Moodboards: do's and don'ts (2023)

Whether you're working on a big creative project, a marketing campaign ordesign a catalog, a mood board is a tried and true method that has the ability to get your creative juices flowing.

What is a mood board?

A moodboard is a collection of images, colors and fonts that perfectly define what a project is about. You can include a variety of things like photos, illustrations, clippings, color palettes, textures, words, and really anything that helps set the direction of your project.

In other words, a moodboard (also known as an inspiration board) is a physical or digital collage of ideas that is commonly used in diverse fields such as fashion, interior design, art, etc.

You can use moodboards in two ways:

  • be inspired by
  • to help you better present a project or idea to others

That's why inspiration boards are often used in the early stages of a project. They help the creator refine his ideas and visualize how various elements fit together. They are also a very useful visual aid to help the designer present and communicate their vision clearly.

Moodboards help you get your creative juices flowing so you have a source of inspiration. On the other hand, they help others to "get inside their head" by showing their intended vision for a job.

How to make a mood board

Moodboards can mean different things to different people, especially since when it comes to creating a moodboard, there are no hard and fast rules you have to follow. You really only need to communicate a theme or a "mood". Sometimes there is no better waycome up with a creative ideaor a style.

(Video) Storyboard & Moodboard Tips | Don't Go Into 3D Software Without Doing This First!

With that said, here are some tips to help you create a great mood board, and also some things you might want to avoid.

1. Choose theme

Start by establishing your objective and your topic. Before you start looking at images, colors, fonts, materials and textures, you need to ask yourself: What is the result I want to achieve? What will this moodboard be about? The answer will help you establish the theme or an overall creative vision. That way, when you start browsing and selecting, you won't stray too far from your goal.

The theme will be your anchor point as you start building your mood board. Otherwise, instead of being a source of inspiration, your moodboard can become a source of confusion.

Another great benefit of clearly stating the topic of your mood board is the fact that it will help you brainstorm various keywords associated with it.

NOgetting too attached to an idea from the start. You just need your goal to get started and some possible directions that will take you there. Moodboarding is all about exploration, so keep an open mind as you seek inspiration. Sometimes the most unexpected things turn out to be the best idea.

2. Look for inspiration in real life

Moodboards: do's and don'ts (1)

Whether you're walking in the park, heading to the grocery store, or looking out your window, potential inspiration is literally everywhere. You just need to keep an eye on your surroundings and you will be surprised how many interesting things your eyes can catch.

Use your phone's camera to take pictures of anything that inspires you, whether it's an interesting building, a cool sign, a captivating billboard, and the list can go on. They don't have to be great photos, it's about capturing thoughts, themes and feelings.

(Video) HOW TO CREATE A MOOD BOARD | A Step by Step Guide

NORely solely on digital inspiration, even if you decide to create a digital moodboard. It doesn't matter if you're digital or physical, real-world inspiration is all around us, so why not take advantage of it?

3. Try it and have fun

Moodboards: do's and don'ts (2)

This whole process of creating inspiration boards should be something you enjoy doing. You must generate ideas and gain perspective on different topics. So get creative and have fun!

NO: Limit yourself. Don't be afraid to experiment and let your mind blow. Just because others have done things a certain way doesn't mean you should too. You are your own teacher and you can decide what works and what doesn't for your project.

4. Select what you include

Moodboards: do's and don'ts (3)

Think of yourself as an art curator and your moodboard as an exhibition. Your mood board needs to 'touch' people and give them a cocktail of emotions, better understanding, new opinions and emotions. Remember that your mood board should tell a story and try to introduce substance and topics from one image to another rather than just scattering them aimlessly. That way, everything on your mood board is tied together and makes it easy to interpret.

NOCopy of. When it comes to a lot of material to choose from, it can all be quite complicated for you and it's easy to fall into the path of plagiarism. However, doing this won't help you create a true moodboard for yourself, it will just make you give other people's opinion on certain things. So, see these materials as inspiration and not your final work.

5. Choose presentation medium and layout

Moodboards: do's and don'ts (4)

First, you need to decide whether to go digital or physical. Digital moodboards are easy to create and present, and are the only way to do it if you need to share your moodboard with a remote team member or someone from a different geographic location. An amazing tool we recommend for creating digital moodboards isMilan🇧🇷 It's very easy to use and perfect for a variety of visual boards. Here at Flipsnack we use it constantly for some of our creative projects and we love it.

(Video) INTERIOR DESIGN How To Create a Mood Board Step by Step Easy Tutorial Using Canva

Physical boards can bring a sense of reality to a project and are better in certain situations. For example, for an interior design project, a physical board might be much better, as it allows you to include fabric swatches, which add an important tactile element.

