Lucy Feagins: A decade of design, filed away

Published on 06 November 2017

As the woman behind Australia’s most-loved design blog, you probably already know her name. Lucy Feagins is a local pioneer in her field, having grown her ‘personal blog’ into𠊊 multi-channel behemoth that has not just survived, but thrived, in a challenging media landscape.

And she’s managed to do it all in an authentic way that resonates with audiences. Almost a decade after it launched, Lucy shares the journey of The Design Files. 

It was back in 2008 that Lucy launched what was at the time a personal blog. Working as a stylist, set dressing for film and television, she had been reading a lot of international design blogs (such as Design Sponge and Apartment Therapy), and realised there wasn’t really an equivalent in Australia. Inspired to start something, and already in touch with a lot of designers and brands, The Design Files (TDF) was born.

Back then, “Blogs were quite niche and nerdy,” Lucy remembers. “Not everyone had one, and brands certainly didn’t have one.” It was a lot of work, and personal time, in the first couple of years. But her instinct was right. It quickly became evident that there was a hungry audience for Australian content, and many local designers and brands who could benefit from exposure via the platform.

With her eye curating every shot and story angle, and a signature personal tone characterising the stories, the reach of TDF increased and its commercial value became apparent. “It was never intended to become a commercial operation,” says Lucy. “It’s very much been organic growth and taking opportunities as they’ve come.” And come they have, in all shapes and
sizes, from advertising space, to integrated content, social media promotion and collaborative projects.

TDF has turned into a fully-fledged business today. Lucy now has seven staff and finds herself “not doing the doing”, but more often having meetings and corralling the team. “It was a mind-set shift to turn a hobby into a business, and then another to being a ‘boss’,” she muses.
Her intuitive and personal approach, however, has remained constant. “I treat TDF as my baby,” she laughs, having had her first actual baby in January 2016. “I wear my heart on my sleeve and use my gut instinct on a lot of decisions,” she says. It’s an approach which has been crucial in maintaining authenticity — and a committed audience.

TDF also extends to live talks, workshops, and two significant events — a quarterly art exhibition series hosted in Melbourne, and The Design Files Open House, an annual showcase of 60–70 Australian designers, artists and makers. “We’re committed to doing things in the real world,” Lucy says of their work to propel TDF and its content into new areas. Next year marks 10 years of TDF, an exciting milestone for Lucy and the team. What’s next? Stay tuned.