Catch Lightning In A Bottle With An Inspiration Board

August 14, 2013 General 0 Comments

Create An Inspiration BoardIn search of the perfect way to get into your creative zone? Many designers find their muse through the use of an inspiration board. These artistic boards, presented as a collage of images, can be used by interior designers in several ways:

  • To jump-start the imagination when starting a project
  • To brainstorm ideas by trying out various options before committing to a final design
  • To convey the mood and visual concept of a design to a client or design team

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The spoken word fails dismally when trying to communicate design concepts, even when you are speaking with other interior designers. When working on a design team, an inspiration board allows team members to brainstorm visually in a fun and casual manner. In fact, creating these types of boards doesn't even feel like work. A few short hours spent up front allows designers to try different design styles quickly and painlessly before identifying a specific design direction. This process can save countless hours later in design revisions, ultimately cutting costs and frustration.

Presenting an inspiration board to a client allows the designer to show, not just tell, the design concept. The client has an opportunity to share in the design process at this stage, realizing that nothing is yet set in stone. This approach fosters trust by communicating to the client that the designer is considering their input and provides the interior designer with valuable client feedback. By utilizing an inspiration board, surprises can be avoided (the designer suddenly discovers that the client neglected to mention that she abhors the color purple, for example) and provides the client with a visual idea of what the final design will look like. Additionally, the designer has the opportunity to explain to the client the choices made, illustrating a sound design process and not just "design on a whim."

Encounter the Elusive Muse

You can begin by collecting anything that sparks your imagination and catches your eye—magazine clippings, photos, fabric samples, color swatches or quotes to stir the imagination, for example. Maybe the pearlescent shimmer of a delicate shell inspires you to include iridescent fabric accents in your design, or the earthy hue reflected in the photo of an eggplant suggests aubergine as a starting point for your color scheme. Anything and everything that gets your creative juices flowing is fair game.

Once you've reached your inspirational peak, it's time to step back and assess what works together, choosing the most cohesive elements that embody your design direction. At this stage you will also be incorporating more specific elements that will appear in your design, such as examples of furniture and lighting.

Using your streamlined collection of images, lay them out in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Some designers prefer to use actual objects such as fabric swatches, tile samples and paint chips for their tactile quality, attaching them to a board. Other designers choose to create their boards digitally using computer graphics programs. There is no right or wrong approach to creating an inspiration board. Whichever way works best for you is the best choice.

So what are you waiting for? Why not test your design prowess and catch your own lightning in a bottle by creating an inspiration board? You never know, your muse may lead you to a professional career in interior design.

Image source: Flickr


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