Lookbook, mood board, brand board, vision board, inspiration board … whatever you call it, a mood board is a powerful, easy-to-make tool for helping bring creative projects to life.
If you’re at the starting point of your next project and ready to use a mood board, read on! We’ll tell you what a mood board is, how it’s used, and where to find cool mood board-making tools. Bonus: You can browse 11 mood board designs and click on them to use their design template—for free!
Table of Contents
- What Is a Mood Board?
- Why Make a Mood Board?
- How To Make a Mood Board
- 11 Creative Lookbook and Mood Board Designs
- How To Send Your Mood Board Into the World
A mood board is a design-related method to showcase a vision for pretty much anything. It involves making digital or physical collages that capture the essence of the mood, vibe, or reality you want to create.
A mood board can be as simple as a poster board collage of images, drawings, color schemes, words, typography, and any other design elements that visually convey a mood or sentiment. It can also be more high-tech and high-quality, leveraging a mood board template (also called a mood-board maker, a mood-board template, or a brand board template).
Since a mood board is essentially a visual map that directs where you want to go, it can help you clearly define your ideas and stay on task, whether you use it for interior design, graphic design projects, a brand, or even vacation planning.
Interior designers use mood boards to help communicate to clients their proposed vibe for a space or even the details of an entire room. Companies use them internally to convey the personality of their brand or upcoming launches or campaigns. Fashion designers use fashion mood boards, also called lookbooks, to create a visual story around their products. Everyday people use them to visually articulate everything from a dream wedding to a desired lifestyle or New Year’s resolutions. Since mood boards are easy to modify, they can be effortlessly refined based on feedback.
There’s no one right design process, and you don’t have to be a graphic designer or even know Photoshop to create a beautiful mood board. You just need to approach the design project with an intention to capture the essence of the mood or look you’re trying to convey.
To make a physical mood board that you can hold in your hands or pin on a wall, you can use pens, markers, magazine or newspaper clippings, cardboard, construction paper, photographs, Pantone color chips, and anything else you want.
But these days you can make and print out digital mood boards by uploading photos and graphics from your camera roll to free mood board templates. They make creating a digital mood board as easy as drag and drop.
Ready to get started? Here are 11 digital mood board designs that will give you ideas on design styles and how to make them. Tap or click any of them to get started on creating your own mood board, and perhaps brush up on design ideas and tips that will help you hone your graphic design skills along the way!
Lend Order With a Grid Layout
A grid layout gives multiple images structure and makes it easy for viewers to quickly understand the graphic. Not sure the exact layout for you? Easily land on a pleasing layout with Spark’s AI-powered layout suggestions, which automatically create smart layout options for you based on the photos you upload.
Photo selection tip: If you’re working images from multiple sources, opt for photos with similar or complementary colors and backgrounds; they’ll help your collage look cohesive. You can also apply a consistent filter to the images in Spark Post.
Play With Palette Inspiration
The best inspiration comes from the real world, and now it’s easier than ever to harness that inspiration for color matching. Use Spark’s custom color picker to find the specific hex codes from your favorite snapshots and images. Then apply those colors to fill shapes and icons to make a creative mood board.
Frame Your Focal Point
Sometimes the addition of a simple shape can turn a snapshot into a work of art, especially if you use it to highlight a part of your image with a graphical element. The addition of the Polaroid frame in the image below is case in point.
To get the same or a similar effect, go to Spark Post’s icon library and search for “polaroid” or “square.” Another cool effect is to add borders to your image, which instantly makes it more bold.
Dazzle With Contrasting Colors
These Spark Post templates show the power of simple color palettes. If you’re creating a mood board around a design or color trend, consider picking a “pop” color that’s on the opposite side of the color wheel to create pleasing contrast.
Want to know more about color? Read what every brand needs to know to use color effectively and easy steps to picking your brand colors.
Make It Pop With PNG Cutouts
If you’re looking to highlight specific products, one savvy way to make them stand out is to apply them to your boards as PNG cutouts. This instantly put products in context, especially when paired with complementary lifestyle photos as the background. In the example below, the clock and planter become the focal points of the design while also showing the viewer how they look in a finished room.
Use Text To Create Context
Everyone knows Pinterest pins are that much more pin-able when they include explicit messaging right on the image. Why? Because it helps clarify or bring context to the images it accompanies. While you may want to steal this tip and template for your Pinterest pursuits (after all, Pinterest is really one big mood board, isn’t it?), it also works for mood boards. The copy in the image below works well because it’s descriptive and hints that there’s more content after the jump.
Whether you’re giving your personal style or pad a makeover, collecting inspiration for your brand identity, or promoting your products on social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, you now have enough resources and information to create your own mood board.
But what do you do after you’ve created it?
Digital mood boards are easily viewed online or shared via image-sharing social networks. But if you want to share more visuals and info-rich text, consider making a professional lookbook via Spark Page. It allows you to compile your images on one webpage that you can share with staff, buyers, clients, or customers. The automatic responsive design ensures your content will look great no matter where it’s viewed.
Also, don’t forget to tag your lookbooks and mood boards on social media with #adobespark. (And include your logo for free PR or craft a logo with free online logo design tools.) Others will appreciate the opportunity to view your work, and who knows, it may even end up showcased in an article like this one.