One of the first comments a potential client makes during our initial phone interview is, "I know what I like, but I don't know where to start." Every designer has a different approach, and I'd wager that even if a designer has a normal starting point for inspiration in their design process, it changes slightly with each project.
Sometimes, something especially personal to the client takes center stage - a fabulous rug, or a favorite piece of art. But more often, a concept develops out of a creative jam session. I put together mood boards as part of my own creative process. Regardless of whether the exercise is for an actual or imaginary project, it helps me hone my aesthetic, and often leads to "aha" moments.
Owning a boutique design firm means a lot of time is spent doing the non-creative aspects of the job, so it's important to be able to laser in on techniques that keep me inspired, providing unexpected and delightful ideas to my clients.