Hello, and a warm welcome. I’m Rosslyn Tebbutt, author of this blog and founder of SampleBoard, a cloud software company pioneering a targeted niche – digital mood board creation, specifically aimed at professionals and students in the creative industries like interior design and wedding planning.

Prior to starting SampleBoard which launched in 2010, I worked as an interior designer at Louis Karol Architects, one of the largest multi-disciplinary firms in South Africa and before that at Area Sq in London, one of the UK’s leading commercial interior design and fit-out specialists. I’ve studied painting, history of art, photography, magazine journalism and web design and hold a national diploma in Interior Design from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town.

I believe I have the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of a start-up founder, yet I self-identify as a designer. With my background in art and design, particularly interior design, I understand the needs of creative professionals, making SampleBoard a product ‘for designers, by designers’.


life adventures


SampleBoard seedling

I’ve always loved designing mood boards for client presentations and started playing around with different techniques. I scanned in samples of fabric, paint, tile and carpet swatches instead of using the traditional board and tape method, and started rendering my AutoCad drawings electronically using Photoshop and PowerPoint. This technique allowed me to create beautiful layouts for clients, but it was very time-consuming. I realized there was a gap in the market for web-based software that would amalgamate all the programs and methods I used to make designing mood boards faster, more effective and more professional looking, from the comfort of your own creative space, anywhere in the world.


Inspiration behind SampleBoard

I envisaged creating an eco-friendly sample board and mood board generator that would not only lift the overall standard of design presentations by being electronic and green, but to make design an interactive experience to be shared amongst design teams within a corporate sector and between students working as a team.

With my background in interior design, I know how easy it is to head down the wrong path, and spend hours or days or even weeks on design work that falls flat with the client.

Mood boards are a great way of timeously getting you and your client on the same page. It helps your client to visualize the design concepts and ideas you’ve discussed prior to committing to specific fabrics, furniture, color schemes or a specific layout.

SampleBoard allows you to quickly and efficiently tweak and edit your mood board presentation digitally without having to use the old tools needed to make a traditional board including the board, tape, adhesive, stanley knife and labels.


My findings

I have learnt a lot of valuable lessons during my time of trial and error creating SampleBoard. I recently had a very personal revelation that SampleBoard is not just a business in the sense of the word for “creating mood boards” or “creative networking”. SampleBoard is my personal journey, a quest for those unanswered questions we ask ourselves – what is my purpose? what makes me happy? how far can I push myself to achieve my goal? what do I want out of life? am I doing the best I possibly can?

I have made SampleBoard my life-guide, my teacher. I sometimes question if it’s my stubbornness or persistence that makes me carry on day in and day out, but I believe in order to be successful in business you need to have vision, drive, determination, and discipline. And with that comes a whole lot of excitement, discovery, lots of work and research, frustration somewhere along the way, problem solving and ultimately fulfillment.

I hope that in my very small way I can inspire fellow creatives out there. This is, after all, a journey and not a destination, and I’d love to share with you.