I have loved creating moodboards ever since I was a child, sticking and cutting in her first scrapbook. Fast forward 20 years to when I was studying styling and you can imagine I was in sheer heaven, moodboard heaven! For 3 years I spent every evening knee deep in the most gorgeous fashion, interior and trend magazines (some which cost a pretty penny too!) Brimming with the most inspiring photography and design I was forever saving special images for the day I could use them (and when that day rolls around it is soooo satisfying, believe me).

But what are moodboards? A moodboard is a collection of inspiring images that portray a certain feeling or atmosphere to the viewer.

Why use a moodboard? Moodboards are really handy things. They are fun to make but also serve a great purpose in all manner of creative projects.

For work I use them in various ways. When I am working on a brand identity they help visualise the message we are trying to get across. A brand is all about how the core message you are trying to portray is translated into the images and text you use for your company. A moodboard can visualise this message and assist in the process. I also use them when creating a styling concept, this could be for an event, an interior or to demonstrate a trend.

At home I use mood boards when I want to create  a new look for my interior. For example when I started thinking about Littlelish’s nursery the first thing I did was turn to my magazines to make an inspirational moodboard.

Moodboards help to cement your ideas, they are reference point when choosing for example fabrics or colours for a room or designing a logo for a company. They are also inspirational, when you start out on a creative journey you might think you have a firm idea of what you want in mind but by creating a moodboard you actually go through a creative process. You are inspired by images you might not have thought of using and arrive new and original ideas, creating something far more interesting than what you had originally planned.

How to make a beautiful moodboard

  • Start with thinking about keywords around what you are creating, narrow it down to 5 and choose carefully making sure none of them overlap or are different words for the same idea. (ie key words for my blog are stylish, fun, heart warming and happy)
  • Look for images that evoke the feeling of these words in you, they can be literal or not but be selective! The images can be interior, fashion, lifestyle or just beautiful photography. If you are looking at a brand you can also think about the type of person who would be buying ie. your target market and find a good image to represent them.
  • Now you need to spread all these images out all over the floor or a large desk if you have one. Mine is always the floor as my desk is never large enough! Weed out any you don’t think are right and try and make a cohesive collection, look for instance at colour/shape/graphic themes – find the linking thread/s.
  • Less is in this case also very often more. Choose larger images. A few stronger,  big images will always look better than a collection of small fiddly images.

    Sometimes as little as 2 images will work as a perfect moodboard
  • Check back over your original words, are your images saying what you want them to say?
  • Once you have chosen your final images you need to place them together – this can be a bit of a puzzle. Play around with it until you get something you are happy with. Sometimes you will have to add one of the images you put aside or take out an image to get it right. If you have any smaller images you can cut around the detail (sometimes it looks cool to have a graphicy cut out border) and place it over the base images but do this carefully otherwise it won’t look good. Sometimes I do this to cover places where more photos join if it adds anything. If an image does not add anything or is similar to another image weed it out, you don’t need it!

    Images cut out with a ‘graphic’ white border
  • Once you are happy with your final moodboard it is time to stick it down. I normally use foam board to stick it onto as this is very durable and thick and if you can, use spray mount to stick it down as glue often shows through and doesn’t stick it well enough. If you are using a really strong permanent spray mount make sure you get it in the right place first time or you will not be able to get it back up again! Watch out as this is really sticky stuff and seems to fly everywhere, it is ideal if you can spray inside a cardboard box or something to contain the glue.

And there you have your finished moodboard to gaze at and inspire you. Keep referring to it along your creative process and be reminded of what you are trying to achieve.

Do you create moodboards? Have any top tips to share? Let me know by leaving me a comment….

Watch this space for a tutorial on how to create the perfect colour chart to match your board.