d*s on pinterest!

by Grace Bonney

Living room image above via Emily SummersColeman Coker via Fauxology

I’m excited to announce that D*S is branching out this week with two fun new projects. The first is the creation of a Design*Sponge page on Pinterest! Despite working online, I can be slow and skeptical about adopting new tech or social networking platforms. Just ask AC — it took me two years to get into Twitter, and now it’s a huge (and hugely enjoyable) part of my day-to-day life. Amy has been asking me to consider Pinterest for a while now (along with a lot of you reading), and I’ve been resistant for several reasons. First, I’ve always seen D*S as my own personal Pinterest — a place to talk about and share the things I love, both in pictures and words. Second, I’ve been pretty vocal online about the problems I had with images being taken from original content creators (bloggers, photographers, stylists, etc.) and re-pinned without any credit or support for the maker. That said, my opinions on Pinterest changed pretty dramatically after this year’s Alt Summit.

Ben, the founder of Pinterest, gave an honest, passionate and realistic talk about the beginnings of his business and what his goals for it were. I responded so strongly to his beliefs as a business owner and the respectful way he handled the crowd feedback (including the issues I mentioned above) that I came home and started talking with our team about creating a page and, if we did, what our reason/goal for it would be.

In the same way that Twitter has given me a new and different way to communicate with the community I love, we’ll use Pinterest to do something slightly different than what we do here on D*S. We’ll keep the same guiding principles behind the main blog but extend them by using the boards to give you real-time look into our main team’s design interests.

Here’s what we’ll be doing: Each month, we will pick two main trends we’re loving and gather images that best exemplify it. We talk about trends here on the blog, but we don’t get to flesh them out on a daily basis, so I’m excited to have a place where we can explore two distinct trends in a deeper way.

Image above: Neil Conley

To start, Kate and Amy have created boards celebrating our current obsessions: NAVY BLUE & COPPER. While we’ve discussed these in posts before, on our Pinterest page you’ll find dozens of extra images and ideas that you won’t see on the main site. Think of it as our own personal design obsessions organized and arranged in a way that lets you fall a little deeper down the trend rabbit hole. Click here to check out this month’s selections and see what else we’re interested in. I know I’m going to be pinning some new copper images today; it’s my favorite look to obsess over these days. xo, grace

*For those who’ve been asking, we will be adding a “pin this” button to D*S in our next round of website revisions.

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  • I appreciate the thought you put into your plan and moving forward with Pinterest. It’s going to be FABULOUS like everything else you do. Can’t wait to follow and get pinning.

  • I’m following!
    I love pinterest. I also find it easier to credit original sources there than on other social networking sites, and when you embed a pin, it includes the original web source when it’s available.

  • yay! welcome! i was a twitter person for a while but eventually lost interest. now i’m a hardcore pinterest person and love that it’s a huge source of inspiration for everything from recipes to books to wedding planning (i’m getting married in summer 2013)! follow me at: http://pinterest.com/lilolivebranch!

  • Great to hear you are embracing this new platform. With items being repinned without credit to the original source, I don’t consider it completely fair that Pinterest gets blamed for this – the same thing happens all over the web (hello, Flickr inspiration boards), and in fact, Pinterest does a better job of it than most by automatically linking to the source (even if that source sometimes isn’t the original).

    I try always to follow a source to it’s origin before pinning it – pinning from the source, if you will – and I think anyone showing their respect for content creators should try and do the same. It’s a new platform, so it’s up to the early adopters to establish best practices on it rather than simply dismissing it offhand!

  • Thank you for your honesty and well thought out approach to the rapidly changing technical landscape in which we inhabit! I too have issues of jumping on every social media bandwagon, feeling it takes me away from my main goal and passion, multicultural weddings and practical event planning. If we switch out thinking and use these products to further our original goal, I think there can be a place for it all. Thanks for staying true and innovative at the same time.
    de Lovely Affair

  • I love how you’re going beyond just pinning images and integrating Pinterest with your blog goals. So uniquely D*S! welcome aboard

  • Pinterest is a lot of fun and a good way to find people who have similar tastes to your own; I’ve just been getting into it myself. As Christine said, I hope you can help spread the word and practice of pinning to the original source. I know people don’t ignore proper crediting maliciously or in a conniving way by any means, they just don’t know any better, but it’s the same reason using Pinterest gave me pause.

    I think a good start would be for Pinterest to say “please add the name of the original source and the photographer/designer/etc. as best you can” in the spot where they force you to describe your pin. If the internet were impossibly perfect, Pinterest would require this.

