Communicate Your Design Ideas with Mood Boards

What better way for us at MicroCreatives, particularly designers and art directors, to visually convey our design ideas, themes, and feelings than mood boards? Abstract ideas such as mentioned can be hard to communicate, especially when presenting to clients. We can describe them with words, but how can we be sure that they can imagine the same thing we are trying to get across?


With mood boards, you can visually represent a creative theme or inspiration through a collection of images, text, and textures to serve as reference. This can be a great way to win that pitch and get a sign-off right away. Mood boards not only can help others see what is inside our heads, but mood boards can also help even ourselves see how our creative ideas will play out.


It may seem easy to set out our vision to form a concrete idea; however, creating mood boards can actually be tougher than you think. Just consider the hours you have to spend to look for that perfect image (or images) to represent the look and feel you want to achieve, plus the time dedicated to laying out and making all the materials work to form one solid concept.

Make all those time and effort worth it! Here are some useful tips for creating an effective mood board.


Inspiration is Everywhere

If you’re creating a mood board digitally, tendency is you will get inspiration and images online. Same for a physical mood board, you may be thinking of pasting cutouts from magazines and newspapers. Don’t limit yourself on these resources. You can gather inspiration from anywhere, just look beyond what is in front of you.


Real world inspiration can be powerful, and even more convincing than stock images. Go out and take pictures of everything that you think can be a source of inspiration, everything that you think best capture your thoughts.


The Concept and Format

When coming up with a concept or theme for the mood board, don’t just try to pile things together. Curate a mood board that will move its audience. All elements in it must have meaning related to each other, and must convey the message easily and clearly.


It is also important to note that offline and online mood boards should be treated differently. You can be loose with an offline mood board (be it physical or a digital presentation), and it must encourage an emotional response, especially that it’s being presented personally. As for a mood board that will be sent through email, it should be tighter and extra thought must be put into it as you will not be there to personally explain the concept.


Build Around the Key Idea

To establish and give emphasis to the main idea, the layout of the mood board should make the key theme images stand out. You can make them appear larger, with smaller images surrounding them for support. And if you’re going for a physical mood board, don’t hesitate to go all out! A presentation material that is tactile in nature can be effective as it enhances the experience as well as shows that the presentation is well thought of.


Know Your Audience

As with any client presentation, you must know all about the company or individual you’re pitching your ideas to. Make the theme of your mood board obvious, and avoid making obscure references. You want to spark an emotional response from your client so it is important that the imagery is clear and relatable. Always assume that the people seeing your mood board wouldn’t know what you mean; don’t hesitate to go into detail.


No to Overthinking

Finally, don’t forget to have fun while creating mood boards! Putting much thought and effort into a project is different from overthinking. Overthinking can take away the fun in making a mood board, ultimately defeating its purpose.


Need more tips on creating an effective mood board efficiently? This video tutorial by David Perel, designer and co-founder of Obox Themes, offers a walkthrough of his own method in creating mood boards.


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