As for the actual structure and style, you need to determine if you want clean lines, with edges separating neatly arranged images, or if you want to make a collage that blends everything together. Whatever you choose, just make sure you stick to a design.

NOleave unnecessary blanks as it may look unfinished. And if you choose to use borders on your mood board, be sure to measure how even they are.

6. Add texts and typography

Moodboards: do's and don'ts (5)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I couldn't agree more. However, adding a few words with the right typeface style and strategically placing them will improve the visual aspect of your mood board. Words and fonts can be powerful tools as they can set the tone and give meaning to the images you've added to your mood board.

NOneglect typography and fonts. If you decide to add some text to your mood board, font choice is critical. Think of some original fonts that work well with your design, and also a style for your text that pulls everything together nicely.

7. Review and edit, before the presentation

Moodboards: do's and don'ts (6)

The early stages of creating your inspiration board are all about exploring ideas and collecting as much inspiration as possible. At some point you'll realize that some things go together and some don't. There are some addresses you don't want to explore further and things on your board you want to keep. It's a sign that you're ready to refine and edit.

Save the images and samples that best represent the style you are looking for. Get rid of anything that conflicts with the theme.

(Video) Unlock Your Creative Potential | Understanding Mood Boards

An important element of the moodboard is the color palette. The color choices must blend beautifully and harmoniously into your dashboard.

Maintaining a unified design style will make your concept look cohesive and clear. This will help you communicate your ideas clearly and give off the right vibe.

When you get to the final steps of creating a moodboard, start organizing it. Any client or teammate should be able to understand what the moodboard is about by looking at the finished piece. A good tip for making it clear what the theme of your mood board is would be to focus on the big picture and build the rest of the board around it.

NOsave everything you started. Your moodboard can start out as a fun creative mess, but it shouldn't end up in a mess.

By now you know everything you need to start a moodboard. You know the process, the tools we recommend, and you're all set!

By the way, if you're interested in exploring creative endeavors, you might also be interested in giving Flipsnack a try. It has a built-in design tool that helps you create amazing one-page books that are perfect for presentations, portfolios, brochures, and more!


What should a moodboard include? ›

It can include just about anything — photography, designs or illustrations, color palettes, textures, descriptive words — anything that helps you define the direction of your project.

What are 3 Importances of mood boards? ›

Mood boards serve many purposes, starting with organizing a project's inspiration. They're a valuable resource to help keep the style and aesthetic of a project consistent with a client's goals and expectations. They're also an excellent way to refine a project's style before diving into the actual design process.

What are the disadvantages of a mood board? ›

Cons: Unlike other more robust processes, mood boards don't show the detailed timeline of an end project. If your boss or client is looking for more research or data, the visual approach might not be the most effective process for detailed-oriented projects.

What makes a successful mood board? ›

A great moodboard has a good balance of unity and variety. Make sure each moodboard is highly curated and assembled into a composition that focuses on what matters. Creating moodboards is a creative exercise in it's own right, so be bold and inventive.

What are the 4 components of a mood board? ›

These are the key mood board elements you must include in your design presentation:
  • Develop a Creative Concept Beyond Aesthetics. ...
  • Select a Consistent Color Palette That Represents Your Project. ...
  • Choose a Typography Series for Every Written Piece. ...
  • Create Textures and Prints According to Your Color Palette.
25 Jan 2022

How do you make a perfect mood board? ›

Make beautiful, shareable moodboards in minutes with Milanote
  1. Set the direction of your project. ...
  2. Collect existing material. ...
  3. Add inspiring imagery. ...
  4. Add examples of motion & sound. ...
  5. Add color, fonts & files. ...
  6. Transform your board from messy to organized. ...
  7. Remain open to inspiration, wherever you are. ...
  8. Explain your thinking.

What are the two types of mood board? ›

Mood boards can be digital and physical. These visual representations inform the viewer of the overall feel or vibe of the concept. They have great use in the creative process of illustrators, graphic designers, interior and industrial designers, photographers, and other creatives.

What is the purpose of a moodboard? ›

A mood board is a type of visual presentation or 'collage' consisting of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition. It can be based on a set topic or can be any material chosen at random. A mood board can be used to convey a general idea or feeling about a particular topic.

Who is the target audience of a moodboard? ›

The target audience for a mood board is the designers of a prod- uct. It helps them to see the ide- as and styles in one place. It is a visual tool used to generate and organise ideas for a project such as a web site or magazine cover.

How many pictures should be on a moodboard? ›

When agencies send photographers mood boards, they usually contain 5-15 images. Try to stick to this range for the number of photos in your mood board. When it comes to mood boards, less tends to be more. Too many images can dilute the essence of the feeling and atmosphere you are trying to get across.

