Tutorial: Create a Mood Board

Fact is, ideas in our heads don’t quite look the same when they’re realized (on the screen). The best designers will often say that design needs direction, but we can easily drift astray by trailing into a design blindly, often enough with a spontaneous idea we’re so sure is the winning idea.
Making a mood board helps designers develop their ideas and test their feasibility before making any final decisions.
Mood boards also help with blank canvas syndrome, where the fear of having no ideas induces anxiety that ironically stops us from coming up with ideas. Kicking things off with a simple image, or color, or even just a word can get the ball rolling.

What Goes On a Mood Board?

Generally speaking, mood boards are raw collages of notes, images, fonts, and colors. This doesn’t mean that mood boards can’t look nice, but on the other hand designers shouldn’t spend too much time perfecting them — they’re designed to help us visualize ideas quickly, not fast-forward to the final mockup.
Mood boards are incredibly versatile — we can use them to kickstart creative ideas in the field of UX/UI design, branding, interior design, advertising, industrial design, motion design and storyboarding, or simply to experiment with colors.
Think of mood boards as your visual notebook.

Brand Boards

Brand boards are used by both designers and marketers to help brainstorm what a brand might need to convey in order for audiences to think and feel a certain way about said brand.
People are known to respond to design elements like imagery, color, and typography in emotional ways (color and imagery especially), and even if they don’t realize it, visual design can influence how they feel about a brand and what they’re selling. Words can have a huge influence too, as all types of mood boards can be used for more than just visual inspiration.
Brand (mood) boards can be shared with actual users/customers for testing, for what’s known as brand perception test.
Brand board considerations:
  • What colors invoke the needed emotions?
  • What about graphics or photographs?
  • What fonts convey the right vibe?
  • What might the logo look like?
  • What words and phrases speak to customers?
Try to think of a brand as a person. How would you describe their personality? How would you describe them visually?
Ledavio helps design and marketing teams form smarter branding strategies. Don’t assume that the first idea is the best idea; use Ledavio to visualize endless ideas quickly and share them with stakeholders, then make smarter decisions as a team.

Inspiration Boards

While all types of mood boards can contain inspiration, inspiration boards are specifically used for exactly that — compiling living examples of how we envision our design to look. We can make use of inspiration boards in UX/UI design, advertising, interior design, and almost anything else.
As an example, if we wanted to convey a specific style relating to that of, say, a country, culture, movie theme, or even a video game, we could collect representative colors or images of places, products, people, buildings, and so on.
UX/UI Inspiration Boards
In order to design simple, intuitive, delightful user experiences, we need to look at more than visual eye-candy.
Remember to make it clear (on the mood board) why you’ve included it there — what do you like and not like about it?
Advertising Inspiration Boards
Advertising boards form many of the same concepts as brand boards, but may also include examples of other adverts. Even though branding has a vital hand in advertising, adverts are also a terrific opportunity to say or do something unexpected.
Advertising is one of the most creative industries in the world, offering brands opportunities to surprise and even convey stories in more contextual, deeply imaginative ways Interactive urinals are an interesting example of this.
With mood boards, we can combine these real-world examples with the usual colors, fonts, and words, and dive a little more deeper than “Well, I saw this…” and actually convey our own story riding on the backs of other examples as inspiration.
We can even use mood boards to create customer journey maps.
Where and why does the customer come into contact with the advert? How do they engage with it? What happens as a result? Illustrate the flow of the storyboard using arrow diagrams.
Storyboards are also used in video and motion design, to illustrate the flow and direction of a story using other examples of video media as inspiration for conveying mood.
Industrial Design
Industrial design is another use-case for inspiration boards, where the arrangement of images is much less important than the ability to collect inspiration all in one board. With industrial design inspiration, you’d likely want to collect examples of existing products in the wild, and even sketches of your own ideas alongside them. You might also want to capture shapes and materials.

Color Boards

Generating color schemes is another use-case for mood boards.
While colors would normally factor into another type of mood board, it’s not totally unusual to use boards to experiment with color schemes in the hope of conveying a specific ”mood.” Remember to think about what certain colors mean to the audience, especially those from other countries and cultures where certain colors may mean something entirely different.

How to Make a Mood Board

Here are some tips to live by when making mood boards:
  • Be quick, don’t over think it too much
  • Form a “theme”, don’t dump ideas aimlessly
  • Break up themes across different mood boards
  • Share, share, share — bring others on board to collaborate
Ledavio helps designers, marketers, and stakeholders collaborate on mood boards. When design is more democratic, teams can form ideas that make sense from all angles — design, business, and marketing.

Conclusion

Mood boards aren’t limited to the examples above; in fact, the only limitation is your creativity. In its most basic form a mood board is simply the notebook you carry around with you, the birthplace of all ideas through conception and development.
Creativity is unlimited, all you need are mood boards to visualize them. Try Ledavio.