What is a Mood board?

Mood boards are a collection of found images that help to visually articulate the direction that a design project will take.

You will generally look at a mood board at the start of  a design project and use it to further define the parameters of a brief. Mood boards help when your trying to articulate a visual idea in your head, but are struggling with the words to communicate it. Often in these cases, using reference images to form a mood board can help clients to communicate colours, shapes, compositions and fonts that are relevant, or not, to what they are looking to achieve with their design project.

As a mood board is made up of found images your designer is not asking you to pick which one you want (that would be copying)! Instead they are after clues about what does and doesn’t appeal to you, your market and your project brief. You can look at a design as a whole and say which ones you do and don’t like. Or you can look at smaller aspects such as size, colour, type, composition, shape and feel.

Responses that will help your designer, when providing feedback on a mood board, would include things like;

  • I like the colours used on ‘A’
  • I really dislike the font on ‘B’
  • ‘C’ has great feel to it, I really like it
  • I don’t like anything about ‘F’
  • I like the arrangement of the type on ‘G’
  • ‘H’ is a little too corporate for what I’m after.
  • ‘D’ is my favourite of all of them
  • I really like ‘G’, but I think it is wrong for my market.
  • I like the icon used on ‘E’

Remember when giving responses about your mood board, try to think about it in terms of what will appeal to your target market, not just you.

Your designer will read your responses use them as part of their research and to help guide their designs. Remember, a mood board is a guide only and occasionally your designer will suggest something that contradicts your responses. When this happens though they will have a rational and explain why. For example, “I understand you said that you didn’t want any red in your logo, red is s a very appetising colour so as but as you are a fast food company we though we should explore the option.”

See below for an example of a mood board.

What is a Moodboard