen, with his architecture & design page 'A Designer's Mind', is one of the top Instagram influencers
This demonstrates, once again, how broad is the variety of approaches and backgrounds behind a digital success.
I am very happy to share his interview because Phil’s account is one of those I have been following since the very beginning of DesignWanted.
It has been a precious source of inspiration, not only thinking of the projects he publishes, but also because I have been learning a lot in terms of Instagram management.
He definitely knows how to take care of his community. For this reason, you should hurry to follow ‘A Designer’s Mind’ on Instagram!
More about A Designer’s Mind
- Name: @adesignersmind
- Owner: Phil Darwen
- Founded in: 2012
- About: Good design focused on architectural, landscape, furniture, lighting and lifestyle design
- Nationality: Australian
- Education: Building & Interior Designer
- Interests: Design, Movies
Ciao Phil, what made you start the ‘A Designer’s Mind’ project?
I like to showcase images that are unique and relatable.
Everyone has dreams of the mansion in the hills, a cottage on a lake, or an inner-city apartment with panoramic views, but not everyone can have it.
If I can show my followers how to take those ideas and incorporate elements of good design into their lifestyle (no matter what their budget) then my followers have been able to expand their notion of design to both themselves and those around them.
Why did you decide to start an Instagram account about architecture & design? What were your initial goals?
Initially, I began the Instagram account as purely a personal account to share images of my own projects with people I knew in the design industry.
It wasn’t until I began to accumulate followers that I decided to convert it to a more professional Instagram feed that helped to promote and encourage good design.
My initial goals when I converted the account from my own name to A Designer’s Mind was to help people understand the benefits of good design as it related to their own built environment.
I tried to showcase elements of design that could be used by the average person when renovating or building. Kind of like Pinterest, but in a format that was slightly more structured.
How much work does Instagram require in order to grow like you did?
In it’s infancy, ‘A Designer’s Mind’ went through a few different types of posting formats.
I started off with staging the posts at various times of the day to gauge follower interaction.
I also went through a period of posting a series of three images one after the other, but with a common theme (themes such as glass bridges, home libraries, kitchen storage ideas).
I started becoming more used to using hashtags to promote images to those that might be searching for particular imagery or inspiration.
This helped a lot to generate ‘word-of-mouth’ followers. I am particularly proud of the fact that I have never bought followers.
‘A Designer’s Mind’ has been allowed to grow organically.
Why should designers (of any kind) invest their efforts in developing an Instagram account? Is that so important nowadays?
Instagram is a fantastic medium with which any designer can use to get their “products” out into the world to engage with a global audience without huge costs.
It’s also a great way to gauge feedback and comment on new products, services or designs.
I think that with the world being such a socially connected network (Instagram, Facebook, etc), it is important to realise that having an active social media presence can really help a business grow beyond the reach of their local area.
How do you search for content? What are your favorite sources?
One of the main points I focus on as the sole operator of A Designer’s Mind is that I only post images of designs that I like.
I get a large amount of people submitting work for possible promotion on my feed, but I don’t just post anything and everything that gets sent to me.
I have to be selective in order to maintain the integrity of my feed.
I like to browse a variety of sources (including other Instagram feeds), but the majority of my images are sourced from Pinterest.
Which are the criteria designers should consider in order to be featured on your page? And how could they reach you and submit their work?
If designers want to submit their work to me for consideration, they have to be aware of the style of imagery that my feed promotes.
I’m not going to go from posting an image of a stunning kitchen or swimming pool to then posting a picture of something that is obviously incongruous to what I like.
If a designer has an image that they feel could suit my feed, then all they have to do is send me a couple of sample images via email and we go from there.
Could you give our readers 3 golden rules to properly manage their Instagram accounts in terms of content and growth?
1- First and foremost is to post regularly. I’ve followed accounts that only post images sporadically and with days, weeks, and even months between posts, and that leads to disinterest. Get your posts out there regularly to let your followers know all sides to you.
2- Second would be to use hashtags. Hashtags are a way of promoting your images to people as they search Instagram for various “topics”. This is the way that my own account has grown organically.
3- Third rule would to interact with your followers. You don’t need to follow all of your followers back, but if your followers take the time to comment on your post then send a reply now and then. All my followers are important to me, and I would be unable to comment back to all of them, but a reply here and there is always appreciated by both sides.
What are your next steps? Any new project coming along with Instagram?
I have been steadily building the brand of ‘A Designer’s Mind’ and my future plans involve taking that brand out of the digital world and into the real world. A retail store is definitely among those plans!
As for any new projects coming along with Instagram, well I guess you’ll just have to follow and find out! 😉