And how can improve your design work?

Photo © Luis Francisco Cordero/Bigstock

For those who don‘t already know, an inspiration board (sometimes referred to as a mood board or an idea board) is a collage of images meant to kick-start your imagination or please your muse. Many designers use it in a variety of ways, including:

- Getting inspired when starting a new project

- Reviewing visual ideas with a team or client to agree on a project‘s direction

- Getting sign-off from a client or team so there are no unhappy surprises when the final design is presented

Inspiration boards can serve great purpose when beginning a new project or any time you find yourself in a creative funk—it allows you to plot out ideas or to simply throw randomness together. An item may seem random on its own but it could spark creativity once it is combined with other items of randomness.

An inspiration board can be made up of practically anything: doodles, magazine clippings, fabrics, photos, text (including quotes, strange and interesting word pairings, poems, passages, etc.), and color swatches. For designers, this can be an invaluable tool.

And it can be made easier with a stock library like Bigstock. Try this simple exercise: Search various keywords, color palettes, and categories related to your next project. You will most likely find a multitude of interesting image results, which oftentimes may be enough to get your mind flowing. Choose the images you find the most aesthetically pleasing and relevant to the project, and lay them out, perhaps using InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator. The possibilities are endless.

Keep adding to your board until it‘s reached its inspirational zenith. Then stand back, see which items work well together, share with your colleagues, pare it down to the best elements, and now you should be ready to start your project with a clear direction.