I’ve recently noticed an uptick in the popularity of online mood board creation apps. Sites like Olioboard and Polyvore allow users to create boards within the realm of interior design and fashion respectively. I thought it would be a good time to write about how mood boards can serve the graphic designer, and how I use them in my process.
The first step in any project is usually the research and asset gathering phase. Very seldom does a design just fall out of thin air. We’re constantly exposed to a stream of images both online and in the “real world” and what we see factors greatly to what we produce. Mood boards are a way to establish a look & feel for the project. They can communicate to the client and design team a stylistic direction, before any actual creative legwork has begun. The designer can play around with type, texture, color, photography and built spaces. Elements can be juxtaposed and experimented with in order to achieve a desired effect. The challenge though, is to create something original, greater than the sum of the parts presented in the mood board.
All of the mood boards displayed here are ones I’ve developed in order to communicate a specific theme and look. I don’t use any special software or online app. I simply use Photoshop to collage elements; culled from various sources including books, my own photo library, previous designs and of course the web. Give it a shot if you haven’t yet, mood boards are an invaluable resource in the creative process. I may just factor them into this very blog a bit more in the future.