My secret method to building a killer inspiration board

As someone who builds inspiration boards for a living, I often get asked how to do it. Where do I get my ideas from? What's the best way to collect your ideas, and how do you make sense of them? Here, I'll share with you my secret method for building a killer inspiration board.

Getting started: define your purpose

What's your inspiration board for? Personally, I use them for everything from branding and design projects to gathering ideas for interior design at home and ideas and inspiration for our wedding. The key thing is knowing what you're setting out to do - whether you want to gather ideas for your business or something else entirely, it all starts with intention.

Know where to look

Traditionally, we'd turn to magazines, postcards, fabric swatches, product labels and all sorts of other places for our ideas. While that's still relevant, these days we'll search online too: blogs, websites and Pinterest are all amazing places to look.

Gather your inspiration

For our branding projects, we love a clean white foamex board to create a physical inspiration board. An alternative (and dead easy) way to gather ideas on the go is by using Pinterest, which is a brilliant resource for creating free digital inspiration boards. Create an online board for your project and pin as many ideas as you want onto that board. You can search for inspiration within the wealth of professionally styled images on Pinterest, or pin images from elsewhere on t'internet.

Interpreting your ideas

When you assess your board, you'll quickly notice a theme emerging. When you look at the inspiration board I created for mine and Dan's wedding, you'll see a common theme running through our ideas: autumn themed, rustic and warm. If you're building an inspiration board for your business then do bear in mind that the designs you're drawn to won't necessarily be right for your target market, so be open to change if there's a good reason behind it.

Curate your collection

Once you've taken some time to reflect on the ideas you've gathered, you'll be able to identify the images which are out of place. I recommend cutting those out quickly to ensure they don't take you off track.

Use your inspiration board to keep you focussed or help brief a designer

I love it when clients have spent some time building an inspiration board! It immediately gives me an idea of the sorts of visuals that excite them, and seeing their ideas quickly bridges the gap between what they've expressed to me verbally and the ideas that are in their minds' eye.

Personally, I find that keeping an inspiration board to hand for any project helps remind me of the aesthetic we're setting out to achieve, and that can be invaluable. Whether you're working with a professional design agency or want to create an inspiration board to help focus your thoughts, they're a great way to express your ideas and keep you on track.