You’ve got such a great idea for the brand you’re currently working with!
You start drafting an email explaining how you will design the client’s website to capture the brand’s fresh, upbeat voice. One hour later, you’re no closer to finishing the email than when you started.
How can you put your vision into words? It’s not fair for your creativity to be boxed up and trapped by text.
What if I were to create a moodboard instead? 💡
What a great idea!
We’re here to help you create a vision board like nothing your client has seen before. Plus, we’ve created a moodboard template to make things easier for you.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents
- What’s a moodboard?
- Who uses moodboards?
- Why do creatives use moodboards?
- Create your own moodboard in 5 quick steps
- Get our free moodboard template
What’s a moodboard?
Have you ever had to create something for someone who needs five different versions to understand what they want? There are always better ways to go in design than starting from scratch. And that’s where moodboards come in.
Moodboards are collages of visual elements centered around a specific topic or following a particular aesthetic to convey a design project’s intended look and feel.
In short, moodboards are collections of pictures, illustrations, typography, etc. pinned together on a physical or digital board. They help designers establish which fonts, color palettes, and layout styles to use for a particular creative project.
Moodboards are useful tools in product design, graphic design, web design, and other imagery-based projects. They help creatives evoke specific feelings and moods (hence the name) and can serve as inspiration boards.
Moodboards can be tailored to suit their audience based on the industry they are designed for and can vary from project to project. But some components are consistently present in moodboards, including:
- Lifestyle images
But why stop there? Some creatives also include videos, animations, GIFs, and audio examples on their digital boards. The possibilities are endless.
Here’s an example of an interior design moodboard. It’s a mix of digital art, typography, furniture styles, and real-life pictures that, when put together, create the character of the space to be decorated.
Here’s another example of a vision board, but this time for brand identity. This brand board organizes ideas to establish a design direction regarding product packaging, typography, color palette, and logo style.
So, moodboards are mainly for designers, right?
Not really. Everyone can benefit from using moodboards. More specifically…
Who uses moodboards?
Moodboards have a lot more practical uses beyond the usual Girl Scout project. Moodboards are mostly used by designers in both digital and print media. However, these collections aren’t just useful for designers.
Any creative professional can benefit from adding moodboards to their workflow.
Let’s think back to the example we opened within this guide. Imagine that you’re the copywriter assigned to this website design project. The client wants to update their brand’s voice to be more playful and upbeat. Since this is a new venture, they have no examples of their desired brand voice to help guide the copy you write.
Would you rather…
- Begin writing copy in a way that you think is playful? Or
- Compile a moodboard of copy examples from similar brands to help you align the desired voice with the client before drafting their new website’s copy.
So, anyone from content writers, marketers, advertisers, bloggers, illustrators, photographers, video producers looking to optimize their video production workflow, filmmakers, and other creatives who need inspiration can create collages to get the creative juices flowing.
Examples of moodboards include:
- Fashion moodboards
- Wedding moodboards
- Brand design moodboards
- Product design boards
- Website design boards
- Social media advertising boards
The list can go on forever. You can create a vision board for anything that requires planning—whether a professional endeavor or a DIY project.
But why would you create a vision board in the first place?
Why do creatives use moodboards?
Creating moodboards should be a part of every creative’s workflow.
Why are they so important?
As we saw in the example above, these collages are great for pitching ideas and articulating a creative’s vision. Plus, they come with benefits like:
- Source of inspiration: Moodboards help professionals avoid creative blocks.
- Less feedback: Creatives can design moodboards with fonts, images, and other elements that the client can approve before significant progress is made on the actual project deliverables, streamlining the review and approval process.
- Get projects approved more quickly: When fewer revision requests are needed, projects are approved faster.
- Creatives and stakeholders speak the same language: Vision boards enable creatives to show clients what they have in mind rather than trying to explain abstract concepts and feelings.
If you’re a creative, you know what it’s like to experience creative block. And if you’ve ever found a way to avoid that block, that tool is something that should be in your arsenal, right?
