Mood boards

Mood boards are collages of imagery and found objects that are compiled to give a design direction. Elements in a mood board include, but are not limited to form, colour, texture, material, and typeface. It visually summarises the desired mood and atmosphere of a design, and allows lateral thinking and different perspectives towards a design problem. Mood boards are created with the aim of inspiring design ideas and to support dialogue among design teams and other stakeholders. Architects and designers in various fields, like service design, fashion design and industrial design, use mood boards in the early stage of design projects to gain inspiration and to communicate with clients.

Contributor: Stephanie Xi Cheng Ho, 2013

Jenna Marino of web design agency Hunt & Gather creates exemplary mood boards. She uses different scales of elements on the board to show their importance and evoke discussions easily. The random placement of elements keeps the web design concept abstract and inspiring. It is also clear to the reader that it is just an abstract concept, but not exactly how the website will look like.

An example of misused mood boards would be those created by web design agency Newfangled. These were created with headings and clear sections, resulting in a rigid looking board. The equal scale of each element and the lineal layout of the board did not blend the elements together. Thus the atmosphere of the design is not communicated properly. As the elements were placed in a way looking similar to a typical website layout, some of Newfangled’s clients have mistook the boards as their website’s actual layout.

Contributor: Stephanie Xi Cheng Ho, 2013