The Most Important New Tool for Architects: Instagram

In the current iteration of our digital age, Instagram is king in the social media. Boasting 1 billion (yes, with a "b") active monthly users, if you are a business and not on Instagram, you are missing out.

Given the visual nature of the platform, architects and designers have flocked to the platform, using it to market their work, promote new ideas, and even pull in commissions. Other aggregator accounts use the platform to find and foster new talent, creating an entirely digital architectural community that is open to all.

© Flickr user Perzonseo Webbyra licensed under CC BY 2.0

But while the platform is bursting with design inspiration, it's also interesting to take a look at the way businesses use the platform to share architecture. Highlighted in this article are a few that represent a range of experiences, while ultimately achieving the same thing: increased public interest in architecture.

In order to fully grasp the main idea illustrated in this case study of sorts, it's helpful to understand how most architecture firms are currently using Instagram so that you really appreciate those a step ahead.

When Instagram started in 2010, it was conceived as little more than novelty platform on which you could share and view pictures with friends and family. Since then, the platform has evolved dramatically. Key additions in the last years including Stories, video, direct messaging, advertising, and most recently, Instagram TV (IGTV) have greatly increased the creative potential available on the platform. The overall quality of the content on Instagram has also grown alongside the platform itself. The camera in your pocket (your smartphone) is now often superior even to the point-and-shoot cameras on the market - the success of Instagram is part of the reason why. You have the power to take a near-professional quality image, edit that image to your liking with incredibly powerful post-production apps, and then share it with the world all at the tips of your fingers.

But of course, the ease and availability of such tools has a flipside: anything less than top quality will no longer cut it. There is no excuse for painfully blurry site construction photos, even less for those hastily composed, dimly lit, "studio desk" photos. Where is the creative spirit? Beyond just simply sharing your work, architects have a respected reputation for creating beautiful things, which should be carried throughout their work, regardless of media (built, drawn, digital, or otherwise.)  

Laney LA (@laneylainc) is a California-based residential firm that utilizes nearly every aspect of Instagram to not only provide a behind-the-scenes look at their young studio but ultimately have a conversation about design with its community of nearly 10K followers. At first glance, any of their content immediately envokes a sense of design. Whether it's a crisp 3D-model or a skeleton-framing site photo paired with the exterior rendering, each post provides a peek into the overall design intent of their projects. The firm also takes advantage of an often neglected aspect of Instagram: stories. Co-founder and Partner Anthony Laney (@anthonylaney) often shares office design presentations or site visits, but every time with a consistent composition that reflects the firm its vision for architecture and design.

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Instagram can also be utilized as a means to explore and share ideas behind a specific style of design. There are a plethora of database-like accounts that showcase work from various users, but one specific creator named Zean Macfarlane (@zeanmacfarlane) uses the platform to share visualizations that reflect graphic collages. Macfarlane is one of many creators like this (perhaps KooZA/rch is the best known), but he has grown a following of nearly 60K around his unique style and continues to contribute to the digital drawing conversation daily.

Beulah International, the development firm behind the recent Melbourne landmark Southbank Precinct overhaul, created an impressive social media campaign to drum up more interest and community engagement in the process of choosing a proposal. While they are not an architecture or design firm, the purpose behind the campaign remained the same: create curated content meant to excite the public and increase interest in the project.

The investment should be made in creating content worthy of the architectural design standard.

About this author
Cite: Collin Abdallah. "The Most Important New Tool for Architects: Instagram" 28 Aug 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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