  • I totally understand and agree that it’s wrong that people take images and content from other peoples’ blogs to use as their own, without giving credit. But I’ve never seen this as an issue with Pinterest since if I pin something from a blog, it links back directly to that blog. I only sometimes type out the source in my description (like “love this lamp, via Design*Sponge”), figuring it’s not really the same since it does link back. It’s interesting to hear that has been a topic of concern to bloggers, since I never really considered it a problem. I will start being more mindful of noting the source of the images I pin.

  • love pinterest! its been instrumental in helping define my own style and another way to study design trends. and i see it as a networking tool for bloggers.

  • I agree with concerns about crediting original content creators and appreciate the steps you’ve taken to do so on Pinterest. A larger concern for me, however, is that searching Pinterest is hampered greatly by the absence of a description of what the photo depicts. If I’d like to see images, for example, of a wood and stainless steel fireplace, your tag of “Sarah Foelske and James Milward” will not lead me there. Pinterest is a treasure trove of design inspiration but its capabilities will be limited until the company sorts out the descriptors and search functionality.

  • So glad you created a Pinterst page! And I love that you choose to do boards by theme. So creative and it really add to what you already do here without duplicating the blog. Very well done.

  • Love, love, love this ;) It took me ‘like forever’ to give in to Pinterest…I was so leery about having one more account to log-in to! I’m a pretty new pinner – just starting to get my feet wet – but so far I’m lovin’ it.
    Just “followed” all your boards and am pumped to watch you explore more deeply the trends you’re so passionate about. Cheers!

  • I think it’s great! I have to also say that I have discovered so many AMAZING bloggers out there solely because of Pinterest and I do my best to always seek out new bloggers to help gain readership for them by pinning directly from their sites. Can’t wait to see what you post!

  • Hooray, glad you decided to get on the train. I agree with your concerns and I especially have an issue with the way things are pinned via Tumblr. I also wish they’d bring back tags as I found them very useful!

  • Using Pinterest is stealing pure and simple. I’m a photographer who spends an enormous amount of time on my images and the only compensation I ask for is credit. And Pinterest (along with other sites) make it very difficult to receive that credit. But let’s look at this in another more readily understandable way. Suppose you bake a great cake — you go out and buy that expensive chocolate, you spend time mixing and baking, then you set this tasty treat on your table- and someone comes along and grabs the cake and serves it to their friends. That’s stealing. Taking someone else’s intellectual property is no different than taking their cake. And until Pinterest comes out with a way to readily credit intellectual property I can’t use it. And by-the-way they’ll do that faster if bloggers boycott them. So unless you have no real moral compass don’t use Pinterest. Respect the cake.

    • baker martin

      i understand your point of view and have spoken pretty extensively on that issue online. i agree there are major issues with crediting happen, however, we plan to use pinterest in a way that respects, credits and supports photographers. not everyone using pinterest is ignoring copyright laws- and we plan to be an example of how you can use it without stealing material or improperly crediting.


  • Grace:
    Regarding your exchange with Baker Martin, can you explain that in more detail. I checked out your pinterest and it didn’t look different from the normal way people are pinning. I love to have a good model for the right way to do it to respect the concerns of folks like Baker.

    • anne

      to greatly summarize my main problem with pinterest: people often take images from blogs, tumblr pages or other pinterest pages and credit those sites, rather than the original source. for example, someone scans in a page from vogue, doesn’t credit it and then that person’s pinterest page gets credit, not the magazine, photographer or stylist. we have it happen with us all the time and it means people can’t find the information they need or support an artist/photog/stylist they now like.

      so for our page, we will be linking all images to their original source, whether it’s a retail page (ie: photos owned by the store), photographer or stylist. if we can’t find the original source, we won’t use it.

      what i was excited about hearing from pinterest is the way they’ll be allowing crowd-sourcing to add credits. for example, if you saw an image on someone’s pinterest page with no credit, you could add one and it would update the entire chain of pins with the correct credit.


  • Here’s two great articles that talk about copyright and crediting. I know I’ve tried to be diligent, but admittedly repin sometimes (OK, frequently) without checking that it goes to the original source. I’ve also pinned items in the past that link to designsponge.com rather than the source. I’m much better about it now – but should take the time to go back and check my older pins. Unfortunately, repinning is so easy to do without any regard to the site it came from.



    I’m already following your boards and am super excited to repin – I’m hopeful your pins will link back to the source and not to the blog :)

    • Krystal

      Anything we use will be credited to the proper source. I know it requires more work, but I hope everyone will understand the reason why- it’s about supporting creators of original content and artwork. I’ve seen people get jobs through the right person finding their work online and Pinterest is another place that can happen if people just knew who created the image or object they like.


