What Is a Mood Board and When Would You Use One?

what is a mood board

Baby, sky, or ocean?

Photographers, interior designers, and artists know all too well how limiting language can be. Take for instance colors. When a client says they want something to be the color blue, do you know what they mean?

There are over 260 different shades of blue the human eye can see, and some of them are wildly different. Instead of relying on language, you have to learn how to show your clients exactly how you’re envisioning their project. Luckily, with the help of a mood board, you can bring the feelings for your project to life.

What is a mood board? Read on to find out.

What Is a Mood Board?

To help answer the question, “what is a mood board?”, you’ll want to start by learning what they aren’t. It’s a common mistake for individuals to think that a mood board is the same thing as a vision board.

A vision board is a collage of goals and inspirational intentions that you’re setting for your life. A mood board is instead a unique design that you create to evoke a specific feeling.

Communicate With Clients

Mood boards are a terrific tool for communicating ideas to clients. We also find that both physical and visual mood boards are wonderful if you’re giving an oral presentation.

As you give your speech, your board can serve as a visual representation of the feeling you’re conveying with your words. Finally, filmmakers also enjoy mood boards, because they are a wonderful connector between an idea in the first draft of a project.

Setting Your Creative Path

Mood boards can help pave the path your organization will be taking for big projects. In addition to setting the direction of the project, mood boards will also keep you on track.

When a client can see what you’re envisioning, they can help redirect you before it’s too late in the creation process. Companies can save a lot of money using mood boards because they help pinpoint any areas of the project style that are unclear, before getting into the details of the design process.

Visual Feelings

Your board can be a visual presentation that uses a variety of images, words, and material objects. It’s up to you as the artist, how you want to display the visual items on your mood board. However, the common goal is to communicate a feeling or mood about a certain topic.

Digital or Physical Boards

You can choose to make digital mood boards instead of physical ones. When you have to decide between making a digital vs physical board, keep your audience in mind.

Certain clients will want to have something physical they can touch, and reference throughout the project. However, other clients will prefer the more high tech approach a digital board offers. Once you decide between physical vs digital boards, you can start using a mood board maker.

How to Make a Mood Board

As you get ready to make your mood board, you’ll want to gather a variety of images. However, we suggest that you avoid collecting images from the Internet. Even if you’re making a digital mood board, that doesn’t mean you have to rely on digital material.

Instead, start taking photographs while you’re out. Photographs from real-life places that you know, will be more inspiring than photographs you get from a stranger online.

Curate Your Choices

Next, you’ll want to start curating what you include. Your mood board should have a flow to it. You’ll want to pick images and words that are going to have strong emotional responses.

Rather than putting a bunch of random things together, you’ll want to carefully select each item. Feel the item out, see how it works with everything else, and ask yourself what feelings you’re experiencing with each item. When people looking at your mood board can interpret the feelings you’re conveying, you’ll know you’ve done a good job.

Choosing the Right Words

It’s up to you whether you choose your images or your text first. When you’re collecting text for your mood board, you’ll want to include words that convey your message.

If you’re making an inspirational mood board, you can find quotes that speak to you on a personal level. If you’re making a mood board for your company, you can include brand values in your mood board.

Finally, we also find that popular taglines work great for corporate mood boards. After gathering your images and text for the mood board, you’re ready to start adding in a few other factors.

Ideas You’ll Want to Include

While the theme of your mood board will be unique, there are still common ideas you want to include. Here’s a short list of things your mood board will need

  • Colors
  • Textures
  • Fonts
  • Visual metaphors

All of the colors on your mood board should follow a specific color palette. To create your color palette, you’ll want to get an idea of what colors work well together. We find that referencing a color wheel, will help you see how certain colors relate.

Next, you’ll want to have plenty of visual metaphors. Modern advertising, and personal branding, require sending a clear message. Visual metaphors are often able to speak louder than words when it comes to representing your style.

Visual Metaphors

When you do use words, you want to make sure the fonts you choose to match up with your mood board style. If you’re doing a fancy mood board that conveys elegance, your fonts should also be fancy.

Finally, mood boards need textures. Your patterns and designs can have different textures on them, either soft and fuzzy, bumpy, glittery, or whatever you choose.

Enjoy the Creative Process

Next time somebody asks, “what is a mood board?”, you’ll know the answer! We hope our article will serve as the perfect introduction to making your very first board.

Being able to communicate with clients using visual tools will set you ahead of the competition. For more ways to get a competitive edge, check out the rest of the site.


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