Creating an Inspiration Board for Your Next Passion Project: Part 1
Written By Regular Contributor, Paige Boersma
I will never stop singing the praises of the good ol' fashioned inspiration board.
Not only is it one of my favourite parts of starting a new project — whether it be a photoshoot, brand design project, or some other creative endeavour — it's one of the first steps I take to bring a dream to life, and it's the stage where you watch themes start to emerge, details take shape and your vision begin to materialize.
It's one thing to have an idea, but to be able to actually bring that to life, to communicate it with others and watch it transform, that's pretty special.
My love for Pinterest is two-fold.
I’m a bit of an inspiration junkie, and being visually minded, I love wading through page after page of pretty pictures and curating my own collection until it’s just so.
Images have a tendency to stimulate new ideas, to tell stories and to capture a feeling that might be hard to explain in words. By creating an intentional and well-curated inspiration board, we’re able to take that one step further and create a larger context through a collection of images.
Of course in order to create an intentional inspiration board, it involves a little more than simply letting yourself loose on Pinterest, which is why I’m sharing my signature process with you today, ensuring you bring your dreamy vision to life in a strategic way that fits within the scope of your creative project.
Step 1: Set Your Intentions for the Project
Before we even log into Pinterest, it’s important to get clear on what the intention of your project is so you have a vision in mind when you start the inspiration gathering process.
I like to spend a little bit of time mapping out these details at the outset, so they’re clear in mind and I don’t get too distracted when I’m wading through inspiration (believe me, this happens!).
Give your project a name and write a little summary or pitch, even if you don’t plan on sharing this with anyone, as it will still help you define the parameters of the project. If there are any specific details or guidelines or ideas you already have (ie. “needs to have a minimal feel”, or “incorporate elements of natural greenery”), capture these somewhere for easy reference and to act as your filter.
I also like to make a list of any words, feelings or details that are already associated with the project or brand I’m working on, both for reference once again, but also to use as potential search terms, which we’ll get into in more detail a little further down the line.
Step 2: Start on Pinterest, and Let Yourself Run a Little Wild
I generally start by creating a brand new Pinterest board for the specific project, and if there is anyone else involved, like a client or collaborator, invite them to join as well.
Especially at the beginning, I often recommend keeping the board secret, but it really depends on the project and how much you like to share. You can always make it public later on, once it’s a little more refined and you’re ready to share it with the world.
Pin anything that stands out to you, whether that’s a colour palette you’re drawn to, a feeling that an image evokes, or a styling detail that resonates with your brand or this specific project.
At this beginning stage, it’s important to not get too hung up on pinning the “right” or “perfect” images. We’re really looking to populate the board with as many photos as possible, paying attention to anything that feels right or that we’re drawn to, using the filter of this specific project, of course.
We’ll be fine-tuning the collection of images later in the process, so go a little wild with your pinning and let yourself wander down those visual rabbit holes. Our intention for this stage is to capture imagery that feels like what we want our finished project to feel. So think through what that means, and pay attention to the emotions that certain photos evoke.
Keep in mind that pins don’t have to be a direct relation to the end result of your project. In fact, we’re really trying to stay away from looking for direct inspiration since that can inhibit us from creating our own visual strategy and instead we end up relying too heavily on what other people have already done.
For example, think about pulling typography samples from a magazine layout, a retro sign, or a web design screenshot, colour inspiration from a landscape or an outfit detail, and texture references from an interior decor image.
Check back next week for the second part of this series!
Paige Boersma is the creative director of Studio Bicyclette, a small creative studio that helps other boutique businesses and lifestyle brands find their magic, style their brand and tell their story through beautiful, strategic content. Through the evolution of her own brand — from boutique to lifestyle brand to creative studio — Paige has developed a love for storytelling in this digital age and a knack for pulling out the pretty little details that bring a vision to life, teaching others how to create and capture this everyday magic.