5 Tips To Help You Create A Mood Board

Here's an example of a mood board for a website.
Here's an example of a mood board for a website. [Photo source]

Why create a Mood Board?

The mood board is an effective platform to present a winning design idea. It allows you to create a visual template of a particular idea in your mind without the need to create the exact final product that you want. In short, the mood board is an intermediary output between an idea and the finished product.

One of the major challenges of any designer is to come up with a design that impresses the client while trying to meet a specific deadline. Creating the final design may sound like a good idea in order for the client to see the product, but your efforts may be useless if the client doesn’t approve of the design. On the flip side, you might prefer brainstorming ideas and scribbling them down on paper to allow your ideas to flow freely. However, this might not be easy for the client to visualize your concept, and your brilliant design concept might end up getting rejected.

Here's an example of a mood board for a website.

Here’s an example of a mood board for a website. [Photo source]

By using a mood board, you are essentially presenting your ideas on a more visual perspective, by using photo samples, color palettes, and several strips of images. Call it a scrapbook of sorts for designers, allowing you to present the general feel of your design idea so that the client can get inside your head and imagine your concept.

Tips to help you get started on your Mood Board

If you feel that mood boards can help you communicate your design idea to your clients, here are five effective tips in making sure that your mood board pushes the client to approve of your design concept:

1. Explore the world

mood board explore

Although digital mood boards require you to sit in front of the computer to create the design concept, you are free to find other sources of inspiration. Get out of your usual work situation and catch some ideas from other places, time zones, and people. You may start by going to nearby galleries and art exhibits, watching music videos, and checking out magazines and other design inspirations that you don’t usually read.

2. Build upon a central theme

mood board central theme

It’s easy to complicate your mood board when you have so many ideas in mind. When you start putting a mood board together, pick a focal point that will become the basis of all items on the board. If you’re planning a website theme for a particular company, look into its mission statement and make it an inspiration for the items that you pin on the mood board. You may also start with a specific color or an object of interest.

3. Use the right tools

mood board tools

The tools that you need will depend on what kind of mood board you are going to make. If you choose to create a physical mood board, prepare lots of pictures and magazine clippings, adhesive and cutting tools, and a large board (preferably not smaller than 24” by 18”). As for digital mood boards, you can use a laptop or PC, a popular image creation and editing software such as Photoshop, and connection to the Internet so that you can do quick online searches of mood board items.

4. Evoke emotions

mood board emotion

Some of the best pitches and advertisements cut to the heart or spark a specific emotion, leading the viewer to be emotionally attached. You can use this approach to let your clients “feel” or experience your idea on an emotional level. You can do this by telling a story through the mood board, or capturing a specific emotion – joy, sadness, fear, or whatever suits your design project. Let the client be intrigued and curious to find out more about your design concept.

5. Evaluate your work

mood board evaluate

After amassing all of the items and pinning them on the mood board, it’s time to take one step back and check what you have done. In assessing your mood board, you need to answer the following questions:

  • Does it convey a clear message?
  • Is there a central theme or focal point?
  • Are all items on the board related to the central theme?
  • Does it represent the intended client or creative direction?

This is a good time to review your mood board and perhaps change some things before you present it to the client. It’s also a good practice to let others see your board and ask them for feedback.