How To: Inspiration Boards

How To: Inspiration Boards

February 24, 2010  |  Wedding Tips

The last week or two I have gotten several emails or comments from people who like my inspiration boards, either at The Wedding Shoebox or here wanting to know how I design mine so they can do the same for their clients. First of all, let me say, I greatly appreciate the kind words! Design is one of my favorite parts of my job, whether it’s concepts for brides, invitations or inspiration boards. It’s pretty much my baby so I’m glad to know you love them too!

So the biggest question I get asked is what type of program I use.

I use inDesign which is an Adobe design program for magazines and newspapers. My pre-wedding related career was a page designer for our city newspaper and a few magazine publications so I worked with these programs all the time and eventually started designing wedding invitations (a sneak peek of our new collection here!!!) and then inspiration boards with it. The up side? It gives me complete control to customize an inspiration board. The down side? It’s pretty pricey and not something I would have just purchased for inspiration boards. Hmm. That may not help many of you out. I wish I had a secret and FREE design program to let you in on. BUT I can give a few tips that can help you get the look no matter what program.


Pick one dominant image to balance your inspiration board. I try to make this image one with a human element (aka people). It doesn’t alway happen. Sometimes I get an image without people that is too great not to choose as the main image.  Try to vary shapes and sizes as much as possible, i.e. vertical pictures, horizontal, squares all different sizes. Much of this is based on years studying newspapers and magazines. They reinforced that having images the same sizes and shapes will confuse the eye as to what they should be looking at first.


It’s all about creating balance. Incorporate some pictures with tiny details and some with larger details. In fashion the same rule applies. You wouldn’t pair a busy top with a busy jacket. You may balance a vibrant floral top with a subtle striped pattern. This will keep it sharp, textured and not all over the place.


Pick images you truly love. Don’t just pick images because they are the right shade. Do you really love that bouquet? Or do the colors just go? Your board will only look as great as your least solid image. It’s kind of a package deal. If you just throw one image in to finish the board off without it really working, it will weaken it. If your brand projects that you are on the cutting edge of trends in the industry, don’t use images that look dated. Keep it fresh!


If you are trying to create a board with orange, pink, grey and yellow like the one above, remember not every picture needs to incorporate all colors. However same rule applies, not every pictures needs to be an isolated color block. The key is balance. Also, consider backgrounds as color. You may find a pink cake that works but it has a huge black background that throws it off.


If you would like help designing inspiration boards for your clients, please let know. (valerie {at} I’d love to offer you an alternative to get the look without having to buy the program.

These tips aren’t the holy grail of inspiration board designing. There are tons of amazing blogs that design boards that don’t necessarily follow this that are utterly amazing and an inspiration to me. This is simply what works for me.

P. S. The posts will probably be sporadic the next week or two. We are fine tuning a few things over here!


1. Green Wedding Shoes 2. Southern Fete design via Laura Reaux 3. Luna Photo via The Bride’s Cafe 4. Style Me Pretty 5. Rifle Design 6. Tec Petaja via Style Me Pretty 7. Schumacher via Ariel Yve Design


  1. These are such great tips… thanks for sharing with us… hope you’re having a nice sunday!

  2. Hello! I just discovered the blog and love all the lovely wedding inspiration. I also use InDesign, but I want to suggest Polyvore to your readers too. At first it seemed to me Polyvore was just good for collage, but they’ve fixed it up a lot and made it a pretty user friendly site for inspiration boards too. It puts a tab on your bookmark bar so you can grab pics from anywhere on the web! Very handy. 🙂

  3. Great tip!! Thanks Callen!

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