May 13, 2020

Want to Take a Selfie? Social Media’s Effect on Design

“Do you want to take a selfie?” These are words most of us have likely said at some point.  

  • Selfie with your best friend? Check.
  • Selfie during a sunset? Check.
  • Selfie at The Museum of Ice Cream? Wait, what...

Today's social media scene is dominated by unique design and interesting spaces. This is especially true for spaces that are quirky, eclectic, or what the cool kids might call “instagramable”. But what exactly does instagramable mean?

Instagramable: adjective​ - Worthy of posting on Instagram; lending itself to being photographed and ​posted on social media; photogenic; attractively wholesome 

If you have a computer or smartphone, you’re likely no stranger to Instagram. But in case you don’t, here are the basics: Instagram is a social media platform entirely dedicated to photos and videos. The photos and videos shared are snapshots of our experiences, the things we love, and places that inspire us. Instagram is famous for its filters that can make nearly any photo look better. Instagram has over 500 million active users EVERY DAY, and it’s not limited to personal pages. Many businesses are on Instagram, with active customer and follower bases. With the ability to tag companies, products, and locations, this social media platform is becoming a prevalent source for inspiration, advertisement, and brand promotion.  

Using Space to Engage Users

Now, combine the boom in social media with experiential design, and businesses are starting to understand that their space can be used to attract, inspire, and engage customers, staff, or members. With an almost limitless virtual audience, they can use this powerful platform to:

  • Share culture and values
  • Build a community of connections to increase brand awareness and loyalty
  • Attain free advertisement that showcases products and services
  • Attract high profile clients and top-notch employees
  • Determine measurable engagement results

With all this online activity, there is an entire community that is eager to soak in all information thrown at them. This community is not just looking at space as a virtual 3-second experience, they want to show up to the physical space and feel a sense of pride when engaging with the brand. Selfie Factories, such as Color Factory Co., is an example of such space with a massive social media cult following. The success of spaces like these prove to us that creating curated, well-designed environments is a valuable way to increase customers, clients, and users.

How Social Media Has Impacted Design

Although social media does not control what people post, there are certainly emerging design trends that seem to attract, inspire , and engage the public the most. These environments are all provoking the snap of a photo and sharing the experience with the online world: ​​

Funky or unique floors

  • The "shoefie" - people taking a picture of their feet on stylish flooring is an established and growing trend. In fact, hashtag #ihavethisthingwithfloors has almost 1 million posts!  
  • Tiling can spell out phrases, have unusual patterns, or radiate bold colors


When it comes to taking the perfect photo, lighting is key. The more light the better and natural light is best. However, there are also so many interesting and fun light fixtures or patterns that can really bring life to a space.

  • Flooding a space with light (ideally natural)
  • Curating and creating light fixtures to accommodate the perfect photo
  • Incorporating neon signs with playful patterns/phrases

Unique wall features

Perhaps one of the most well-known murals is the “What Lifts You" wings mural in Nashville. What makes this wall feature extra feature is its interactive quality. Other interesting wall ideas include:

  • Bold graphic murals
  • Catchy phrases
  • Unique textures
  • Interactive experiences

Abundance of plants

Plants have long been a trend for interior spaces. Bringing the outside world in has real effects on our mood and sense of place. We’re now seeing plants and foliage presented in more thoughtful and artistic ways.

  • Live walls / signage elements
  • Potted + hanging plants
  • Indoor plant life connects us to the outside world

Interactive décor + furniture

Unique furniture and décor can quickly change the feeling of a space and make it stand out from the crowd. It’s also one of the easier things to update over time as trends change.

  • Booth design completes a frame
  • Interactive furniture
  • Swings, swivel chairs, etc.
  • Unique color and pattern

While incorporating quirky, unique features into interior environments can be beneficial to a company’s success, it is important to be thoughtful in the way they are executed. Designing areas that are too perfect for everyday use can feel inauthentic and sterile. To avoid feeling like design is cooked up in a social media lab, we look to create spaces that are human-centered and interactive, while staying true to a company’s brand and values. We know that social media will likely continue to influence the way we design spaces. Being aware of trends and the value they can bring to clients is part of the fun of what we do!

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