And the Winner Is: Prestige Mills

Prestige Mills – Original Photo

[A version of this article appeared in print in the May 2016 issue of Rug News andDesign Magazine.]

The Focus Group: a gathering of designers and photographers based in Los Angeles. They looked at the February 2016 Lifestyle pictures. The February theme was ECLECTIC.

In general, the group was split in two about the preferred style. The overall feeling about the room shots was, “what are they trying to promote?” and “what are they trying to sell?” The pictures that had a bird’s eye view and took some artistic license were better received than the room shots, due to the angle of the camera.

Prestige Mills - As appeared in the magazine
Prestige Mills – Magazine View

First place: Prestige Mills. The bird’s eye view of a chair and a table drew the viewer straight into the scene. The rug popped off the page. Our experts commented, “It made me wonder what type of person lived there.” “The photo was clean and simple. I could imagine what the whole space looked like.”


The description for this photo was “Prestige Mills Sonar in Twilight is a unique and refreshing design that will enliven any space. It has a loop pile.” One response was, “I like the simple description ‘enliven any space’ because it balanced the visual well.” Another said, “Knowing it was a loop pile was enough information on how it was made.”

Second Place: Marcia Weese

Marcia Weese - Original Photo
Marcia Weese – Original Photo
Marcia Weese - Magazine View
Marcia Weese – Magazine View

“Dogs make homes feel lived in.” “A dog on a handknotted rug shows durability without using the word durability.” “The angle of the camera allows for us to focus on the rug, while also giving detail of the dog’s face. The focus is on the relationship of one on top of the other. Very nice.” “The curvature of the dog’s body to the curves of the rug makes me want to see the bigger picture—I want to know more.”

The description for this rug was, “Striations of color intersect and are bound by huge circles in this hand knotted rug by Tibetan weavers in Nepal with silk accents.” One comment was, “Why do I need to know it has silk accents? I like knowing about Tibetan weavers, adds a bit of je ne sais quoi.” “I felt the description did not pull me in as much as the dog did.”

Margo Selby - Original Photo
Margo Selby – Original Photo

Third Place: Margo Selby

“The colors and placement of the rugs gave off a feeling of artwork placed on a wall.” “Its linear layout drew me in, clean lines, no fuss.” “The color popped and left me to imagine the space it would go into.”

Margo Selby - Magazine View
Margo Selby – Magazine View

The description given was, “Color is a significant motivation in Margo’s work, which has been inspired by a wide range of sources, including indigenous textiles from around the world, graphic design and architecture.” We heard, “I like how the verbal explanation balances the pictorial description.”

The top three winners have a common thread in the discussion of why they were chosen:

  1. Angle of the camera. it would seem the bird’s eye view or high up with an angle of at least 45 degrees were the favored viewpoints.
  2. How the verbal description and the pictorial view balanced one another. The information was simple and clean, and phrased in a way that had you asking for more.
  3. The pictures gave you insight into possibilities, they gave a little bit of a story but allowed for the individual to make up the rest.
  4. The focus was on the rug.

Honorable Mention goes to Jaipur Lifestyle and Creative Matters

Jaipur Lifestyle

Jaipur Lifestyle had a great room setting overall. One comment was, “I love the dogs but I felt too much was going on. Why is the purse placed there? Wouldn’t the dog have knocked over the purse in getting on the chair?” “The table is putting me off but that might just be me, I wouldn’t have polka dots with that rug.” “What is the focus, what are they trying to sell, the purse?” “I think the room setting is great, but they should have been shooting from a different angle. This just isn’t focusing in on the main product.” “Seeing it both in original form and the oval form of the magazine, this picture does do better as a square, but it seems to have a lot of dead space on the wall.”

Overall, Jaipur Lifestyle was captivating. It lead the group to discuss the pros and cons of camera angles, if more is less or less is more. The description was, “Noho by Kate Spade is a hand knotted rug crafted with wool and art silk for a lustrous finish. The 110 line construction created a marbleized abstract motif of exceptional quality.” The overall feeling was that the description did not balance the photograph. As one person said, “What is 110 line construction, why is it important? We never use those terms to describe clothes?” “Knowing it is a Kate Spade rug does explain why the picture has a purse in it.” “Marbleized, cool, but I wouldn’t have known that is what they wanted me to focus on, by the picture.

Creative Matters
Creative Matters

Creative Matters had clean lines. The description in the magazine was, “This is an exciting piece for any edgy space. The Hydrangea-Charcoal area hand knotted rug embellishes a contemporary background with eggplant and charcoal.” The description left a few questions. “I know they mean the rug’s background is eggplant but it really sounds like they mean the wall background.” “I liked the first line of the description but then it didn’t follow up with why it was edgy.” “Can we talk about the black chair? The red lamp was great but the chair seems like a black hole, and it touches the black painting.” “I am all for black, but I agree. It seems this picture is about the chair and red lamp, not the rug.” “I love the red lamp.” “If they had only looked down into the room, not straight into the room, I think I would really think this space was edgy.” “They are overreaching with the description of edgy. Seems they are trying too hard for a rug that is edgy but shown wrong.” The Creative Matters photo almost made it with this group. The main problem was, “what was the focus, the furniture or the rug?”

Leslie Stroh, Senior Editor, Comments:

In the April issue, Rug News andDesign presented an article looking at both camera angle and size of rug, featuring a Dalyn rug. The pictures were taken from the ceiling down, instead of at eye level. As we have noted before, the rug industry sells rugs on the floor, not walls. The other subject from that April article was sizing the rug to the room, which raised different and interesting issues. The presentation of rugs online and in-print is changing—as we see from multi-pound in-print catalogs that emanate once or twice a year from major retailers, and 32-48 page sales pieces we see from accessory fashion houses. The reason we continue to present “And The Winner Is…” is to take the opportunity to discuss these issues.