Sunday, April 26, 2009

Anne Sage on Creating Inspiration Boards

From my personal blog . . . 

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Inspiration boards are an incredibly effective tool for communicating the look and feel of a project. I create inspiration boards every chance I get, whether I'm planning a party, redecorating a room in my house, or just fantasizing about my favourite color combination du jour. This is the first board I've every composed based on work of literature, and it proved to be every bit as fun as I thought it would be! The process for making inspiration boards can be as flexible as you like, but here are some tips I've learned the hard way!

1. Create an Image Library. It's much easier to construct a board by picking and choosing from amongst images that you already have on your computer, rather than by searching the internet one image at a time. I organize images on my hard drive using a program called Yojimbo; it allows me to drag and drop straight from my web browser window, and it saves the source URL of the image. Photographers' and artists' management websites are a terrific place to find a wealth of images; I likeCameralink and Art Department for fashion imagery, and Re:Fresh Agency or Sarah Kaye Represents for interiors and still life. As well, when I happen across an image that I love in a magazine, I not only scan it but I also take note of the photographer's name and check to see if he has an online portfolio. Feel free to explore the list of my favourite photographers in the sidebar of my blog.

2. Choose a starting point and set your guidelines. Putting together a board is quite an adventure; you never know exactly how it will end! But I always select one image as my foundation and refer back to it as I bring in other photos. This foundational image should capture all or most of the qualities that you'd like the finished board to have. In this instance, Chloe felt that the photo of three lounging women (second row, far left) perfectly summed up her vision of the novel's aesthetic. I let that image dictate the color palette (blacks and greys with blue undertones, punctuated by warm splashes of coral and red), its textural notes (lots of glossy finishes and fluid draperies), as well as its overall mood (a louche yet pensive opulence). As the board came together, I always referred back to that original photo and used that criteria of palette, texture and mood as my filter for selecting additional images.

3. Keep an open mind. As with any narrative, surprises often pop up as a board evolves. For example, no chandelier appears in the image I used as my starting point, but several others of the photos I loved happened to have striking baroque chandeliers. I pushed farther with that recurring device and brought in not only more chandeliers but also shimmering glassware to mirror a chandelier's reflective glow. The result? An unexpected complementary motif that enhances the luxurious tone of the board.

4. A Few Technical Details: I design my inspiration boards using InDesign, a publishing software in the Adobe Creative Suite. It takes a bit of getting used to but allows for great precision when cropping and aligning images. Another popular (free!) platform for making inspiration boards is Polyvore. It's fairly straightforward to use, and people are creating some amazing collages with it. Of course you can't go wrong with good old paper, scissors and glue! No matter how you create your board, be sure to take note of your sources--that way if you ever share your board in a public forum, you can give proper credit where credit is due.

This is the inspiration board created by Anne for SOME GIRLS BITE:


  1. Great story board for "Some Girls Bite"!

    My collage art is based on my need for instant gratification mixed with the fact that was having trouble getting my voice to words and my vision to canvas fast enough.
    I have one on an old Sept. post "Call the Navy"

  2. where did you get such great images for your vision board?