What is a Mood board? Tips on how to create one.

Do you ever have that feeling that 'I'll know it when I see it ?


Or when you do say “That’s exactly what I was imagining in my head”?


Mood boards help others to 'get inside our heads' to express a theme for a design or convey the feel of project.

When trying to convey a design idea, moods, feelings and intangible concepts are not straightforward to communicate. Working in trend forecasting I have created literally 100’s of mood boards over the years, they would generally consist of : a collection of, images, colours, textures and text related to a design theme as a reference point. This can be applied to numerous creative projects and a powerful motivational lifestyle tool.


Mood boards can be a great way to convey your design ideas to others and clarify your thoughts. If we were able to read minds it would save a lot of time but it’s generally not how we communicate. What I'm thinking and feeling about a creative idea, my wish for my dream interior scheme, wedding, brand, is limited to how good my verbal communication skills are at expressing this to others I am working with. Communicating through images has great power, it can speak directly to our hearts without the need for words. Choosing the right ones and how they fit together is a skill and takes some practice.


Mood boards can take time to create, hours can be lost trawling Pinterest, websites, books and magazines looking for that perfect image to sum up your intended feel for your project.


Over years of honing these skills, I am sharing some tips to help make your mood board making more effective – and getting the results you want from your creative project in a less stressful way.


Think you don't have time to create mood boards? Using one can help things move faster, more efficiently, saving you time, mistakes, and money in the long run.

Gathering inspiration


1. Look beyond the digital world

When putting together mood boards, it's easy (and therefore tempting) to just use Google Images. Look beyond digital-based inspiration, real world inspiration can be a very powerful when putting together a board, it maybe more engaging and personal, 3D and textural objects are vital to the process too.


2. Take pictures when you're out

Real world inspirations are all around us. Use the camera on your phone to take pictures of everything you see that inspires you – it could be, a font or saying on a sign, or the colours of an up close detail from a piece of artwork or pattern on a pavement, natural forms, waves, rocks, flowers, or a beautiful evocative sunset. They don't have to be great photos in the traditional sense – it's all about capturing thoughts, impressions, themes and feelings.

Creating the mood board- The basic concepts

1 What you leave out is as important as what you choose.

When putting together mood boards, think of yourself as a curator rather than a collector, and try to have meaning and threads from one image to the next.

2. Choose the right format- physical or online mood boards

Is your mood board is going to be something you will need to share with others? The answer will decide whether you produce an offline or online mood board. The distinction of the two formats demand very different approaches.

A physical mood board will generally be looser in style, it can be layered, include 3D and textural objects which give an extra emotive spark. An online mood board will be tighter and will generally need to work harder to convey a theme or style.

3. Build things up around a large image

Whether it's online or physical, the layout of your mood board needs to give prominence to key theme images, then surround these with smaller supporting images that enhance the theme.

A large image on your board will tend to lead the story and be the most value link to your overall feel of what you want to convey. Other, smaller supporting images will help add dimension to the story and clarify the messaging given in the larger one.

4. Get tactile- physical mood boards

When making a physical mood board, don't be afraid to get, physical. Traditionally mood boards are made from foam board and images can be added in a variety of ways. It's extremely effective as a presentation tool. The tactile nature of cut-out images on the board enhances the emotiveness of what is being explained. It may seem like an old-fashioned thing to do, but it is a great way to engage the senses and add dimension to the story you are creating.

5. Add magic and spark imagination

Think out of the box. What would gives a genuine emotive response? Real word objects are good for this. If you were inspired by the beach, add in a shell. If your travels inspired you, it could be a memento or postcard you picked up, or a piece of vintage fabric you have been saving for years because you love the colours and pattern. These are the types of things add that personal touch, uniqueness to your mood board and will set them apart from others.

If you are unsure or need help with your creative project? I offer 1:1 advice and workshops.

I am happy to chat and would love to from you, book a free 20min chat, email me astridcblake@outlook.com to arrange your call.

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