What is a Moodboard?6 min read

A mood board (or inspiration board) is a physical or digital collage of ideas that are commonly used in fields like interior design, fashion, and graphic design.

Mood boards are more extensive than just creating your Pinterest board. Don’t believe us? Below, we list some of the ways developing a mood board can help you develop your ideas. From multi-team projects to building the foundations of a company, learning to use mood boards as part of your initial brainstorming process can help you save time and energy when maturing an idea and making the whole process super easy, fun, and time-saving.

Learn how to create a mood board below.

How to make a mood board?

In this guide, you’ll learn a new angle to a classic technique. Moodboards are a great way to set the visual direction for a project, but they don’t need to be static PDFs or PPTs any more. Modern mood boards can include video, motion, or even sound. You can easily share them online with your clients and your team to get feedback. And instead of going through those boring texts and time taking presentations, one can actually create exciting and easy to understand mood boards.

  1. Be clear what you’re trying to achieve

Moodboards fall into several vast categories. They can either be authentic and factual (i.e. featuring fonts, color schemes, and images that you actually plan to use in a final piece of work) or they can be less literal and more about exploring tone and mood. You can handle these two different types in a synchronized manner or you can simply make either one or two of them.

  1. Choose a few high-level directions

Till this point, you’d have a lot of vibrant ideas which you would like to explore. This is good! Remember, you should always have your base idea clear so that you can easily build-up more layers to it. A mood board is all about exploration, so don’t get too attached to a particular direction at the start and try to have some fun with your different ideas.

  1. Focus on one thing

If doing a mood board for the project as a whole is too overwhelming, try focusing on one element at a time.  This is a smart move because the color palette works on viewers subconsciously to establish what the brand is all about. If making a mood board for personal use it can give you, your inspiration in a synchronized form.

  1. Collect any written inspiration

It’s easier to have the written content sorted before you upload any media file on your mood board. This might include brand values, positioning statements, taglines, or even goals, points to remember, or any other parts of the brief that will inspire you or keep you on track.

  1. Add any visual media that already exist

Now it’s time to start adding visual elements. Start with the basic stuff. If a logo already exists, drop it in. The same goes for any existing expressions of the goal, brand or theme you are making your mood board for. It’s not compulsory that these are included in your final board but at least your card starts off with something. Let the sorting of the images remain for the later part.

  1. Collect engrossing design from around the web

Next, it’s time to start searching online. There are lots of fantastic sites where you can find great visual inspiration from. It gives you thousands of free images for your desired mood board.  The keyword you use to search can be literal words describing the topic of the mood board (e.g. “bicycle”) metaphors (e.g. “ribbon”) or descriptive (e.g. “clean”).

  • Drag in a new Note to keep track of your search terms
  • Search the web for images that match your keywords
  • When you find an image you like, save it for inspiration but never use a copyright-protected image
  1. Add some photography

The photos you choose can start to define things like tone, cropping, lighting, and color. You can also start to decide whether photography should contain people, who they should be, and what emotions they should be expressing. One of the major keys to creating the appropriate mood board is by sticking to the actual topic and still having fun with it.

  1. Add colors and fonts

Color palettes and fonts can be a great way to express a particular mood or personality. Tools like Kuler can be a great starting point for finding colors that complement the brand you’re working with. Another trick is to pick colors directly from the images and photos you’ve added to the board. You should try to make your color tone or the vibe of the board in a similar and aesthetic manner.

  1. Add examples of motion and animation

The days of static and boring-looking mood boards are gone. With an online board, it’s possible to embed examples of how movement and animation could contribute to a piece of creative work. Get your hands on some animated GIFs from Giphy and video from YouTube to bring your board to life. You can also use your personal videos if creating a self-usage mood board.

  1. Focus on composition, hierarchy, and scale

Now that you’ve got the base pieces, it’s time to start arranging them into a final layout. Starting by scaling and placing the logo can be a good way to lead your project. Use the size of elements to indicate their importance, and put related elements side by side. This process can be a bit brainstorming and tedious, so just relax and enjoy it cause you’re going to love the end product!

  1. Add some notes explaining your thinking

Although a mood board is a piece of visual communication, still it’s going to need an explanation before it makes sense to someone else. Adding short notes about why certain elements were chosen can really help communicate your idea in better and understandable. Embedding these notes in a board keeps everything in context. Paying attention to the context of design and trying to anticipate any requirements that may go along with that will help your mood board get a good reception.

  1. Ask for feedback

Now that you have your final product, it’s time to get some feedback. There’s nothing like a mood board to kickstart a conversation with your team or your clients about what’s working and what isn’t, or even to inspire you for achieving your desired goals.

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