How To Create A Mood Board: A Complete Guide

Terra Movement
8 min readDec 20, 2020


Creating a mood board can be very helpful especially when you have no idea where to start. If you haven’t made one before don’t worry because here I will tell you what you need to know in order to create your very own unique mood board for your next project.

What Is The Purpose of a Mood Board?

First things first, what is the purpose of a mood board?

It is a way of communicating a range of ideas. Before starting a project whether it is graphic design or interior design, a mood board helps create the feel and style you desire.

Sometimes a mood board is just for yourself and sometimes it’s to pitch to a client. Either way, it can be helpful. Having a visual representation of what you aim your final design to look like is better than simply explaining it with words.

I also use a mood board to generate new ideas. Getting existing designs together helps me come up with new ideas and combine them in ways that I couldn’t have come up with if I didn’t have some sort of inspiration in front of me.

Types of Mood Boards

Before you start, you need to decide whether you want to create a digital or physical mood board. It’s easy to make either one. This is up to you. There’s no better option. It depends on the person and on the design.


Creating a digital mood board has become so easy now. There are many different types of software out there (some are free and some are at a cheap price) that help you create your own unique mood board. You don’t have to be an experienced designer to make one. It also means you don’t have to print things out which for some people might be a hassle. Also, it is easier to share with other people.

Here are some software of websites that could help you make one:

Adobe spark

If you already have the Adobe Suite, then you can use Adobe Spark. However, there is a free plan that you could try. It doesn’t have that many features but if you are looking to make a simple mood board, it will suffice.


Canva is an online website that has gained popularity lately. It has many templates you could choose from and personalize. It’s very easy to make. Simply type in ‘mood board’ in the search bar, and choose your favorite template. Again, this one is free unless you want to get Canva Pro which has more features.


Everyone knows Pinterest. If you want to stick to what you know, then create a new board on Pinterest and start pining. This is probably the easiest one if you are not that good with technology. If you just want a collection of images, Pinterest will work just fine.


Another great website that allows you to create a mood board for free is Sampleboard. It allows you to put together and organize your photos. It’s super easy to use too.

Physical mood board

Creating a physical mood board can be good when you are used to making digital design because it forces you to think differently than usual. Instead of using the same tools and techniques that you are used to using every day, you will need to use new skills that perhaps you haven’t used in a while.

I would recommend finding a piece of cardboard or thick paper so that it holds together well. Then look through different old books, photos, newspapers, and the internet for content to add to it.

How To Create A Mood Board

So now that you know the importance of a mood board and that you have decided if it will be digital or physical, it’s time to get started.

Remember, there is no step by step guide to creating a mood board. Don’t restrict yourself by following someone else’s guide. Here I simply give you some help to get started and guide you in the right direction if you don’t have any clue on how to get started.

Where to find inspiration/content

Stock Images

There are many websites like Unsplash and Pixabay that have free stock images for anyone to use. They have millions of photos to choose from. They also have a great feature where you can search for images of specific colors. So after you decide on a color scheme, you can pick photos based on those colors

Take your own photos

Don’t be afraid to take your own phone to take pictures. Take pictures of things that inspire you or objects that will fit your style. It could be buildings, nature, or something in your home.


Pinterest has millions of monthly users many of which upload new content every day. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to create your mood board on Pinterest. It’s a great way to get some inspiration.


Again, Instagram is a great platform to get some inspiration from. There are many creatives on Instagram that you use it as their form of expression. You can type in some keywords in the search bar and find some amazing accounts.


If you are making a physical mood board, find some magazines or books that are lying around in your house and see if you can find something that you can add.

Or anything else you can find

Look anywhere and add anything you want. You could even attach fabrics. Don’t limit your imagination. A mood board should have a wide range of content to make it easier for ideas to come to you.

What to include:


Images are the main thing you will find on mood boards. It has become so easy to get images of any style or type. Use the websites mentioned above to get some images. You don’t need to organize them straight away. Wait to get all the different elements and then at the end bring it all together.


It depends on what kind of style you’re going for, but it might be good to add something apart from photos. Adding illustrations can add variety. Add big works of great artists or just random ones you find online.


While a mood board is created primarily of visuals, it’s good to add some words or thoughts on there too. This will also help you later on down the line as it will help to know what you were thinking or feeling.

Maybe under some of your pictures, you could add a small caption to explain what you like about it and why you chose it.


Find the right font to go with your style. Add random letters and fonts that you feel go with the overall feel and style. This can be overwhelming as there are thousands of fonts to choose from. Don’t waste too much time choosing the right font because you could spend hours just looking through all of them.

It is important to choose a good one but stress too much about it.


Find a color theme you love and add it to your mood board. Choosing the right colors is definitely important. Different colors make someone feel something different. Once you have a specification or know who your target audience will be, try to pick the right colors that will best suit them.

Here are some websites that I have used in the past to pick a color theme:

  • Adobe Color


This can be achieved through physical mood boards and digital mood boards alike. For physical texture, some options include paper, pencil sharpenings, fabrics, and leaves.

For digital ones, you can find textures on stock image websites like Pexels and Unsplash or you could edit photos yourself and add texture using Illustrator, Photoshop, or other software you use.


Add some shapes, patterns, or abstract ideas to mix things up. Different shapes and patterns create a different feeling. Also using abstract ideas could help you think more outside the box and come up with more ideas.

My top tips

01. Think of your target audience

Always keep the end goal in mind. Even if you are your own client. At the end of the day, you are trying to please someone and get ideas to create a final design.

A mood board should be consistent throughout. Think carefully about what colors and elements to add. If you keep organized and consistent you will able to make something amazing.

02. Experiment

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Use the mood board as a way to express what you are feeling. Experimenting is the only way to see what works and what doesn’t.

You do need to be consistent as I said before but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out new things. That’s the only way to create something unique.

03. Don’t just do one

It’s unlikely you will create a perfect mood board on the first go. So make more than one and each time it will get better and better. Experiment with different styles and designs and after a few goes, you will have created something much better than your original one. There’s always room for development.

04. Don’t follow guidelines, follow emotions

The aim of a mood board is to create a certain feel or emotion. The colors and elements should go together and match well. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have variety, it just means everything should blend nicely together.

I can’t tell you exactly how to make a mood board. It’s not a math problem that you can solve in 10 steps. It’s something that you must try yourself. Art and design are not about logic, it’s about emotion.

05. Enjoy it

Creating a mood board is meant to be fun, not stressful. Don’ be strict with yourself. Enjoy the process. It takes time so don’t force yourself to finish it one day or one night.


At the end of the day, a mood board is trying to communicate something and make you or someone else feel a certain way. With practice, you will get better at it.

But don’t limit yourself to what I’ve said. I’m sure you will find more resources and websites tailored to your needs. But this guide will hopefully get you started as it can be overwhelming at first.

All images from Unsplash

Originally published at on December 20, 2020.



Terra Movement

Using creativity to help the planet. We need more designers and creatives in the climate movement.