Mood boards are so much more than curating your Pinterest board. Don’t believe us? Below, we list some of the ways developing a mood board can help you develop your ideas. From multi-team projects to building the foundations of a company, learning to use mood boards as part of your initial brainstorming process can help you save time and energy when maturing an idea.
While many assume that mood boards are only necessary for projects like interior decorating and wedding planning—hello Pinterest!—the truth is, many professionals in many different arenas rely on mood boards as their first port of call for any big project. In fact, more than just a collection of engaging pictures, mood boards serve as a fundamental transition between an initial thought and a first draft. It may be more beneficial to think of mood boarding as visual organizing.
In a study conducted by the Journal of Business Research, it was found that mood boards were effective in setting the scene, directing activities and aligning sub-products by establishing a point of reference.
To help you graduate from magazine cutouts stuck on your wall, we show you the benefits of creating a mood board as the starting point of any project.
1. They help establish a strong foundation
Once the initial project has been set in motion, creating a mood board helps you establish the basics of what the end result could ideally look like.
While many assume mood boards are used as visual inspiration for creative projects, they can also be used for things like competitor analysis. Sometimes it’s even beneficial to create a few mood boards that highlight various different elements of the project so that you can provide a holistic, visual landscape before starting.
2. They clarify the vision
While you may have started your project with a clear vision in mind, (as is often the case) once you’ve started focusing on other tasks and dealing with other team members, it’s easy to forget the original intent and the purpose of why you started the project to begin with. Having a mood board on display helps remind you of the original goal. Looking at your mood board regularly can also help inform all the micro-decisions you make towards the main goal.
3. They make collaboration easy
The famous quote “a picture is worth a thousand words” is extremely relevant when it comes to mood boards. Sometimes, while you can try and explain how you want a design to look, or try to illustrate a concept, the clearest form of an explanation is through visual examples—this could be because the majority of the population are visual learners.
Easy collaboration is dependent on the fact that a team understands the goal and has a clear brief on what is expected of them. Mood boards help achieve this.
Got a Canva for Work subscription? Stick your mood boards in a folder and share it with your team, so your visual inspiration is there for everyone to benefit from.
In this visual example, we can see how various different team members are able to access the fundamental ideas drafted in the initial mood board. Here, the team is developing a perfume. Once the creative director develops the mood board, everyone from the perfumers to copywriters, photographers and designers are able to use it in order to inform their decisions and allow for easy collaboration during the development process.
4. They involve clients in the process early on
If you’ve been commissioned for a project, you want to ensure that your client is clearly briefed on your ideas as early as possible—this way you can avoid repeating the same tasks over again. While you can verbally communicate your concept in a meeting, the clearest way to communicate your ideas is to visually present them to your client. You can also create several mock-ups to give them variants to choose from.
Inspired? Explore Canva’s free mood board templates here.