Design Boards: Why make them?


June, 2018

Design Boards: Why Make Them?

As a designer, meaningful communication sets the standard for a good designer/client relationship and clear expectations on both sides.

Consider these three main reasons that you, as a designer, would want to create and use a design board:

  • They establish trust through meaningful communication
  • They detail consistency through exemplified work
  • They convey your reliability as a designer

The design board is the blueprint for the project

The designer’s job at the outset is to recognize the customer’s design style.  This happens through asking insightful questions, listening attentively, and responding as needed. After gathering an initial understanding of the client, what they would like to see in their design (as well as what they don’t like), you can express your understanding of their need through a design board. At Pier5 our design boards consist of the following:

  • Colors – Primary, Secondary, and highlighting
  • Textures for backgrounds
  • Typeface/Fonts
  • Images and Photos

Color that expresses the emotions of the client’s brand, images that reflect who they are and what they’re about, typeface that adds the subtle, but crucial bit to what is said, and putting it all into one cohesive, straight forward, design. It doesn’t have to be a completed design, it just needs to be an example or possible mock-up of how it will all work together. Once the design board is set, you have the blueprint for the project.

Ask insightful questions and listen attentively to understand your client’s design style and needs

Gaining Trust through Design

The important underlying element is that your customer/client must be able to trust you. Asking meaningful questions, listening, and responding shows that the client’s design matters to you. At times, clients can give the “I’ll know it when I see it” feedback. This is typically the case when they’ve not yet seen or developed a design that resonates with them. Through ongoing communication, you have the opportunity and ability to develop something that captures their business persona.  By taking time to understand their needs and create a design that matters, you gain the most valuable commodity from your client: trust.

Consistency Is Key

Owning that trust through consistency is vital for gaining and keeping a client. Once you have established what the look and feel of the design will be, it’s a simple thing to stick to the design board and stay true to what’s been established. Show your consistency. You, your whole team, and your client need to all be consistent with what you produce and what is expected on all sides.

By taking time to understand your client’s needs and create a design that matters, you gain the most valuable commodity from them: trust

Cohesive Branding and Design

When your client relies on you, you have succeeded in increasing your brand, your business, and your excellence. The design board is that initial step towards gaining reliability and a consistent clientele. It is the centerpiece of being a successful designer. You listen and learn about the client, you prove yourself a trustworthy, consistent designer through your design board, and you reliably – without surprises – deliver by referring back to the created and agreed-upon design board.


Three of my favorite things include physical activities, excellent fantasy/Sci-Fi books, and a good challenge. I love seeing creativity and hard work paying off.

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