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What's your creative process?


Junior Member
What's your creative process when designing?

Do you make mood boards? Do you experiment with different art materials etc?

I'm looking for more ways to add to my creative process when designing, I feel that mood boards, visual diaries and experimentation are great but any more ideas would be great for when I'm stuck for ideas! :)


Senior Member

I am
Guessing you have come through uni like me? I feel mood boards are such a uni thing. Would anyone agree with that? Would be cool to have comments...
A nice walk on the beach, flick through a few books, sketch some ideas, stare out the window, sketch some ideas, search the internet, work up some ideas in more detailed sketch form. If happy move onto the mac and start work.

Times usually tight so keep the flow going. Don't do mood boards I just crack on.
I used to work somewhere that was obsessed with mood boards but it became more something pretty to show the client than anything of any actual use. I love the net and find it a constant source of inspiration but you can't beat a well stocked book shelf. If I'm stuck taking an hour out to just flick through my books and magazines, making notes & sketches always helps.
Depends on the project but I usually start with research and looking for inspiration. Then I'll print out a lot of stuff and hang it up so I can see everything at the same time (so I guess I do use some form of mood board). When I feel I've nailed the creative direction I'll do a few rough sketches and then start designing on the computer.
I like to flick through books, design blogs, make a cup of tea....

I don't think mood boards are a uni thing, I never went to uni and I sometimes create them when I'm looking for a style of photograph of a brochure cover or something like that...


Junior Member
I think mood boards have negatives and positives, when I started Uni I didn't find them helpful at all. I thought they took too long and too much hassle when I thought I had the idea in my head. But I've learned to use them in a way that helps me alot these days, even If i've got an idea of what I want to do anyway, I still create a mood board and sometimes it helps me to get even better ideas / images.

I also found something else quite helpful from my advertising and branding class in uni this year (I'm on a graphic design course but we've had ad and branding training). Basically the lecturer told us to make a random list of 'typeface, colour, flower, sky, taste, smell, car, cake, tree, animal etc', and then to take images for each one that represents our idea. Sounds mad but it works really well. The brief was for a fashion brand, and I had to find images that would represent what colour it would be, what animal it would be etc.

This is what mine looked like for the fashion brand >
It definitely helped to bring together the whole image I was going for.


Guessing you have come through uni like me? I feel mood boards are such a uni thing. Would anyone agree with that? Would be cool to have comments...
I'm a 2nd year Graphic design student :)


Staff member
Doesn't the process depend on what you're doing.

With my 3d design work there's not much reason to research other designs, although I can benefit with source imagery/samples of any materials being used. However with graphic work then research can be beneficial.

Ok as my main work is 3d I'll do my usual approach to it.
step one, analyse the concept/files sent to me ready for model or importing
Model/Import the design
Look into materials required
Create options palette for client if needed
Sketch out 'storyboard' images to aid in camera config and lighting etc
Add materials to models and render - repeat as needed.


Well-Known Member
Don't think I ever found much help in mood boards at uni. I tend to do research and, well similar to typo really. I crack on, use visual research via books or Internet, and keep sketching until something I like begins to form.
I think the closest thing to a mood board I have is keeping my tabs open in safari with a different google result in each! :p


Senior Member
I only sketch very little; I have a little notebook to note down some ideas but I don't usually work out all of the details there. Most of it just takes place in my mind. My favorite place to think would have to be in the shower. I always come up with solutions and ideas when I'm in the shower, I've said that before I think :)

When I have something I my head I just start designing and make up the rest as I go along. Inspiration from CSS galleries usually flops anyway. If I'm stuck on a technical issue as to how I should approach something, I usually ask for other people's opinions.

It's not the most elaborate process, but it has worked out for me so far..