Using Mood Boards and Everyday Images for Inspiration

I have talked about mood boards a couple of times on this blog because I love them and I think they can really help boost creative inspiration. I probably don’t use them in the traditional sense of the word, but more as a massive source of inspiration, so maybe I should call it an inspiration board instead?

How to create an inspiration board / mood board

An inspiration board is simply a collection of imagery. This could be done manually (my preferred method) whereby you rip things out of magazines, print things out you find on the web and then paste them up on a large sheet of paper. You could also collect together your imagery digitally by using a photo editing program or a website like Pinterest.

Inspiration board created using images pasted onto a large sheet of paper

create a moodboard

A couple of ways you can use your inspiration board:

Use a mood board get a feel for your target market

A mood board is hugely adaptable for use in different ways the first and probably one of the common ways I use them is to get the feel for the target market of whatever I am designing. So for example say you were designing something for music lovers in their late teens then you would want to collect together imagery that might appeal to them. So you might go out and buy a selection of music magazines and look online a music sites and collect all this imagery together on a board. This will give you a big insight onto what might appeal to this target market might.

Mood board created to get a feel for toy company logos

toy logo inspiration moodboard

To get inspiration to break you out of your normal way of thinking

Imagine that you are designing something, be it a leaflet, product, piece of jewellery or character design. Chances are if we try and design it, we will fall back on styles or ideas we have used before or emulate things we see. Try this instead – whatever your current project, take a walk around your home or around your town and take photos of random things you see. So for example if I was walking round my house I could snap a photo of a guitar, a desklamp, a fire extinguisher etc etc. Collect together all these images and look how you could apply them to you current project. Perhaps the 6 strings on a guitar could form an interesting graphic on a leaflet which you link your graphics to, perhaps the twisty shape of the desklamp bulb could influence the shape of a piece of jewellery, perhaps the red of the fire extinguisher could become the dominant colour of a character design.

Inspiration board created using everyday images for character design inspiration

moodboard character inspiration

Do you use mood boards or inspiration boards? How do you use them?

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6 Comments

  1. Posted November 28, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Yeah, i completely agreed with you.Creativity and choice are the key concepts of designing field.Logos and mood board are very useful in the case of inspiration.

  2. Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    What a great article!!! I use “vision boards” (collages of images that inspire my goals and ambitions). You gave me a great idea: incorporating design elements from the vision boards into my paintings. Thanks! :-)

  3. Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi Cinzia – nice idea to use moodboards for painting – hope you will post some on your website along with your inspirations boards

  4. Posted December 20, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the reply, Tara!
    I am going to start working on this project right away! :-)

  5. Posted January 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I never knew to call them “moodboards” but I’ve created various wallpapers on my desktop that serve a similar inspirational function! Perhaps some enterprising person out there can create loads of different downloadable moodboard wallpapers.

  6. Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I use mood boards on every project. I always have since my days a university found them as a great tool to get inspired, and also are great to create with clients to build a bond with them and make sure your going in the right direction at the start of the project

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