Friday, August 27, 2010

How to create a design board

I was asked to design a VIP lounge for an upcoming women's conference at our church. I decided to post on how this all comes together - from the start of an idea to the completion of a design board. The above photo is the infamous Breakfast at Tiffany's. I love this shot of Audrey Hepburn and used this picture as a starting point.

Whenever I start designing something I like to visit the space in person. Above is the room where the lounge will be.

The image below is the first dessert bar I saw from the amazing Amy Atlas. I studied this picture for awhile in awe of the details. I knew after seeing her work that I wanted to try my own dessert display at an event. So this is where the inspiration started.

I saw this chair cover while browsing my linen companies site. I instantly knew I had to use it somewhere. I love the balance of bold stripes with the elegance of the ruffles. This reminds me of something couture.
My background is in interiors so naturally I gravitate towards textiles when designing something. I found this linen in black (the silver photo was much better though). This linen is called a paillette and is one of my favorites to use in events. It is actually tine little pieces of plastic sewn onto the linen. It creates texture and when the light hits it is stunning.

My inspiration with creating a dessert bar lead me to a local cupcake company. They design cupcakes using your event logo. Love this idea.

Creating a design board starts with finding all the pictures that tell the story of an event. I always like to include a floor plan so as I walk a client through the concept I can refer back to the room's layout. Once I have the photos and floor plan completed I make sure I have all my supplies. Here is what I use.
1. Black foam core (1 for the board and 1 to use to give depth to the coard) Make sure before buying that the corners are not dented.
2. Plastic cutting mat
3. Metal ruler (so the straight edge doesn't slice it)
4. Straight edge and refill blades
5. Rubber cement
6. Adhesive glue
7. Matte photo paper
8. Plenty of ink for the printer

I like to start by printing all my pictures and cutting them to the finished size. I then layout the entire board before gluing anything. I give each board a title and if possible use the same font or logo for the event or client I am designing for. I also like to include my business card on the bottom right corner of each board. It is also best to include a copyright tag for some level of intellectual property protection.

When assembling the board I choose areas or images to "pop out" to show some depth to the board. Using foam core as the backing some images remain flat and others "pop" from the board. I like to cut the foam core for size of the image and then glue the picture to the board. Some people like to glue it to the foam core first then cut, but sometimes you can end up rippling the picture and then have to reprint, size and mount.

Typically the client will keep the board to show to other people so labeling makes it easier to explain after I have gone. It is best practice to reclaim the boards from the client. I label all the relevant pieces that make up the design. I like to use a simple font - size 14 and mount each label.  Print labels on the matte photo paper and be sure ink is dry before mounting. This is typically the last thing I do before finishing a board.

This is the finished product. It is not important to cover the entire board. It should be simple and easy to follow. If you are making a board as a presentation tool, keep in mind that this says allot about you as a designer. Make sure lines are straight even if that means reprinting the image. If you smudge or mess up a picture, reprint it. The cost of reprinting a picture is more important than not getting the job.
A board should tell the story, allow your client insight into what you are planning. A good board walks the client through the process, creating a cohesive though process and clearly expressing all your creative ideas.  

1 comment:

  1. What linen company has the striped chair covers and paillette cloths? I must have them. Please email me at Thanks so much!