  • Hi Grace,
    I too am a slow adopter of new technologies but have just found myself signing up to Pinterest because it seems like such a great way of exchanging ideas.
    On another note, I just want to say how much I appreciate the candid voice and level of honesty that you have brought to DS posts. I love hearing about how the blog has evolved over the years.
    Thank you.

  • Baker, Becky, Grace – I’ve had the same issue about joining Pinterest and using images from Pinterest on my blog – I cringe when I read blogs and see the image source listed as “Pinterest.” But I finally caved (like, only last week) and joined. Upon joining I found a bunch of images that were linked to my blog, so what I did was list the photographer, or original source in the comments field (even though, if someone followed the link all the way to my blog, they’d find the original source too). I’ve had conversations with copyright, and properly crediting and have greatly benefited from Grace’s advice and her ethics, so my approach is the same – Don’t pin or use images from Pinterest UNLESS I can find the original source (beyond the blog source), and then when I see images on Pinterest and know where they came from (whether a magazine, or photographer, or blog, or Etsy shop, I’ll comment with the credit info) – My way of “do unto others, as you’d have them do unto you.” I hope if anyone who saw any images from my blog that were photographed by me, would do the same courtesy.
    Krystal, TY for the links to those articles. I’m going to check them out tonight!

  • Grace as you mentioned do you know if there is a way to correct someone else’s pin? I know I’ve seen things that have been posted here or from another site that do not lead back to the correct source.

    • I think the best option is to add a comment below the pin with the correct link/credit – or you can repin and edit your own version of the pin with the proper information. Hope this helps!

  • I’m following you in Pinterest and really encouraged to see you take this step as I know how vocal you are on crediting ethics. I’m a bit concerned today though as have just come across articles on the web highlighting the fact that Pinterest’s terms of use cite explicitly that by pinning anything you take responsibility for that image – i.e. you imply you have permission and/or ownership of that image. Also that Pinterest claim the RIGHTS of any and all imagery on Pinterest – meaning if they want to make a t-shirt with one of my embroideries on it, they can and I can’t stop them. I know many bloggers have started deleting their Pinterest accounts because of this. I don’t want to quit Pinterest as I love it so much and find it so useful and inspirational, but really interested to know your views on this considering your interaction with Ben from Pinterest? Even if I credit properly, I don’t want to unwittingly exploit, or be exploited.

    • katie

      i’ve been sharing my views above in the comment section. while i was indeed very moved by ben’s speech at alt and thought he was a good, nice person (everyone i know that knows him swears by how sweet and kind he is), i think a lot of large businesses are set up that way these days that allow them to own anything you post there and have language in contracts that protect themselves from legal attacks. that said, when i saw ben’s speech, my primary concern was proper crediting. i didn’t know about the copyright claims or affiliate links until afterward. naturally now im back on the iffy side and feeling like it’s something that may lead me to close our account. i’m not sure yet- i’m reading everything i can get my hands on and trying to see what’s the best thing to do.

      i think if most of us are being honest, the main issue is that pinterest drives a lot of traffic to people’s sites. so most bloggers aren’t going to want to close their account for that reason. but at the end of the day, d*s has always been driven by creative and ethical decisions, so i’m trying to make sure i keep that in the forefront of my mind. i’m talking with my team regularly about this and hope that we can find some clarity on the copyright issues soon. the affiliate links bother me, but since I’M not profiting off of them, i don’t feel guilty about not being transparent with my readers. that said, i do feel very uncomfortable about the copyright issues being raised.


  • I am interested in this debate about crediting original sources and as a new user of Pinterest, I try to credit the original source -but I do sometimes let the speed and ease of pinning take over my good will ;( But I see mostly photographers concerned, and what interests me, as a designer, is why this sensitivity is not extended to designers- whether interiors, architecture, landscape, graphics or products. I see many design blogs use photos of beautiful elements and I do not see the creator of the element credited (sometimes, but mostly not) but do see the photographer (mostly, but sometimes not). While I understand the artistry, technical and copyright issues of photography, I do in think our visual creative world that the designer deserves more credit than the photographer! At the very least, equal credit!!!! And it would seem to me that the opportunity for giving credit falls to both the photographer and the seller/manufactuer who is most likely the photographer’s client. So how about fair play to the ORIGINAL sources?!!! What do you think about artistic credit to the designer?

    • jen

      i think the original debate was around EVERYONE being credited- not just photographs. but there are definite issues with the photographers because all they own are those photos- and if their copyright is given away they’re kind of screwed. whereas if it’s a ceramicist whose work is photographed, pinterest doesn’t own the copyright to the design, just the photo of the design. so there’s an extra layer/issue there with photographers.


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