2017 Design Bloggers Conference Highlights

By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

The last Design Bloggers Conference I attended was at least four years ago, and it has grown substantially since then. Over 350 designers attended from around the world.

Many great speakers shared actionable tips that you will want to know about… here are a few of the highlights.

Gail Doby & Adam Japko

Jason Oliver Nixon & Gail Doby

Monetize Your Blog
There are ways to monetize your blog – the more followers you have, the more likely you are to get clients and potential brand sponsors who are willing to pay you for an ad or banner on your blog.

Instagram Drives Traffic (When Done Well)
Your posts need to be “art directed” for best results. Carefully curate your content and post at least once a day – preferably up to three times. Your pictures drive people to your other channels like your blog or website.

Best Topics To Increase Your Instagram Traffic

  • Top 10 Lists
  • Trend Watch
  • Market Recaps
  • New Product Introductions
  • Gift Guides, Host & Hostess Gifts
  • Sale Watch (like One Kings Lane)
  • Recommended “calls to action” include a Newsletter sign-up, attend our meet-up, etc.

Instagram Success Story
Studio McGee has 410K Instagram followers and almost all of their business comes from there. They started their business four years ago and they now have 30 employees.

How To Take Compelling Pictures

  • Make people smile with your photos and captions.
  • Post regularly
  • Lighting is important – light and bright,
  • Always edit photos

Photo Editing Apps

  • Pic-Tap-Go
  • VSCO
  • SnapSeed
  • TouchFreeTouch

Use Pinterest To Drive Traffic

Timothy Corrigan – Keynote Speaker – The Big Reveal
(Timothy used to work for the Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency, so his tips focused on branding and promoting your brand.) Timothy spoke about Brand Experience: Expectations, Memories, Stories, Relationships = Client Choice. “Oh that’s the firm that __.” You need to be able to fill in the blank and that determines your brand message.

Brooke and Steve Gianetti – Keynote
Their palette and vision is comfortable, warm and inspiring. Their book flows beautifully from their vision and view of the world. I recommend buying their books Patina Style & Patina Farm.

The Making Of Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magic World – Keynote
Ken Fulk’s creativity was quite fascinating and inspiring. He creates dramatic designs and delivers the finished projects with an intricately designed reveal for the senses. I highly recommend reading his book, Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World, for ideas about creating an experience.

Develop Your Content Strategy – Hubspot representative – Dylan Sellberg
Focus on the core topic that relates to your client’s “pain” and develop subtopics off of that. The core topic is the center of the flower and the subtopics are the petals. Make sure to focus on the emotional reasons that your clients hire you.

Marketing To Millenials – Barclay Butera, Michelle Nussbaumer & Mat Sanders
Millenials (born around 1980 – 2000ish) are interested in the story behind the brand,. They often have a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). They like vertical images (probably because they are addicted to their cell phones), and high contrast images (black & white).

They can be impatient – for example, they want immediate responses preferably by text, they want quick customization, a smooth process, a responsive website (mobile friendly), stripes, eclectic vintage, comfort, a feeling of being cocooned, a collaborative process, intense color, curated interiors, behind the scenes stories and aspirational photos.

Michelle’s work is stunning and colorful – I recommend getting her book, too – Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring The World Home.

Make Sure Your Website Is Search Engine Optimized
Check your website with testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com – will give the search engine friendliness of your site which is part of the algorithm for sending traffic to you.

There were so many topics and speakers that deserved a mention. My apologies to the other worthy speakers that I didn’t highlight. Next time!

Join our private LinkedIn Group and get answers to your questions. Our community is supportive and welcoming – we can’t wait to connect with you!

Posted in

Gail Doby

Gail, with her team at Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting, has helped more than 10,000 designers in 76 countries. Many of them have achieved amazing results... doubling, tripling (and more) their revenue and profit... with clarity and confidence. Gail and her team build one-of-a-kind experiences, walking beside Interior Designers to help them create and implement their plans.
What's Your Interior Designer Persona?
What's Your Interior Designer Persona?
Easy Budget Calculator Tool
7 Steps to Interior Design Success Checklist
The VIP Experience


  1. […] Facebook and Instagram. Consistency is the key to success with social media. Be sure to read my Design Bloggers Conference blog post for fresh […]

  2. […] You need to “art direct” your shots so they are consistent with your brand. Be sure to read my Design Bloggers Conference Post for actionable […]

  3. […] Facebook and Instagram. Consistency is the key to success with social media. Be sure to read my Design Bloggers Conference blog post for fresh […]

  4. Anne Marlborough on April 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Looks like it was an amazing event!! Glad to know about it—for next year!

  5. Celeste on February 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Gail, Since meeting you in Chicago I’m taking more time to read your newsletters & blogposts. You’re a valuable source to our trade. I’ll continue to delve in and when I get clearer on what I want my future to look like in this industry (been a designer for 28 years) I’ll be in touch for some additional direction. Thank you for all you do!

Leave a Comment