Sydney Gore, digital design editor at Architecture Digest Just Updated the Pitch Guide For you to Get Pitching.
"if you're interested in writing for my sections at @ArchDigest, i finally got around to updating the pitch guide! as always, rates are included for transparency. freelancers, do your thing... BIPOC to the front. ["Our rates for Clever start at $200 and the majority of commissioned stories hit the 700 word mark unless otherwise specified. Home tours have a flat rate of $300 which include 600 words of body copy, photo captions, and the two lists at the end."] "
AD just published a beautiful collection of worldwide basketball courts that will blow you away.
PITCH GUIDE IS BELOW
We’re so glad you asked! Clever is a digital extension of Architectural Digest that covers design advice for real life in the form of actionable service. Our content is packaged in a way that comes across as aspirational, accessible, and attainable. We have four sections within the vertical—Decoration, Renovation, Conversation, and Shopping. 🛋️
The Clever voice is casual and conversational—like you’re talking to a friend! Clever is not about speaking to designers, it’s about homeowners taking matters into their own hands. We use the term DIY: design it yourself. At Clever, we empower our readers by providing them with the tools to create a home with an individual point of view. Our community is 244k followers strong on Instagram with an audience primarily made of design-savvy 18-34 year olds. 🪑
For consideration, all pitches should be submitted directly to Sydney_Gore@condenast.com (trend reports + evergreen service features + shopping stories) or Zoe_Sessums@condenast.com (home tours + renovation) with a subject along the lines of “PITCH FOR CLEVER” in the following format:
- An introduction: If you’re reaching out for the first time, please provide a short bio and links to some of your published clips. We don’t need a full-on cover letter, but it’s never a bad idea to show us your portfolio or website so we can review your credentials. Pull up and tell us what you bring to the table!
- A working headline (hed): Give us a sense of the angle and tone that you have in mind for your story. Is it a roundup? An explainer? A how-to? An interview? Let us know!
- A brief description: Be specific about what the story will cover, how it will be framed, and what questions you’re aiming to answer. Tell us about your vision for the story and how you intend to execute it. Please keep it brief, no more than a paragraph or less.
- A list of sources: Any type of reported piece will require speaking to relevant experts on the subject so please come prepared with who you specifically have in mind. Ideally, your group of sources are diverse and inclusive.
- Time sensitivity: Note if the story is timely so we can prioritize it accordingly.
- Images: Attach any relevant photos that would correspond with the assignment. (Dropbox link or Google Drive is preferred)
We are always on the hunt for reported features, profiles, personal essays, market and commerce roundups. We do NOT accept any articles or posts that have previously been published elsewhere. Please do us a favor by checking the Clever website to ensure that we haven’t already done our own version of your idea—we’re open to hearing you out if you have a fresher perspective on the subject and a plan for how you’d do it differently though. (A quick Google search saves a whole lot of time!)
Our team’s pitch meetings are every Wednesday so it might take us a few days to get back to you, but follow-up in a week as submissions can get lost in our crowded inboxes. If you don’t hear back after two weeks have passed, feel free to take your pitch to another publication. Rejection is a part of the freelance process so if we decide to pass on your idea(s), please don’t take it personally! While it might not be a good fit for Clever, that doesn't mean the story can’t find a home somewhere else. We are always working on seasonal packages so if you would like to be kept in mind for any of those please let us know in advance.
End note: We also review AD It Yourself pitches. For this vertical we are primarily interested in DIY content for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, decorating, renovations, projects, etc.
We hope that this explainer serves as your guide to our world which we’re so thrilled to have you be a part of as a contributor :) If you’re reading this, you’re one step closer to your future!
Clever Style Guide
- Our voice is witty, conversational, and fun, but we never dumb things down—our reader already has a foundation of knowledge/interest in design.
- Stay away from generic topics that have been covered extensively on other sites (e.g. "10 ways to decorate with pattern").
- Following the first mention of someone, we use their first name.
- “It’s something you have to see to believe” not “It’s something one would have to see to believe.”
- We use the serial comma.
✅ Ready to write with us, but wondering how all the logistics work?
Our rates for Clever start at $200 and the majority of commissioned stories hit the 700 word mark unless otherwise specified. Home tours have a flat rate of $300 which include 600 words of body copy, photo captions, and the two lists at the end. Invoices should be submitted through Condé Nast’s ePayables system after filing the first draft with an SOW and will be paid Net 30.
Scroll down for a full overview of all the rubrics that we currently offer on Clever:
- Decoration 🏡
- The Grand Tour (design-focused home tours with a DIY and Shopping section)
- My Space (personal style–focused home tours)
- Hey, How’d You Do That?* (questionnaire about a home’s design—usually when an interior designer or architect is involved)
- Bright Ideas (stories with multiple “aha moment” design takeaways)
- It’s a Thing (an ode to a trend we’ve spotted, can keep it light or heavy)
- Virtual Reality (fun design moments happening in the social media landscape)
- Nowstalgia Alert (bite sized digestible explainers on trend revivals)
- Color Us Obsessed (general color content)
- The More You Know (unpacking the full history of a trend through the decades)
- New News (newsy story detailing an upcoming release)
- Renovation 🛠️
- Conversation 🗣️
- Personal and reported essays that tackle sustainability
- Need to Know / The More You Know
- News and reported stories on historical topics related to home, home decor, and trends
- Personal and reported essays that tackle real-life challenges
- Data-focused stories based on new surveys or reports
- Fun lists rounding up social posts
- Green Thumb
- Any and all forms of plant content... The greener the better! (Side note: That includes cannabis.)
- Life Goals
- Personal and reported essays that celebrate home design wins and other positive, real-life moments related to home
- Shopping 🛍️
- Shop Smarter / Where’d You Get That (trend-based or otherwise themed shopping roundups)
- Save a Buck (sale-based shopping roundups)
- Splurge Worthy* (an influencer/creative explains the who, what, where, when why of a prized possession)
- It’s a Thing (fun trends to buy into)
- I Tried It (first person review of a single product)
- Get The Look (curated lists to replicate aesthetics from TV shows, films, etc.)
- We’re Obsessed (unraveling the layers of a trend)
- Buyer Guide (reported service oriented articles for consumer education)
- Clever Guest Edit (in-house shopping series featuring select talent
Hey, How’d You Do That? (400 words, $200)
- What’s most important to you when designing a space?
- How do you approach a new concept or design?
- What did the client want and how did you translate that?
- What’s your favorite detail of this space?
- Was there an aspect that stumped you?
- How do you choose what to display or highlight?
- If someone was inspired by this space, what is one thing you would tell them to copy/buy?
- Did anything take you over/under budget on the project? How do you and the client make the call?
- How long did the project take?
- Where did you source the major pieces? Where do you like to shop?
Splurge Worthy (400 words, $200-$250)
What makes a purchase “worth it”? The answer is different for everybody—so we're asking some of the coolest, most shopping-savvy people we know—from small-business owners to designers, artists to actors—to tell us the story behind one of their most prized possessions.
Your task is to interview your subject and figure out the what/when/where/why of their splurge-worthy item. That doesn't have to mean expensive in the standard $$$$ sense either, but however they define the world. It's roughly a Q&A, but feel free to add to the story with a more “As told to” approach.
End note: Would be great if the subject could submit a photo or two that includes the object and selfie/portrait. iPhone photos are fine.