How to create a mood board & how to put it to its best use

Just throw some pics together and there you have it. Just kidding. Or not quite? The main point is to collect images you like. Whether you use Pinterest for digital images or a wall for magazine cuts and prints it’s your decision. I feel way more comfortable with anything digital, and I’d rather take a pic of a printed magazine and add it to my collection rather than start putting stuff on the walls. But that’s just me. After you’ve collected your fair share of photos, patterns, fonts, textures and color samples, you will eventually have to stop. I know that’s difficult, but enough is enough. Sometimes too much inspiration can do more damage than good.

Once you’ve gathered everything onto a huge board there comes the difficult part. You have to be tough, watch with a critical eye and eliminate. You probably have a lot of duplicates or similar picks, so it’s time to choose between them. Repeat the process a few times if it’s necessary, until you get a coherent board. Or close enough to coherent. Try not to be subjective. If you like something but it doesn’t fit with the overall style or aesthetics, you should throw it away without second guesses.

When you’ve finished the curating process and you’ve made up your mind about the final images, start moving them around until they are a perfect fit. There is no definite order, put your creativity and your gut at work. You can use Photoshop or any image editing app you’re comfortable with. What I recommend is to pick samples of up to 5 matching colors. You don’t know it yet, but this will be a lifesaver later. When I started out, I kind of forgot this little detail and I would always have to go back and color sample text. Rookie mistakes, I’m telling you.

You can find a lot of templates out there which you can use if you want. Or you can create your own layout if you feel inspired. And try to come up with 2 or even 3 alternatives which are completely different. That way your choice will be more decisive. Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will be great.

How to use a mood board

As I was saying in the previous post in this series, mood boards are means of communication. They can help a designer share their creative vision with the client or a business share its creative vision with clients. The initial reaction is everything. As designers, we’ve all lived that moment when we finally get to showcase our hard work and we’re biting our nails waiting for the client to offer their feedback.

Mood boards are also points of reference which help illustrate the general aesthetics of a brand. And remember that unless you actually speak about your vision the others might not get it and might reject your ideas because they don’t know the motivation behind them. These cues will help create the visual identity of the brand. You will always go back to them when you create other elements.

Always be ready to start again from scratch. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but the first attempt is always just a draft, no matter how fabulous you think it is at that moment. A month later you will agree with your client that there was place for a lot of improvement. The 10th version, well, that’s infinitely better. Just remember if you work hard & you’re kind, amazing things will happen.


2 thoughts on “How to create a mood board & how to put it to its best use

  1. This is such a helpful post! I’ve always like the idea of a mood board but never quite knew how to put one to use really! Thanks so much for sharing this ๐Ÿ™‚ love reading your posts! xx


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