What are mood boards and why do we create them?

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Mood boards (also known as inspiration boards) are a great way to define the look and feel of a project, without having to do any design.

They're one of the first things that we ask our clients to do on almost every project. It's crucial for our clients to be able to visually communicate what direction they're after before we put pen to paper (or mouse to artboard in most cases). Once we have their mood board, we then do a 'mirror' mood board, which takes elements of the clients' board and add in some of our own ideas and thoughts. Once we have sign off on the mirror mood board, we can then begin doing what we do best, design!

mood board examples

Mood boarding is a mutually essential part of our discovery process:

It helps us out

In the long run, it can potentially save you, and your clients, a lot of time and effort by getting the general design concept signed off ahead of time. It gives us a starting point thats a little less daunting than staring at a blank screen, and it provides us with a reference that we can refer back to throughout the project to make sure that we're still on track for our clients' vision.

It helps the client

Creating a mood board before we even start designing is excellent for the client as it gives them an idea of what the finished project could look like. By getting everyone involved in the beginning to agree on the direction of a project, this saves any miscommunication throughout the design process.

Never created a mood board before? Fear not! Here are some things we suggest considering if you've been asked to create your first mood board:

Be clear on what you are trying to achieve

There are two different types of mood boards - literal or practical. Literal mood boards explore the tone and mood of your project, and practical mood boards explore the more obvious design elements, such as colours, fonts and imagery style.

Don't be afraid to create more than one

At this initial stage, it's a good idea to explore different themes. Just remember this is all just exploration at this point so don’t get too attached to one theme.

Collect written inspiration

Collecting brand values, positioning statements and briefs will help you keep on track with what the end goal is.

Collect inspiration

This can either be online or just taking photos of things that inspire you. There are loads of inspirational sites like Pinterest, Behance and Dribble which allow you to create boards or collections to get your creative juices flowing!

Add annotations to your mood board

By doing this it helps to explain to each other why certain things have been added, it can help really communicate and get your ideas across. Embedding notes also helps to keep everything in context.

If you’re still stuck, here are some example of some mood boards which might be able to spark an idea or two! Enjoy!

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