So far I have been working on project management, defining the target audience and their needs, and improving the structure of the application. Before moving to visual design, I first needed to identify the kind of visual style that suits the target audience and works in a mobile phone UI. I want the UI to be inspiring, yet it still needs to be readable and not too intimidating.


In order to gather more information on which kind of visual style my target group prefers, I created ten mood boards on different kinds of visual art. The boards included examples of illustrations, typography and overall visual style associated with each genre. I asked ten people, all of which belong to my the target group, to answer questions on which board they associate their work with, which styles they like and do not like and which ones they would choose as their backgrounds. The idea behind the background questions was to find how long the participants would be willing to look at a certain style before it becomes too distracting or annoying. I also asked them what kind of prompts they would want, if they were to be based on the board styles.

The cultural background boards consisted of the following:

  • Editorial illustration
  • Graphic novels
  • Digital art
  • Traditional art
  • Fine art
  • Character concept art
  • Cartoons
  • Landscape art
  • Minimalist illustration
  • Fan art

The participants liked the colourfulness and consistent palette of the minimalist and editorial styles. Along with the graphic novel style, people liked the visual language of those boards and felt inspired by them. Out of all boards fine art was the least popular, as it did not represent what people wanted from their own art, and it felt old-fashioned and cluttered according to the participants.


Most participants would want prompts based on the traditional, digital and fan art boards. The appeal is in relaxed approach and dynamic lines. Some would like to learn character concept art and landscape art, but they feel too intimidated by them to start. Cartoony style felt approachable yet too branded. Editorial and fine art styles were “too ready, looks like the expectations are high”. Traditional illustration was the most approachable. Clarity and approachability were the top two qualities people mentioned. Colourful flats and flowing lines were also popular. The feedback from the boards has given me a good base to build my visual design on, and I will start iterating the visual design based on this information.

Published by Virpi Väinölä


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