Finding Aesthetics

Hello everyone,

I’m working on a semester long project in my junior studio, and this week’s assignment is to make a board featuring images of existing projects that share elements of the aesthetics that I’m going for with design direction. My question is this. How would you find the images of products that follow the look you are going for? Do you just need some really good Google fu and/or design history knowledge? or is there a method that you guys use to find the product with just the right look for mood boards?

Google, but also constant intake of design every single day. Follow blogs, go to NotCot, Engadget, Yanko… Download images everyday. If you’re not doing this by junior year you should get on it.

I use this in combination with Google for fast media searching; a Firefox plugin.

I guess this week I’m going to need to add some more design sites to my repertoire of regularly visited websites. Do you have any more suggestions other than those already mentioned and Core?

In addition to the design specific sources, I would recommend using non-design sources as well. Aesthetics can be found in a clump of dirt if one is willing to look.

Also, since I am an old-timer, I like going to the periodical section at the local bookstore for images. They are up to date and well organized.


heck, just google design blogs…


Hi Yo!

Lately I have been resuscitating old threads instead of starting new ones, if that is ok. I was wondering, is there a difference between a MOOD BOARD and an INSPIRATION BOARD? Or are they the same thing? I also found an old thread of examples of your inspiration boards and they were really inspirational! Inspiration for inspiration boards - #5 by mrtwills


It’s the same thing. You’re creating a visual language to communicate something specific to a specific audience. It’s the applied semantics that give your product a reason for looking/feeling like it does. I like to use keyword searches to see how people tag images online and build my imagery that way. Design blogs are nice, but they feel more processed/less fundamental than what I want a lot of the time. I use them for filler once I’ve established aesthetic parameters with keywords.




convoy blog

the sartorialist

gq magazine


clothing, personal accessories, architecture, and people are all appropriate in crafting these image stories.

This evening I’ll post up some of this type of work I have done to inform design directions. Hope these help for now.


Fantastic, David! Thank you. Look forward to seeing your examples.

Thanks to you too, Bepid!

Hopefully this isn’t taking the thread off topic, but how does everyone keep their referenceimages organized? Just in folders or tagged with some software like Lightroom or Picassa? And are these pictures your personal collection that you bring to work assignments or does your company play an active role in curating them?

maybe try to be the first design student in history (exaggeration to make point, no examples needed) to remember that aesthetics relate not only to how things look but also all of the other senses, what they smell like, how they feel, sound etc. (etc as in sight, sound, touch, taste, smell…)

I just discovered baubauhaus.

It is simply a bunch of images. Click on an image and you will see other images which share the same tags.

Very, very hot.


Below is a mood board and a watch design that resulted from this mood board. When designing, I always try to develop four directions. Each direction is always introduced with imagery to establish a tone for the following concept or concepts.

Another mood board for a footwear concept and the concept.

I hope these help a bit.


Absolutely! Its about seeing as much as possible so you naturally understand what is and what isn’t appropriate. You will eventually be able to access inspiration from a memory bank living in your head. Making inspiration boards will be second nature and this will really help as you see big picture and define design directions and then zoom into detailing.

I also like this. There is nothing better than going through pages. I think you take in what you see so much better than when you are slouching at a computer. Even better than magazine pages is, “real life.” See the details. Touch the de bossed branding. Understand the edge treatments.

This is really important stuff. Hope we are all helping!


Oh. and when you go out in the market, take a pen and paper so you can write down what you like then pull images off the internet for your mood boards. If you are looking through magazines at a book store, do the same. Write down your favorite things and note what things will be appropriate for the project you are currently working on.


When you make these mood/image boards, do you reference all the images ? their author, date, location etc etc ?

I look at tons of websites each day and save hundreds of photos a week, But if i use these photos in my work for university I have to reference them. Finding and cataloging the references for each individual photo is impossibly time consuming.

How do you deal with this and what do you suggest ?

Who told you to do that?

Who told me I had to reference ?
My university did, anything that was not created my me (images/video/text/data) has to be referenced using the Harvard referencing format.

They take it as everything in the project was done by you unless you say “this is not my content” and reference it.
For the reference you need title,author, publisher, date and location it can be accessed, which is impossible for images found on tumblr’s.

They gave us big scary lectures on plagiarism and apparently referencing everything is a massive deal. :confused: