Inspiration boards are a key research element in the design process for Promise Tangeman Creative. Curating items, picking colors, and choosing elements is a major component to diving into the mindset and theme of a project. And it can sometimes be hard. I have all my clients explore and research on their own in this way too… before we start our process. Through the journey we will send boards back and forth, continually defining and refining. It’s so important for a designer and the client to get on the same page. And we have found this to be one of the key components in taking us there. Below are a list of items that I like to see on an inspiration board from a client. These items below make up the inspiration board shown above.

1 // PATTERNS & TEXTURES:
What patterns or textures represent your style? You do like graphic patterns, fabric textures, or organic surfaces? Think about the shade (dark or light) and the color hue as well.

2 // FURNITURE OR ARCHITECTURE:
Find a piece of furniture or architecture that depicts the same mood or vibe as the style you are portraying. Think about the color, fabric, and elements used in it as well.


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3 // TYPOGRAPHY:
Find logo examples, typography, and fonts that match your look and feel. What typeface treatment best represents your brand? Typography is like a facial expression… it depicts a mood. So, what is your brand’s consistent mood?


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4 // FASHION INSPIRATION:
What you wear tells a lot about your style. If money wasn’t an issue… where would you shop for clothing? Display your typical go-to outfit that would also represent your brand. Accessories and fashion photos are also great to add in.


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5 // LAYOUT:
Explore and research your chosen clothing brand’s marketing materials. Explore their layout of text and images. Does that fit with your brand? Include examples that you like. This serves as an explorational exercise to help point you in the right direction.

6 // GRAPHIC ELEMENTS OR ICONS:
Find any other graphics, icons, buttons, or layouts that best describe your brand.


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7 // OTHER:
Movie posters, magazine spreads, cd album designs, and book covers are also great resources for brand inspiration.

8 // COLOR SCHEME:
All items on the board should fall into an easily recognizable color scheme. So choose the items with this in mind. You can even call out certain colors that you love through colors blocks on the board.

9 // Know WHY you have chosen the items that you have. And be able to articulate the reasons. You want every part of your brand to have a reason and purpose for why it’s there. If it doesn’t, the design item will be irrelevant… and therefore just act as a space filler. And you do not want your brand to be a shallow “space filler”.

Hopefully this will help you better understand the inspiration board process, and understand why and what items to choose to represent you. Below is the site that was made from this inspiration board. Theme and brand inspiration by Aimee Grover.

Do you have any questions as to how we use this with our clients? Have you explored using an inspiration board before? Have you found success in this?

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22 Comments

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  1. Sarah

    You are so inspiring! Every time I read one of your blogs on design, it makes me want to completely redesign my brand. I can’t wait for the day I can afford to just hire you!

    Reply
  2. Catie Ronquillo

    Thanks for writing this post, Promise! This is actually perfect timing for me – I’ve been exploring items for my rebrand and this design process/inspiration board is super helpful! Thanks!!

    Reply
  3. Annie

    I have looked into doing an inspiration board, but I have such a hard time narrowing things down to one theme. I like too many things! :)

    Reply
  4. Chantae Whitaker

    You are so extremely talented, thank you so much!!! I’m on your waiting list and I can’t wait until I get my turn to have your hands on my brand! Thank you for sharing!!!

    Reply
  5. Tyrie

    Another great post, Promise! I don’t know if you saw our post on Pinterest, but that is a great resource for collecting images for an inspiration board or just for fun. I’ll send you and Alex pinterest invites :)

    Reply
  6. Kali Brou Norton

    Great info, as always Promise! This will help me tremendously as I venture to design my showit site, hopefully this month. Your ability to collaborate with clients and always produce something new and fresh rocks a merge between creative and business. Awesome!

    Reply
  7. Shannon Gray

    Love this!! I have been using Pinterest lately to get some inspiration…LOVE it! I need to start doing a wall of inspiration though to keep me inspired! :)

    Reply
  8. Amanda Eaton

    This is just what I needed to see today! I’m going to be re-branding myself and didn’t know where to start…this post is the perfect start!! thanksss!

    Reply
  9. Sarah Carter

    What a perfect way to start the day – completely inspired. . . thanks Promise!

    Reply
  10. Erin Davenport

    This is awesome, Promise :) I loved hearing Aimee and Troy at their showit class and I saw you there in the back! I didn’t get to say hi but “hi”! Thanks for spelling all this out so well.

    Reply
  11. heather johnson photography

    Great info and something I will reference often. I just moved into studio space and pulling my ideas together like this will surely help me give it the look and feel that I want. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. aimee

    Great post Promise! Looks like it’s been an inspiring a lot of people!

    Reply
  13. Kristin Nicole

    This is so insightful!

    Reply
  14. Cory

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Maria

    Working on this right now! :) Thanks for the direction and inspiration! :)

    Reply
  16. Julia

    This is so helpful for me. I get design requests here and there and I always ask people to find their favorite brands/sites and share them with me so I have an idea of their style before starting a project. Your list is so much more specific and sounds really promising. I will try it on my next design project. Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Kaitlin

    What a great idea! I’ll definitely see how I can make this work for me :)

    Reply
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  19. Ashley

    I know you posted this a while ago, but this just helped me so much. I’m an art student and I feel like I’m more than capable of branding myself I just needed a little direction. Thanks!

    Reply
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