Effective visual research techniques (gathering inspiration, mood boards, reference images)

Effective visual research techniques (gathering inspiration, mood boards, reference images)

Effective Visual Research Techniques

  • Understand the importance of conducting visual research as part of the design process - it helps to identify trends, keep up-to-date with industry changes and inspire new ideas.
  • Start by defining the scope of visual research to stay relevant and focused; clearly identify what information you need to collect.
  • Use different online and offline resources, such as publications, design websites, social media, galleries and exhibitions, to gather visual inspiration.

Gathering Inspiration

  • Constantly observe the surroundings for fresh inspirations; even everyday objects and scenarios can spark creative ideas.
  • Explore other design disciplines - photography, architecture, fashion or product design can offer valuable cross-disciplinary inspirations.
  • Establish a regular practice of recording ideas, thoughts, and inspiration in a design journal or sketchbook.
  • Harness digital platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, or Behance to explore global design trends and collect inspiring visuals.

Creating Mood Boards

  • Define what the mood board aims to communicate. It could be colour palette, typography, style, atmosphere or overall visual direction for a project.
  • Select images, textures, colours, and compositions that reflect this vision.
  • Experiment with layouts - placing images in different arrangements can drastically affect the mood and tone of the mood board.
  • Reflect on the created mood board; ensure it effectively communicates the intended visual direction.

Collecting Reference Images

  • When researching specific elements like a type of layout or graphic style, collect reference images that exemplify these elements.
  • Organise and categorise reference images for easy retrieval; it could be based on their colour scheme, style, typography etc.
  • Analyse reference images to understand what makes them successful and how their elements can be adapted to your work.
  • Regularly update your library of reference images; it not only helps to brainstorm and iterate on ideas but also evolves as a personal design resource over time.

Remember, visual research is an ongoing process integral to design development. Cultivating this skill provides a solid foundation for innovative design thinking and ensures a consistent pool of fresh ideas. Stay curious, explore broadly, and continue refining your visual language.