Mood Boards: What They Are, Why You Need One, & How to Create It

how to create a mood board

One of my favorite things to do as a web designer is to create a mood board. There’s something about finding beautiful images and putting them together that inspires me and just calms my spirit and makes me happy. But wait, let me back it up and define what a mood board is first.

A mood board is a collection of photos that illustrates the look and feel you want for your brand design or photography. It gives you a sort of template to reference when designing your brand colors and fonts and deciding which photos to select or how to style your photo shoots.

This way, you’re able to create a cohesive brand design that’s recognizable and unique to what you like. Here’s how to create and utilize a mood board of your own in 5 steps.

Step 1: Define the mission/purpose of your brand.

To know how you want your brand to show up visually, you have to define exactly what it is that you’ve set out to do. What problem are you solving and for what types of people? What’s your promise to them? Once you define this, you’ll have clarity on what you want the perception of your brand to be.

Step 2: Write down words for how you would describe your brand and how you want your brand to make others feel.

Think of the words that you’d want to use to define how people will perceive your brand when they see the images on your website and your social media. Try to come up with at least 10-15 words. Use adjectives, feelings, colors. Some examples could be bright, bold, colorful, energized, moody, etc.

Step 3: Search Pinterest for those words and save the images to a new Pinterest board.

Pinterest is the perfect place to search for visual inspiration. There’s a limitless amount of photos available to reference. Save anything (I mean…ANYTHING) that you feel drawn to or that catches your eye on a private board for you to reference. Use the words you just listed in step 2 to search by. Here’s one of my Pinterest mood boards below. This one was themed bright, colorful, fresh. Try to get at least 10 or more images.

Mood Board Example.png

Step 4: Eliminate any images that don’t fit your theme, once you’re done.

Once you’re done gathering images for inspiration, go to the board you just created and eliminate the images that don’t fit the brand design that you have in mind. If you’re going for a bright and bold color scheme, be sure all the images illustrate that. If you’re going for a clean and minimalist look, be sure all the images illustrate that. And so on. As you look at the board as a whole, it’ll become clear which ones fit together and which ones don’t.

Step 5: Use the mood board to select photos to use for your website, social media, and for styling photo shoots.

Now you are all set! You now have a place of reference for selecting photography for your website, your social media pages, and to use as inspiration when you’re doing styled photoshoots for your brand. Be sure to pull out the mood board as you’re planning or looking for ideas. It’ll help you have a cohesive image for your brand everywhere.

Do you have any tips for creating a good mood board? If so, share in the comments below!

Looking to get started with choosing a color palette for your brand? Check out this free color scheme worksheet!