Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pinterest: Image and the Crafting Pattern

This gorgeous flower is from the cotinis stream on Flickr.
The original, along with his other gorgeous photos, can be found here

I've been doing a lot of reading lately of the business journals and it has me thinking about the power of the image. There's a lot of talk on the Internet now about Pinterest, and I've been following the phenomenon with some interest, as its changing the design community. Patterns that used to be sold in a book with no picture are now full of splashy photography in order to make the sale.

Take easy knit baby hats, for example. Most are the same instructions - cast on a certain number of stitches, knit for 5-7 inches, then start a set system of decreases until the hat is bound off, or from the other direction, cast on just a couple stitches, increase until a set size, and then knit until long enough. Most designers now are adding a few more flourishes, such as lace, animal ears, colorwork, etc.

Pretty easy instructions, right? It can be on a handout, a notepad, anything. Back in the day, we were happy to get some photos at all, and it was hoped that they showed key details. I did a search on Ravelry for paid knit baby hats with most projects and least projects.

Least

Most

Look at the difference between the two. Both have action and flat shots, and both look like they would make serviceable hat patterns that would be well loved by their recipients. Yet the teddy bear hat has 190 projects, and the other has 1. The difference: look at the quality. The teddy bear hat has professional looking prhotography, lots of of photos with variety, including detail shots. The other hat has worse lighting, less detail in the shots, and overall, looks like a amateur photo. The ideal search item via image, rather than via pattern instruction.

Would this have made a difference ten years ago? Not really. The designer of the teddy bear hat might have garnered some attention via her blog, but the other hat could have easily been posted on craftster or other craft forums and had tons of projects.

Pinterest really brings this issue home. Check out the results of a search there. You'd think there were only a few producers because of the amount of repins of certain images. Yet in reality, there are thousands of patterns out there for a baby hat. But the ones with the best images rise to the top.

We are at the forefront of the digital catalog taking photography to the forefront of crafting businesses. Are you getting ready for it?
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