Uninspired? Use An Inspiration Board
December 19, 2013
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When you think of an inspiration board, it may bring up memories of kindergarten arts and crafts or maybe even the smell of paste. Despite how juvenile inspiration boards may seem, they're actually quite useful. They can help you determine the look and feel of a project, choose colors or even decide what design direction to take. So if you're stuck for an idea or need a bit of inspiration, grab some poster board, magazines and glue. It's time to go back to kindergarten!
How to Make a Board
There are no rules for creating a board—you're basically making an inspirational collage. The organization of your inspiration board, however, may depend upon your goal.
Option 1: Finding a Direction
One option is to explore several looks. Divide your poster board into sections, and dedicate each section to one particular style. If you want to explore a beachy look versus an urban look, you would have separate sections for each of these. Cut out images and text from magazines that express each of these ideas and paste them onto the board. After you're done, notice how the two concepts differ. Look at the difference in color, pattern, form and symbols.
Option 2: Exploring a Direction
On the other hand, if you have already chosen a direction but need more ideas on how to create the look, use your inspiration board to explore the theme. Paste anything that is representative of the look you want to explore. Don't overthink this—editing at this point stops the creative flow. Continue to paste images, text and colors that explore your theme until you've created a collage.
Once you've created your inspiration board, post it where you can see it. Refer to your board often as you design, using sticky notes to indicate the elements you particularly like. Later on in the design process, ask yourself: Are your designs consistent with the colors on your board? What about the patterns? The type? The style? If not, that can be a good thing. Sometimes your board will help you decide that you're going in the wrong direction. Rather than spending a lot of time on the wrong design, your board might help you realize, "nope, this idea is all wrong."
Old-fashioned magazine cutout boards are great because you can make them as big as you want. Also, the process of choosing what belongs on the board helps you to see common elements and eliminate elements that just don't fit. However, if you aren't the scissors and glue type, you can always use Pinterest or The Inspiration Board, which allows you to download and print out your board in a variety of sizes.
Photo credit: Flickr