What is a Moodboard and why are they important?

Moodboards have become a pretty integral part of my design process. A moodboard is a collection of existing visual ideas – logos, photography, print design, web design, architectural design, brand identity, merchandise, etc… – that helps to capture the type of style direction we’re going after in a particular project.

After looking at this document, the client should get the feeling that what they’re seeing is a really strong direction and if their brand felt like this, they would be extremely happy.

01. Why are they important?

Previewing this existing creative inspiration getting their sign off prevents needlessly spinning your wheels in the wrong direction before you’re 100% certain it’s the direction you need to go in the first place.

02. Where to find these sources of inspiration?

During the initial conversations, you should already have a good idea of what visual direction will look best for the project. The first step is to check out sites like Pinterest.com or Dribbble.com to see find inspiration and styles that match what’s in your creative brain.

I personally use Adobe InDesign to create a multipage 1920×1080 moodboard document to organize these inspiration thumbnails. It’s helpful to number these thumbnails so your client can reference them when giving feedback.

03. What should I include in a moodboard?

That really depends on the project. If it’s a logo for a restaurant, look for what other restaurants are doing with their branding. Pull in menu boards, to go boxes, server uniforms, styles of art they may have on their walls, etc.. The possibilities are endless. Anything that helps create a vision for their brand to help them visualize and give you direction moving forward.

04. The Takeaway

Moodboards have quickly become the first step I take in any large design project. Feel free to make these your own and send me examples of what you’ve come up with, I’d love to share your great ideas with our community of designers!

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