A quick scroll through @designlovefest on Instagram reveals a few key elements: a cohesive color palette, some endearing quirks, and calm, inviting images that make you wish you could dive into the confines of each little square box.
Bri Emery, the woman behind Designlovefest, is a creative director, product designer, and design blogger based in Los Angeles. We hopped on the phone with her to chat about inspiring paint colors, producing more authentic content on social media, and her biggest design predictions for 2018.
Emery first got her start in the design world in college, where she studied graphic design.
“Right out of college, I was working full-time as a graphic designer in a 9:00-5:00 job,” Emery explained. “It was just not my vibe there and I felt really uninspired, but I did know that I was very drawn to design. At the time, blogs were a very inspirational place to go, so I was constantly looking at work on a million different sites.”
One day, she decided to create a blog of her own. When the set-up process required her to name the site, she simply typed “Designlovefest” without giving it a second thought.
“I didn’t even think about it because I thought it was just going to be a little diary for myself,” Emery said. “I used to post on it 20 times a day. It was kind of Pinterest back then, where I catalogued everything that inspired me and it gave me the hope that design was still the path I wanted to take — even if a 9:00-5:00 wasn’t for me.”
Nowadays, just as her “little diary” of design inspiration has evolved into a full-blown (and well-visited) website, her methods of finding inspiration have evolved as well.
“Back then, blogs and Tumblrs were where I found inspiration, but now I find it a lot more in traveling somewhere I’ve never been,” Emery explained. “I find a lot more of my references offline — watching old movies, or traveling to a new country. I find a lot of inspiration from just riding the train or having a wine night with a friend and talking about ideas. Obviously you can find inspiration anywhere, and it can hit you in the face just walking down the street. Sometimes I feel like it’s good to be in the mindset where you’re really open to it — that opens my mind to look around even more than I normally would.”
Last month, Emery directed a shoot inspired by the prisms in her kitchen that cast rainbows on her walls every morning.
“I think the rainbows were in my mind,” Emery said. “I know that prisms are a bit trendy but I wanted to take it to a place that felt like a vintage rainbow.”
Speaking of vintage, some of Emery’s 2018 design predictions include the continuation of ’60s and ’70s-themed visuals.
“I definitely feel like there’s going to be a color shift to darker colors and moodier imagery,” she said. “I still think the ’60s and ’70s design aesthetics will be huge influences. It still hasn’t hit mainstream fully — that flower-power vibe. I’m also seeing more organic, Picasso-inspired lines and shapes.”
Emery said she believes the new trend of film grain and imperfections is indeed a pushback against Instagram’s traditionally “perfect” blogger aesthetic.
“I think the quintessential blogger style is this bright white, coffee, pink, predictable photo, and I think that this grainy, older, nostalgic, different color palette stands out from that. It has more depth, more memory — something is more artistic about it. What I’m excited for is to look outside of what classically works as a blogger, and to push ourselves to find more authenticity and feeling — different color combinations, and basically just a less staged scene.”
But as a blogger, can it be hard to balance getting ‘likes’ with staying true to one’s artistic vision?
“Especially now with the algorithm, where it basically feels impossible to grow, putting your ideas out there that aren’t a natural hit can feel discouraging,” she said. “But also, we’re all going to have to get used to that now. It can definitely feel like you have the urge to post something that you know will work with your audience, but it never leaves you with a very good feeling at the end of the day when you’re not putting out something that really inspires you.”
Speaking of darker color trends, Emery mentioned that she recently redid the entryway of her home. With the addition of a deep teal paint, a massive Bowie photograph, and a copper accent lamp, Emery completely transformed the space.
“I recently painted my entryway with Behr’s ‘In the Moment’ color of the year,” she explained. “It’s a total switch from this bright, happy, white space — it now has this moodier, relaxing, swanky vibe every time you walk into the house. It’s definitely a confident, bold paint that feels exciting. I do feel like that’s going to translate in all sorts of blogs, Instagrams, and design trends in 2018.”