Have you ever felt stuck figuring out the look and feel for your creative project? Not sure how to convey the vision in your head? A mood board is the answer. This simple yet powerful tool can help bring your ideas to life and get you unstuck. In a few simple steps, you’ll have a visual representation of your vision to reference and share with others.

Mood boards have been used by creative professionals for years to define the visual style of photoshoots, films, interior design projects, branding campaigns, and more. But you don’t have to be a professional to benefit from creating one. Anyone working on a creative endeavor, from DIY home decor to a new blog design, can use a mood board. This guide will walk through the exact process of creating a mood board for your project. Get ready to get inspired and watch your ideas blossom. Let’s dive in!

What Is a Mood Board?

A mood board is a visual collection of images, colors, textures, and samples that represent the overall style, theme, or feeling of a design project. Mood boards are used by designers, artists, stylists, and authors to inspire and inform their creative work. They provide a focal point to visualize concepts and communicate ideas. 

As a crucial step in pre-production, creating a mood board helps ensure all team members are on the same page regarding the intended aesthetic, tone, and direction of the final product. Amateurs can also use mood boards for more subjective purposes such as planning a birthday party or visualizing gardening layouts.

Common elements of mood boards include:

  • Photos of styles, textures, colors, patterns, materials, and objects that evoke the desired mood or theme
  • Magazine clippings and printouts of relevant images
  • Swatches of actual fabrics, papers, and other materials
  • Drawings, doodles, and sketches
  • Handwritten notes and keywords
  • Graphic elements like shapes, lines, and icons

4 Reasons to Use a Mood Board

A mood board is one of the most useful tools for any creative project. Here are four reasons why you need one for your production:

1. Build a solid foundation 

A mood board at the beginning of your production process helps you gather all the visual inspirations that will inform your creative direction and vision. It allows you to identify the style, colors, textures, fonts, and themes that will shape your final work. Having this solid foundation from the start will make sure your production stays on


2. It captures your vision

A mood board collects images, textures, colors, and themes that represent the overall look and feel you want to achieve. It allows you to see your abstract ideas come to life on a visual board. This helps ensure everyone involved understands and can execute your creative vision.

3. Facilitate smooth collaboration 

Sharing your mood board with your team and stakeholders helps get everyone on the same page creatively from day one. It serves as a visual reference that ensures that everyone has a shared understanding of the creative direction. This common ground helps streamline communication and decision-making throughout the production, avoiding misalignments and delays.

4. Inspire new ideas 

The assembled visuals on a mood board spark your imagination, allowing you to connect the dots that lead to fresh perspectives. As you search for images and samples to add to your board, you'll likely stumble upon new ideas or themes you hadn't considered.

7 Steps to Create a Mood Board

Ready to translate your ideas into real-life visuals? Here are 7 simple steps to create an effective mood board:

1. Choose a Theme

Decide on an overall theme, mood, or style to guide the selection of materials. For example, choose between sleek and modern, retro, rustic, minimalist, vibrant, etc. This will make your final board cohesive.

2. Gather Materials

Gather images and inspirational materials that represent the mood, theme, or feeling you want to convey through your project. Cut out images from magazines or print them from online sources. Magazines, Pinterest, Flickr, and Unsplash are great places to look. 

3. Add Color

Select a color palette for the design. Choose warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows for energetic designs or cool colors like blues and greens for calming designs. Test different hue variations to find the right shades.

4. Include Textures

Select images or actual fabric swatches of different textures that also reflect your theme. Consider textures like metallic, wood, concrete, fabric, paper, and more depending on the subject matter. When applying textures, use a consistent scale and level of detail to maintain visual harmony. Mixing up the textures keeps things interesting.

5. Add Words

Include keywords, short phrases, or inspiring quotes on your board that capture the essence of the mood or theme. Place these throughout for balance. Test different typefaces, styles, sizes, and alignments to find the most readable and aesthetically pleasing options. Leave enough whitespace around and between words for legibility.

6. Arrange and Organize

Arrange the images and materials on a poster board or large piece of cardboard in an aesthetically pleasing layout that captures the essence and flow of your concept. You can place related images next to each other or create groupings with space in between.

7. Final Details

Add the finishing touches such as a heading for your board's theme or title. You can also include a summary of the overall mood, style, or experience you want to achieve. Take a photo of your physical mood board or save the digital version for future reference throughout your project. Refer back to it regularly to stay grounded in your initial inspiration and creative direction.

Final Thoughts

You now have a solid procedure to create a mood board that sets everyone on the same creative page before production begins. While this process may take some time, a mood board will save you headaches and rework down the line.

But what if you don't have the tools to create excellent layouts or the time to get your hands dirty? Don't worry you can hire a professional to get it done. Danielle Herzog can help translate your story into art. I use the power of visual storytelling to express intricate ideas while stirring emotions. Contact me today to learn more about how I bring your vision to life.