How to create a concept board

Do you ever wonder how designers start their projects? Where do they get inspiration from? How do they put presentation together?
At college I was taught to start with a concept. There is quite a lot of time and effort put into the concept and its presentation.

First I start with a design analysis and design statement. The design analysis is basically like a client’s questionnaire with a detailed description of the client, the property, the design requirements.
1. client’s analysis including likes and dislikes, personality description, family status, colour preference, style preference, hobbies, lifestyle etc.
2. current property analysis including what is currently available in terms of services etc, what condition the property is in, any repairs needed etc.
3. design analysis(scope of work) including room requirements, redesign, extensions, conversions, new equipment and/services

When I’m compiling the design analysis, I always ask:
What is required?
What is desired?
What is possible?
One has to be realistic so there is no misunderstanding further down the line.

On the basis of the design analysis I can start preparing a design statement along with the detailed scope of work. The design statement should be a short paragraph indicating the direction the proposed design. It should state a colour, texture and style direction.
Here is one of my bathroom design statements as an example..

“To design an en-suite which will fit with the Mediterranean style of the property and which will continue with the colour scheme from the master bedroom.
The bathroom will get more character through detailing on the ceiling, floor and bespoke furniture. The colour scheme will be warm through the introduction of yellow tones and welcoming through dark brown and beige. The colours will be balanced with white sanitary ware and  accepted by turquoise accessories.
A relaxing feel will be achieved by installing different types of lighting for functionality, practicality and ambiance.
A luxurious feel will be achieved by the usage of rare materials such as the yellow polished marble and through bespoke furniture, floor design, crystal chandelier, mirrors and accessories”.

Once the direction is established, a concept board can be put together.

EXAMPLE 1. Concept board with non-interior images 
This type of concept board, which  I was taught at KLC, should have no images of interior or furnishings. It should display images reflecting the feel, style, colour and texture.

Both the design statement and the concept board form the concept presentation and should support each other.  By not using interior images you are more open-minded and creative than when using interior images. This type of concept board should be also supported with other visuals like 1 point perspective drawing or CAD drawing to fully understand the design.I think this process and presentation is a good exercise for anyone who wishes to take a carrier path in interior design. However, every time I do this type of concept board, I always question whether a client of mine would be able to understand the concept board presented like this. Would they see the points that I’m making or would it be rather confusing and no-specific? I think if you are preparing a concept board with the intention to translate your design idea more specifically, the following two concept board types might be a better option.

EXAMPLE 2. Concept board with an inspirational interior image as a starting point


This board clearly shows the direction of the colour scheme, the style and feel I want to achieve in my living room. It draws the inspiration from an interior designed by Ann Lowengart. When I enter the room I want to feel energized, fun, fresh and show that this is a perfect space for a family. I want the space to be inviting and ready for entertaining. I want the walls and furniture to be in neutral tones for practical reasons and also to give the room warmth and softness. Accent combination of green and blue will be introduced through cushions, curtains and bespoke footstools. A hint of yellow on accessories will complete the look and tie the scheme together.EXAMPLE 3. Concept board with furniture inspiration


I have drawn inspiration from table dressing which I displayed on the bottom right of this concept board. This board is more specific than the other two as it shows the fabric, flooring and wallcovering suggestions. Type of lighting and furniture choices are also clearly indicated. The feel of the room is still the same but the presentation of the concept board is completely different. It must be stressed that this format is not a sample board which shows the final finishes, textures, fabrics and furniture proposals. Instead it is a faster way of creating a visual aid of your design idea.Have you ever done a concept board? I want to hear from you.


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