Back in February, when I revealed the first part of my studio re-do, I gave you a glimpse of my brand board. I mentioned briefly that this linen pinboard is a place where I collect scraps, clippings, and papers that feel representative of my personal style. Today I want to tell you a little bit more about this board, and hopefully put you on the path to making your own.
The idea behind a brand or inspiration board is to create a snapshot of your style. Often, creative types have trouble defining the look and feel for their own brand. As a designer, designing for myself is one of my greatest challenges. It’s easy for me to look at someone else and nail down the personality for their logo/blog/website based on their personal style. But when I sit to work on my own designs, I stare blankly at the screen. I don’t think I’m alone in this tendency. No matter if you are a photographer, a shop owner, an aspiring designer, or a part-time blogger, defining your brand is hugely important. Knowing who you are, and then implementing this look and feel in all online and print communication is key to presenting a unified, cohesive, and professional image. A brand board can really help you hone in on the colors, fonts and textures you love most. It can also help you see how these elements work together to form a brand look that is unique to you.
Building a brand board is a simple process that begins with a bulletin board. You can pick one up at Target for under ten bucks. I would recommend covering it in a basic, solid-colored material (how-to here). The idea is to create a “blank slate” on which you will build. I chose a simple, cream linen fabric. I liked the texture, but the color doesn’t compete for my attention. Once you have you board ready, begin by gathering items that inspire you. These items can be anything from magazine clippings, to scraps of fabric, paper, shopping bags, tags, strings, or photos. If there are things that are too big or heavy to pin up, set them on a white surface, and take a picture of them. Once you have all your clippings and scraps pulled together, spread them on a large table, and look for the things that draw you in the most. Choose the items that leave you feeling inspired and alive. Eliminate the ones that don’t generate any sort of emotional response. Your inspiration board should be full of fonts, textures, words, elements, and photos that you LOVE. Not love. Not like. But LOVE. If there are only a few things that fit this description, don’t fret. Chances are, this board will be a work in progress. It should grow and change as you grow and change. You may find yourself adding and taking away every month, or even every week or every day. That’s okay. In fact, that’s very good.
I hope the idea of a brand board excites and inspires you. If you choose to make your own, I’d love to see it! Feel free to send a picture of your board to me at bethany (at)bspokestudio.com. I may post my favorites! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few more close-ups of my personal brand board. Happy Monday!