Mood boards are great. They’re fun to create but they’re also a very helpful part of the creative process. They allow you to draw your inspiration together and define a direction for the style you want to achieve. We’ve already talked about creating a mood board for your brand but there are many more ways you can use a mood board as well.
What is a mood board?
A mood board is an arrangement of inspirational images and graphics such as photos, patterns, illustrations or lettering which work together to evoke a certain style direction for creative projects. Mood boards help you to outline your approach and put your ideas into a visual concept. Sometimes a concept is easier to explain in visual form than with words. That’s why designers often use this method to exchange ideas with a client and see if they align with what their client had in mind. Every mood board should have one overlying theme.
Mood boards can be created in physical form with magazine cutouts, color swatches, and fabrics or in digital form with photos and graphics drawn from the internet. Either way, they’re often the starting point of creative projects but can also be used for reference purposes later on.
The process of creating a mood board
The process is more or less the same for physical or digital mood boards. The best way to start is always by defining a couple of keywords for the style of your project. These keywords help you to look for inspiration and collect fitting images. In the first round, you can go broad and just collect everything that might fit the style you want to achieve. Then you start to refine your choice by sorting out and keeping only the images that best align with your concept. Curate until you have about 5 images left which you can arrange on your mood board. Keep in mind that sometimes you have to see them next to each other to know if they fit or not.
9 creative ways to use mood boards
Creating a mood board for your brand is a great way to explore your brand style and develop a visual vocabulary when you’re trying to build your brand from scratch. It helps you not only to develop a brand identity but also serves as a reference every time you create something for your brand. Having your mood board at your side when you design graphics will keep your style cohesive.
Related post: How to create a mood board for your brand
Just like branding, every design project can profit from a mood board. Especially if you’re collaborating with others it ensures everybody is on the same wavelength. From photo project over marketing campaign to newsletter layout, every project can benefit from a mood board.
If you’re planning big events like weddings you can profit from a visual concept. Events often have a theme that can better be conveyed through images. With a mood board, you can outline the setup and style you want to achieve through decoration, flowers, etc. before you talk to a wedding planner. Junebug Weddings has a helpful guide on making a mood board for your wedding.
Do you want your feed to look awesome like those of the influencer you follow? A feed, in which all images work together and have this overall theme. The best way to start is by defining your style and creating a theme. Create a mood board and curate your feed to achieve a consistent style. Here’s a post by Studio Bicyclette which explains how to use your brand colors to create a cohesive feed.
Changing your wardrobe and defining a personal style is often a long-term process. A mood board can help you to find out what you like, which colors, fabrics, and cuts. If you decide to downsize and create a capsule wardrobe it’s even more important to look at those things. A visual reference in the form of a mood board will help you to make sure new pieces you buy work together with what you have and create a well-balanced look. Take a look at this extensive guide from Anuschka Rees.
Home decoration/ renovation
Picking wallpapers and colors can already be a difficult undertaking. And how to make sure everything will work together once it’s finished? Every home renovation project should start with finding inspiration and slowly curating and reducing until you find what you want. Why not do this in the form of a mood board? You can include color swatches, fabrics, accessories, the furniture you already have and want to keep or new signature pieces you want to invest in. It’s often easier if you decide on a theme first e.g. minimal, cottage style, beach house. This helps you to pick the right materials to work with or make color choices.
A somehow different form of a mood board is the vision board. From monthly over seasonal to long-term, everything is possible. A vision board can help you to determine what you want to achieve. On this vision board, you can assemble images and quotes which motivate and inspire you. A vision board can work for your business as well as personal life. It’s a great way to work on your mindset instead of just focusing on numbers and status with your goals.
Related post: On goals without numbers
If it’s for one of the projects above or something completely different, mood boards always enable you to define a color palette. The images you decide to include are based on colors and tones which automatically align with your project. Our eyes are trained to look for repeating elements. This makes it easy to decide which images work well together. Once you have assembled your mood board you can look for the main colors which stand out and can be found in several of your images. A color-picker tool can help you to take colors out of photos and create a complete color palette.
Pitch your idea
As I’ve already mentioned above, explaining an idea or concept to somebody is always easier if you can show images. People often can’t visualize a concept if you just outline it in words or they imagine something completely different from what you had in mind. In this case, a mood board can make a real difference and ensure everybody is on the same page before the project starts.
Now, tell me what projects you’ve already created mood boards for. Are they on this list?