Inspiration boards are a staple in my custom styled stock photography process. After a brief questionnaire, I ask clients to add images and inspiration to an inspiration board. This inspiration board allows me to get a sense of the type of images they are looking for, different colors they are drawn too, whether they are drawn to texture, the type of backgrounds they are drawn to and so forth.
I think it can be rather difficult to create an inspiration board, especially if you are still in the process of developing your brand. Two years ago when I made the switch from Blogger to Squarespace I made an inspiration board. I remember struggling a little because I hadn't yet determined the feel of my brand and I was still heavily influenced by what I was seeing online. When I sat down to write this post, I decided to create a new inspiration board for Elah Tree and I felt much more confident in my brand and the direction in which I want the brand to go.
Let's breakdown my board above. First we can tell that I'm heavily influenced by nature and earth tones, a direction in which I hope to take the Elah Tree brand. I'm also very inspired by texture. I love texture and you can see it throughout my inspiration board. When I created this inspiration board I wasn't just thinking about the Elah Tree brand, I was also thinking about the type of clients I love working with. One word that always comes to mind when developing my brand is "down to earth." I wanted every image I pinned to convey that. I also added a few personal touches, such as the cupcakes. I love cake, all sorts of cake, haha! But I also love the colors, moody lighting, and texture of that photo. The other personal touch I added was the bottom left photo of the girl standing in a stream. If you catch me in everyday life, I'm most likely to look something like that, but probably less put together, haha!
1 | CURATE OVER COLLECTING
Think of yourself as a curator when creating your inspiration board. You are curating images that you feel represent your brand. There is something about each image that your are drawn to. Think through the meaning of each image you curate and why you have chosen it. You don't want to simply collect images, you want to thoughtfully curate a set of images that represent you and your brand. Are you able to describe in detail why you chose each image? If so, you are on the right track.
2 | ADD DESCRIPTIONS
Speaking of descriptions, when curating your board add those descriptions to each image you pin. These descriptions help others understand why you have so thoughtfully chosen that image. Simply ask yourself, "why?" Why have I chosen that specific image? Is it the colors in the image that you are drawn too? Is there something about the specific props that are used? Is there texture in the photo that you like? Include your thoughts as you curate the images for your inspiration board.
3 | ADD FONTS
The types of fonts in which we are drawn to say a lot about our brand and the styles we are drawn too. For example, I am always drawn to serif fonts, ones that feel timeless or vintage. The types of fonts I'm drawn too translate throughout a majority of things a like. Adding fonts to your inspiration board will hopefully help you and others see consistency in what you have curated.
BONUS: DON'T THINK TOO HARD
Sometimes curating an inspiration board can feel overwhelming. Give yourself plenty of grace. One thing I always do when reviewing client inspiration boards is to look for patterns. Often times a client will curate an inspiration board that I'm able to draw patterns out of and it's through those patterns that I'm able to curate their custom images.
Let's review the board above. This is inspiration curated from a previous client. Can you guess what the first thing I noticed about their inspiration? Texture. This client was speaking my language. I love texture and including texture in photos. You can tell just from glancing at their inspiration that they are drawn to texture as well. Another pattern that was visible within this inspiration was rustic wood. The type of wood in which she included was all very similar and specific. The final pattern we can pull from this inspiration is that of pastries/donuts and fruit.
Are you in the process of creating your own inspiration board? Even if your not working with a service provided to create an inspiration board, make one anyways. It's always fun and thought provoking to see how your brand may be developing or where you would like your brand to go. xoxo! Samantha