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How to Craft a Remarkable Moodboard for your Next Design Projects

moodboard design tips

A mood board is a visual collage of various design elements such as images, color palettes, and typefaces that cohere to convey a distinct style. It can serve as inspiration and guidance for all your design projects, whether that’s for your personal or professional use. But the question is: how to make your own mood board?

To create a solid aesthetic foundation you can reliably look to for design direction, follow our mood board design tips below:

1. Consider the Format

You can either go for a physical mood board or a digital mood board, and the format you pick will heavily influence your process as both have their pros and cons.

Source: Giulia Aglieri

Physical Mood Board

  • Promotes out-of-the-box thinking — Creating a physical mood board forces you to leave the limits of today’s mostly digital design work. You can include everyday objects and have a tangible feel for the materials you want to use. 
  • Hard to manage — You need to put more effort and resources into its creation, often requiring lots of printing. When done in a professional setting, it’s also often not practical to share with stakeholders (e.g. clients) outside the design team.

Digital Mood Board

  • Convenient — It’s much easier to craft and edit a digital mood board with how quickly you can source design elements on your computer and from the internet. Sharing is also as simple as sending an image file of your mood board to others.
  • Expectations for polish — Because of how much control you have over creating a digital mood board, there can be an expectation from your clients that what you present initially is the final design.

If a digital mood board is your chosen method, there are several tools you can use like the Sketch app, Figma, and Canva. Some members of our team also use X, X, and X.

2. Ready Your Camera

While it’s easy to get all your mood board materials from finished works and things you find from browsing the internet, you miss out on potential inspirations if you rely solely on what other people have already curated. 

Take pictures with your smartphone when you go out. A walk through the park can get you beautiful nature shots. Snap a photo of signs with creative lettering. You might even get inspired by just looking at the curios you’ve collected over the years.

3. Go to the Source

A go-to method is building around a specific aesthetic for your mood board. How to make it visually-appealing would depend on several factors.

You can go for a particular time period like the bright neon colors of the 80s, or a lifestyle with iconic looks like the all-black fashion of goths. Whichever aesthetic you find inspiration from, you can nail down your design goals when you take materials directly from the source.

Source: Lauren Baguley

Let’s take the 80s, for instance. You can look for cultural artifacts that define the era such as classic movie posters and memorable album covers. If you’re going for a goth-inspired mood board, a trip to alternative clothing stores could also be fruitful.

If going to physical locations isn’t a realistic endeavor to take, there are also digital avenues to find inspiration. You can go to Behance, Dribble, Awwwards, Pinterest, and good old Google Image search.

Find out where else our expert design team finds inspiration for their projects in this guide.

4. Make it Easy to Understand

There is a creative impulse to come up with layered artwork that is satisfying to unpack, and it’s tempting to indulge that impulse when thinking of how to make a design mood board. However, it’s important to remember its ultimate purpose: To clearly communicate your design goals.

Avoid using obscure references that require a certain level of knowledge to understand. Whether you’re presenting to clients or to your own design team, you want them to get what you’re going for without having to make long-winded explanations.


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5. Supplement with Text 

There are times when even images can’t succinctly express what you want to achieve with your mood board. Even though mood boards are generally a visual medium, there’s no harm in adding text to elaborate on some of the materials you’ve included. 

Source: Haute Stock

When you’re adding text, be straightforward. Keep the word count to a minimum, as you still want to leave as much space for the actual design elements you need to highlight. Remember that clarity is the top priority for having text in the first place.

6. Embrace the Messy Creation Process

When you’re contemplating how to make good mood boards, remember that this is a valid method for you to try out a range of styles. The process can be as loose as you want it to be, as you don’t have to be fully committed to your first attempt. Part of the experience is mixing and matching an assortment of design elements. If things don’t click together, feel free to swap out items or even start from scratch.

Making Memorable Mood Boards

The initial decisions you make, like the format and sources of inspiration of your mood board, play crucial roles in how it turns out in the end. You need to make sure your choices facilitate easy comprehension of your ultimate design goals while leaving room for potential changes in direction. 

Need assistance for your next design project? Contact the expert designers at Design Force today and let’s talk about how we can help you.

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