13 Killer Tips to Design an Inspirational and Creative Mood Board


You’ve decided to make an inspirational and creative mood board, but how? What schoolboy errors should you avoid? What should you be paying attention to?

Let’s check out these 14 tips that will help your journey when creating an inspirational mood board:

1. Clarifying the important ideas/concepts of a mood board by using some words

You should never underestimate the importance of explaining the core concepts of your mood board to your intended viewers. And by this, I don’t mean including a very wordy thesis – a concise summary would do.

creative mood board with text explanations

It’s been found that spicing your mood board with a few explanatory words goes a great length in connecting you with more people. Isn’t that something we’d want with our mood boards?

You could also highlight key phrases that are within your brand core values to reinforce your brand’s overall purpose.

2. Styling of a mood board

mood board with a black and white theme and style

You may have noticed some designers who fancy a hodgepodge of contrasting design concepts and styles for their mood board. Don’t be them.

As regards styling, the popular adage “too many cooks spoil the broth” holds true. Select a unifying style for your design. This will give a visual theme to work from and Make the entire concept look cleaner and more pulled together.

3. Creating multiple mood boards to express multiple (and optional) concepts for a single design.

2 mood boards showing similar concepts

For those bursting with so many ideas and concepts, all hope is not lost. Sometimes, it’s smart to come up with different concepts for one single design. Yes, don’t be surprised. Every now and then, designers comes up with different concepts for the same design. This is known as “Comps” or more accurately, “comprehensive layout”.

These mock designs aren’t a waste, for they give the designer a wider range of options and help him to select the exact choice from amongst the sea of concepts and expressions.

4. Real-world inspirations in the form of random photography

The beauty of art is that inspiration can be obtained from anywhere… or anything. Sometimes, all you need to unleash the creative beast in you, is just right by you. To be more explicit, anything you find interesting or inspiring can be a great creative fuel for your pictures.

mood board with photos and a strong red component

With the photographs, the priority should be on capturing the perfect thoughts, impressions, themes and feeling. The quality of the pictures remains secondary.

With the photographs, the priority should be on capturing the perfect thoughts, impressions, themes and feeling. The quality of the pictures remains secondary.

5. The size and position should reflect how important that thing is

Like the saying goes, “let major things remain major” and this should be exemplified in your creation. Always ensure that your layout prioritizes the key theme image.

mood board with a great use of different sizes of photos

Surrounding images can be used, but they’re not the focus. They are essentially there to support the primary image. So if the primary, large image is the metaphorical question, the supporting images should look like the answers.

6. Use of big, bold words/texts

“If you don’t say what’s on your mind, how would I ever know?” is a question that many a befuddled husband has asked their wives. And this finds its way into the design of mood boards. Its not enough to use wordless images.

mood board with conspicuous texts

To create a more powerful design, you’ll sometimes need to utilize some words or text. This has the desired effect of giving the audience something to think about. But beyond that, it adds different and meaningful tones to the design.

7. Try to intrigue people’s brains to gain a better emotional response by using props

mood board that bring up "love"

As you might have guessed, connecting with people emotionally doesn’t always arise through purely rational techniques, and this can be observed with the use of props. For your next design presentation, try using real life objects as props, and watch your audience magically respond to you.

For example, you could bring a symbolic object to represent the “inspiration” of the design. If you were inspired by the beach, bring in a shell. If your eureka moment happened on the train, bring in the ticket. Easy? I suppose so.

8. Having fun is the key

No long faces here. I mean, if the designer is not having fun creating a mood board, then the design is not heading towards the right path.

mood board that looks really fun and happy

If the audience remotely suspect that your work is forced, and that you’re not enjoying it, they’re likely to switch off on an emotional level. So try to enjoy your creation and watch same emotion filter to your audience.

9. Be Concise and precise

Let’s face it, no one wants to be bored to death with endless and unnecessary detail. Always watch to make sure you’re not overwhelming your client with too much information.

simple mood board with a bright pink color focus

As a designer, your aim should be to provide the maximum impact with the minimum content – straight and to the point.

10. Taking advantage of the online tools

Okay, okay. I get it, the internet can have so many vices. But if you’re going to reach your creative zenith, you’ll need some help along the way. And what better way than through the wealth of resources available online.

11. Your choice of colors is important

You must be comfortable with working with various colors and combining them tastefully. As a creative designer, proper styling and coloring must remain paramount in the pursuit of design success.

mood board and its use of blue

Confused about how to combine the colors? Try using the concept of the design and match it with the chosen color palette to find out the perfect combo

12. Digital or Physical?

The decision to go digital or to use physical copies depends on a few factors, not least your personal preferences as a designer. But beyond that, you must consider the impact the chosen format would have on the prospective clients.

mood board on the wall

You’ll be wise to do your homework, and to decide what version would best help them to see and understand the vision and idea of the whole project.

13. Be a curator rather than a collector

It’s not just about having a set of images to present, you must skillfully select meaningful images and put them together in threads. Ensure that there’s a seamless link and energy and that the concept has a smooth flow from image to image.

So What’s Next?

These 13 tips should help you design a creative mood board. Yet, don’t feel restricted by these tips. Remember: go experiment, test and create something now. The more you try, the better you will be at it.