January 7, 2011

How to Make a Crude Inspiration Board

So a couple of you specifically (Maggie, Dani) have asked about my inspiration boards and how I slap them together.

First, my Photoshop skills aren't quite up to snuff. I don't remove the backgrounds from images like the folks at Young House Love and their delicious Mood Boards, but I know what I like and I suppose that is what counts.

ANYWAY. Here's your tutorial.

1. I think. A lot. I browse decorating galleries for hours while watching Law & Order SVU. My new favorite is Project Nursery. From this, I come up with a scheme.

2. Then I start looking at all of my favorite sources online. Target, IKEA, Etsy, Urban Outfitters, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, Google. And I look for the things that I think will bring the scheme together. Sometimes the scheme changes at this point. That's OK. The concept is usually the same.

3. I bookmark the shit out of those sites. Then I start saving images and dump them in a folder.

4. I open up Adobe Illustrator. Now, real graphic designery type people probably use Photoshop or InDesign, but Adobe Illustrator makes me feel good about myself because I'm less likely to mess it up. So I use that. I start with a Web artboard template, which is 640*480 pixels.

5. Ready for this? I just drag the images from my folder onto the Illustrator artboard. Then I arrange them in a way that makes me feel smart. Sometimes I get mad because I didn't isolate the backgrounds of the furniture and it looks funny to me. But I try to make it work.

6. I open up the text tool, and select the font I use for the header of this blog. It's free font called "Black Jack." Then I label stuff that looks like it should be labeled. Example: "this orange thing is a rug." I try to keep the font color consistent with the scheme of the board.

7. Finally, when there is too much white space and not enough balance, I open up the brushes panel and find one that looks like it goes, for lack of a better term. This results in those little flourishy things that you see.

Here is a dissected inspiration board:

click to embiggen!


  1. This post makes me feel good about myself because I learned something.



  2. I always wondered how people make these things. I'm glad to know now, but still woefully lacking in the practical knowledge. I love your orange, grey and teal scheme though!


I hope you say nice things, but if you don't, I'll get over it eventually.