Can a mood board have text? ›

A mood board is generally a collage consisting of photos, illustrations and other graphics. It may contain some text, but it's mainly a way to make your ideas visual and express yourself through images.

What is the difference between storyboard and Moodboard? ›

Mood board

Unlike storyboards, which are always ordered in narrative or sub-narrative flows, mood boards are only loosely organized. Mood boards are used to capture and cluster creative ideas very quickly. These ideas can range over many topics, but may include: Actual screenshots and wireframes.

What are the three steps in creating a moodboard? ›

There are three steps to making a moodboard:
  1. Brainstorm your theme. You probably have some ideas in mind from the get-go. ...
  2. Collect your elements. Take your early sources of inspiration, then challenge yourself to think outside of the box to find more. ...
  3. Review, curate and present your board.
30 Aug 2021

How do I make an aesthetic moodboard? ›

There are no formal rules to creating a mood board. You can add any sort of element that sparks inspiration. Some ideas include photography, font samples, color palettes, fabrics, nature, short videos, music, etc. Make sure you add a variety of colors, textures, and patterns to keep things interesting!

What medium can you use in a mood board? ›

You can bring photography, video, text, fabric, everything else side by side, and create a new narrative. There is only one goal here. To be able to express what is on your mind in a fast and visual way. When you look at it from this perspective, the mood board is a communication tool.

What is one of the advantages of using a mood board? ›

A mood-board can do so many things... It can tell someone how you feel, explain your ideas without words, divide opinion, influence and inspire... or even just be something beautiful to look at. We can make mood-boards work harder for us, we just need to make sure we use them to our advantage.

How many colors should a moodboard have? ›

Tip: For your color palette you want to choose anywhere from 5-8 colors. You want 1-2 primary colors, 1-3 secondary colors (this is your contrast or complementary color), and 2-3 neutrals (any combination of neutrals that go with your brand + balance out your palette).

How big should a moodboard be? ›

What size should mood boards be? Mood boards have different sizes when used for different purposes, but the standard 750 x 750 pixels (vertical) or 900 x 700 pixels (horizontal) is a great go-to size.

What are 5 important elements of a storyboard? ›

But when you boil it down, each story is actually made up of five basic story elements:
  • Character.
  • Conflict.
  • Plot.
  • Setting.
  • Theme.
11 Aug 2022

What are three 3 main components of storyboard? ›

3 Elements of a Great Storyboard
  • Main Ideas. Creating a great storyboard starts by including in large, bold text the main idea you wish you communicate on each slide. ...
  • Supporting Content. The next step in an effective storyboard is to include the supporting content for each slide. ...
  • Design Cues.
4 Jun 2019

What is another name for mood board? ›

In digital design, another term for “mood boards” is “visual territory boards”. In comparison, concept boards are also known as presentation boards. Unlike “concept board”, “mood board” is found in most dictionaries.

What are the benefits of a digital mood board? ›

Keep reading to learn more about the seven benefits of implementing mood boards into your workplace's brainstorming process.
7 Benefits of Mood Boards
  • Saves Time. ...
  • Cultivates Inspiration. ...
  • Refines Your Vision. ...
  • Allows for Modifications. ...
  • Fosters Stronger Client Relationships. ...
  • Can Be Used for Reference.
6 Jan 2022

Why are mood boards important for branding? ›

Moodboards set up the visual direction for the brand.

If the moodboard is done well, it sets up the visual direction for the brand from the very beginning of the design process, ensuring that the following work is seamless and stays cohesive with the essence of the brand.

How many images should a mood board have? ›

When agencies send photographers mood boards, they usually contain 5-15 images. Try to stick to this range for the number of photos in your mood board. When it comes to mood boards, less tends to be more. Too many images can dilute the essence of the feeling and atmosphere you are trying to get across.

Does a mood board need text? ›

Mood boards are a physical or digital arrangement of pictures, texts, and objects that represents or intends to project a particular style or concept or simply stand as the basis of any forthcoming project.

Why is Colour important on a mood board? ›

An important element of the mood board is the color palette. Color choices should come together beautifully and harmoniously within your board. Sticking with one unified design style will make your concept look cohesive and clear. It will help you communicate your ideas clearly and get the right vibe across.

What is the difference between mood board and brand board? ›

Mood board vs brand board

Your mood board is the starting point in designing your brand identity. A brand board is the finished article that contains your brand logos, sub-marks and icons, final brand colour palette, brand patterns and illustrations, brand typography or fonts and images for visual direction.

How do I make an aesthetic mood board? ›

There are no formal rules to creating a mood board. You can add any sort of element that sparks inspiration. Some ideas include photography, font samples, color palettes, fabrics, nature, short videos, music, etc. Make sure you add a variety of colors, textures, and patterns to keep things interesting!


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