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The importance of a mood board

I wanted to talk to you about something that I get a lot of feedback on and that is creating a mood board.

So I just wanted to go into what a mood board is and why it’s good to create one. Even if you know how to create one, I want to remind you how useful they’re are in the design process.

In my experience of working with students in the past, I know that people often feel reluctant to want to create one however they can really help with your end outcome.

If you do take the time to really formalize your ideas before you start then it will help you stay on track and arrive at a successful outcome.

What is a mood board?

So your mood board is basically a collection of images that you are going to use to bounce off and start developing your ideas from.

Before you create your mood board you need to collect lots of inspiration that you will then collate into an inspirational mood board.

What should your mood board include?

Your mood board is going to inform you of everything that you need to know before you start designing. For example, your color palette. Taking the time to develop a cohesive colour palette at this point will really help you when you start designing.

Your mood board should also inform the direction, that you’re going to head with your design. That means the theme of your design and what the overall story is going to be. For example, that could be, be a floral design. Then you need to ask yourself, what sort of florals is it going to be? What sort of inspiration are you’re going to use to create those florals? Are they going to be really painterly? Are they going to be watercolor? What’s the look and feel that you’re going to try and recreate. It’s also going to inform you of any textures and marks that you might like to use as inspiration within your designs and collections too.

Mood boards are great when you’re creating designs for yourself as they will keep you on track and accountable. They are also fantastic when you’re working with a client because it gives your client a visual representation of where you’re going to head with your designs. It also gives your client the opportunity to give you feedback before you begin. That way you can make changes to your direction before you start so that your visions align and don’t waste time creating a collection of designs that they don’t like.

If you’re working with a team of people, mood boards are a good way of being able to visually communicate your ideas to multiple people so that everyone is on the same page and knows where to head with that collections.

Having a mood board to work with makes the whole process of designing a lot simpler.

Mood board tips

There are a few things that I do recommend thinking about to help make your mood board more successful.

One of the things that I often see especially with people who are new to creating mood boards is including lots of the same of images. For example, they may choose a theme based on Daisy flowers and then they select images that are only of the daisy flower. If you select lots of similar images, you’re not giving yourself a good range of images to work with.

Make sure you think about all of the different aspects that are going to inform your designs and your collections and include images that are going to inspire you.

In the example of a daisy them, think of some other elements that you might like to use within your design  Make sure that you think about the whole story for what you’re creating, not just that one simple motif.

What I always recommend is that if you’ve got more than one image that tells us the same story then you only need to include one image. You don’t need to include all three because one image will tell you where you’re going to head that particular idea.


So in summary, a mood board is a collection of ideas and images that you’re going to use as inspiration for your designing. You really want to clearly show your theme, colour and design direction.

By taking the time to create a well resolved mood board, you’re going to save yourself lots of time when you start the next process which is the design development process because you can have a really firm basis to use. You can find out more about the design development process here.

When you do start designing you want to make sure that you continually refer to your mood board to ensure that you are on track and that your vision remains clear.

This is particularly important when you’re working for a client whether they’ve either given you a mood board to work with, or you’ve given them a mood board.  You want to make sure that the designs you create, reflect your mood board.

Another handy tip is to print out your mood board at A3 size.


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