Presentation Boards – Hand Prepared or Digital?

So, you have a client brief. You’ve done your research and now you’re ready to ‘put pen to paper’ – in the interior design world this means you’re ready to convey your design concept via presentation boards. This can include a Samples Board, a Products Board or 3D Visuals.

But the question is; do you opt for digital presentation or good old fashioned hand prepared?

Similar to my previous discussion surrounding hand rendering v computer generated; there are valid and plausible arguments for each method.

Digital boards are a fantastic time saving tool – you can knock up a board in no time and make quick amendments at short notice and utilise all the image editing tricks of the trade to try and entice the client further by making the overall presentation of the board a little more inspirational. Plus they can be delivered to the client via email – convenience at its very best.  Here are a few examples of my digital boards:

Digital Boards

The downside to digital boards is that they (unsurprisingly) are quite visually flat and lack the ‘ohh and ahh’ tactile quality that a hand prepared board will undoubtedly provide. Surely there’s nothing better or more exciting than seeing first-hand the fabulous textures, materials and finishes within a proposed design scheme? AND a photograph will never accurately depict the colours, textures or overall composition of a piece of fabric, sample of paint or floor covering as opposed to witnessing it in reality. But oh my, the HOURS of preparation that hand prepared boards require!! It’s a case of sticky finger central!! And I have personal experience of this!

When I submitted my boards for the UK wide IDS competition (for which I received a commendation…ahem) the floor in my living room was a crime scene of mount boards, foam boards, double sided tape, spray adhesive, various types of glue, sellotape, a scalpel and trillions of other goodies that you would find in any art store.  And if you make a mistake??  There’s trillions of curse words to match the trillions of utensils!

Here are the boards that I submitted for the above IDS competition:

IDS Comp 1

IDS Comp 2

As you can see they have a very ‘touchy-feely’ quality that the digital boards don’t possess and they also provide that personal and creative touch that many clients would probably not only prefer but actually appreciate.

But I’m still undecided. I like the efficiency of digital boards AND the creativity of hand prepared boards. Which do you prefer? Drop me a line and let me know!

Click here to get my top tips on producing digital presentation boards!


  1. B.E. says:

    They complement each other so the client ‘should’ get both. The digital board, as you said, is easier, versatile and flexible not to mention that it is easier to source the images (products) to put on it. Getting the actual samples for the board is very time consuming and if the client does not like the board, one has to start all over again. Also, the digital board allows the designer to show a pretty realistic presentation leaving little (or less) room for misunderstanding.
    Once the client is happy with the digital version, a sample board can be produced so the client can get that “touchy-feely”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. anitadesignstudio says:

    Thanks for your comment. And what a great answer! Yes, it can be difficult (and costly) to source the relevant products. And I agree; the best service to the client would be providing both.


  3. Lorraine says:

    HI Neets, long time no speak. I am a bit on the fence here because I like each choice for different reasons, which are pretty much the same as yours. I think the hand made ones are probably best in terms of the touchy feely side of things and it’s nice for the client to feel the textures etc, but obviosuly the digital option is as you mentioned quicker, I think it comes down to personal choice I suppose and whether you have the time to put the hand created ones together!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • anitadesignstudio says:

      Hello my darling Lorraine! Yea, I like both for different reasons too. And you’re so right about the time constraints when producing hand created boards!! They can be quite time consuming! 😉


  4. Adam S says:

    Pretty snappy!


  5. I prefer digital for my presentations, as easier and quicker, you can put more info on them. But I also always take samples along with me for the ‘touching’ part, but don’t need to glue or staple them to anything! I have had many long nights in the past finishing those handmade boards, and really don’t want to go there anymore!


  6. anitadesignstudio says:

    I agree, handmade boards are extremely time consuming; like you said bringing along samples is a good compromise.


  7. Amanda Dodds-Hooson says:

    Hi Anita, That is what I do too, I love digitally prepared boards and will always produce them in this way, but I take ‘samples’ to back them up too!!

    Liked by 1 person

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