If you answered “yes” (and we assume you did 😁), it’s time to get started on those moodboards.
Create your own moodboard in 5 quick steps
Moodboards are not only super helpful for creatives, but they’re also fun to create.
If this is your first time building one, you’ll be happy to know we’ve got actionable tips on how to create a moodboard along with a step-by-step tutorial below.
Step #1: Establish the project’s visual requirements
First, meet with the client (or whomever you’re collaborating with) and discuss style and branding guidelines. Ask for examples of past projects or competing content that the client considers successful and inspiring.
This should help you fire up the design process and set a direction for the project.
If you have a creative brief, take any pieces of text that may help you tune into the tone and mood of the brand.
Take screenshots of the website, logo, and other elements relevant to the brand’s identity.
Gathering all the existing visuals will help you better understand the brand you’re working with.
Plus, with the collection of brand identity elements, you can easily create a fitting color scheme for the project.
Step #2: Create a suitable color palette and choose the right fonts
Using the info from the first step, you can create a color palette that will guide your moodboard creation process.
We suggest you choose at least five colors that include:
- Bold colors that align with the brand (e.g., blues for health brands) to highlight important information
- Contrasting colors that make the bold color stand out
- Light and dark neutral shades for text and background colors
Looking good so far! Next, pick the fonts you’re going to use for the project.
When searching for the right typography, ensure the fonts you’re looking at are easy to read and versatile.
The most easy-to-read fonts include:
- Times New Roman
Step #3: Search for relevant visual elements
Here’s where the fun begins!
During this stage, you’ll collect the images and design elements that makeup 90% of your moodboard.
Go on Pinterest, Juxtapost, Dribbble, Pearltrees, The Fancy, and other similar visual discovery engines to find materials for your board.
Collect inspiring images that align with the color palette you created earlier.
Step #4: Arrange the gathered images to create a moodboard
Next, curate the inspiration library you just created and play around with the imagery to see what fits better with your vision.
To do that, you can use a moodboard creator like:
If you don’t want to add extra tools to your design toolbox (and definitely want to avoid how-to tutorials,) you can use Google Sheets to create a moodboard. We’ll show you how in a second.
The important thing here is to choose a method that lets you be flexible and resize, crop, replace, and shift things around in your moodboard.
Step #5: Share the finished moodboard with stakeholders and collect feedback
As soon as you’re happy with how things look on your vision board, use an annotation tool to share your ideas with the client.
MarkUp.io supports multiple file formats, including PSD, AI, PDF, JPG, JPEG, SVG, PNG, PPT, PPTX, and much more. So you don’t have to worry about file format compatibility. 🔥
After you’ve created the Image MarkUp, you can share your moodboard conveniently with anyone you’d like via a link.
Stakeholders can access the moodboard on their web browser without installing additional software or converting any file formats to view your design.
While reviewing the content on your vision board, stakeholders can click on any element to pin contextual comments on the board. They can even upload attachments to comments with more design examples they’d like you to consider.
As the review process starts, you can see every comment being added in real-time.
Pro tip: If you’re a MarkUp.io Pro plan user, Folders are helpful for keeping track of the assets used to create your moodboard so that you have all links in one place.
How great is that? No more waiting around in the dark for feedback by email.
But it’s a bit too early to worry about reviews at this stage, isn’t it?
Let’s help you create the moodboard first. 🙃
So, here goes!
Get our free moodboard template
To help you create a moodboard without investing in new tools, we’ve put together a design moodboard template you can make a copy of and use again and again for your upcoming projects.
The template is created in Google Sheets, which makes it easily editable. Make a copy and start adjusting cell sizes, adding or deleting rows and columns, adding images, changing colors, and adding fonts.
Now over to you
What a fun ride into the land of visual inspiration this was!
But don’t go anywhere just yet.
When you’re ready to share your moodboard with stakeholders for feedback, remember MarkUp.io. Getting an early draft of your project’s inspiration into the hands of collaborators will help you create better results.