How to Design a Killer Digital Mood Board: 9 Tips

Whether you need to gather ideas for a party, organize styles for a home renovation, or just create something aesthetic for social media, you can’t go wrong with a digital mood board.

They’re great for organizing and illustrating your vision, all without having to create a physical mood board. But they can also quickly become a graveyard of messy, forgotten ideas if you don’t get your workflow under control.

Here we outline our top tips for creating a digital mood board, which will help you stay organized and creative throughout the process.

1. What is the Mood Board used for?

Before you start collecting pictures and illustrations, think about your mood. If it’s a project for school or work, the goal of the project will be the main priority and you should keep that in mind with every image you add. It’s probably also best to refrain from obnoxious or abstract styles in this case; keep it clean and simple.

If your mood board is for something more creative, like a party, you have the freedom to go a little more abstract or flamboyant. But remember that all images and elements will be part of a bigger concept, like building a puzzle. So stay on track when collecting or creating media for your mood board; not just anything you find elegant will work.

2. Refine the theme

We’ve all seen moodboards on social media that don’t really make sense. Unless it’s part of a niche topic intended only for a certain audience, your moodboard should be consistent and easily convey your vision. It starts with refining your concept.

Planning something for your friend’s wedding? Reduce it; what part of the wedding? The flowers at the reception? What kind of flowers? Peonies and white roses? These are the components of your theme: French pink, off-white, satin textures, and swirling, jagged lines.

3. Don’t oversaturate: find a balance

You need to offset the main components with other elements, otherwise the mood board will become too saturated with the same.

These elements should complement the main theme. In the case of our wedding flower example: stone textures, glass, metallic colors and long, smooth curved lines will work well with peonies and white roses.

Now you know exactly what to look for when researching images and designs (or photographing or designing them yourself). Sticking to this combination of elements is what will complete your vision.

4. Look for color schemes and design elements

How do you actually know which colors complement each other? One way is to familiarize yourself with color theory. If that sounds too daunting, use an online color palette generator.

Color isn’t the only important part of your mood board; Learn about basic design elements and their interaction, such as shapes, lines, and textures.

Creating a mood board from scratch will require a moderately comprehensive image editing or design tool. You don’t need to invest in software; using the free version of Canva will do just fine. Here’s how to add a transparent gradient to your images in Canva for a dreamy feel.

If you’re a little more serious about design, consider using Adobe Illustrator. There are many visually appealing things you can create with Illustrator for your mood board, like a rainbow text effect and funky patterns.

You can also create a mood board on your phone or tablet. PicsArt is by far the most comprehensive mobile photo editor with a huge collection of stickers and borders to complete your mood board. Check out these cool aesthetics you can make with PicsArt.

6. Use your own images and designs

If your mood board is going up on social media, you will need to be aware of copyright infringement. Sticking to stock images and designs is your best bet to avoid trouble. However, this puts a brake on your creative freedom.

So why not use your own images and designs? You don’t need to be a professional photographer or even own a camera, just take them on your phone. And there are plenty of free graphic design tools you can take advantage of.

This can make the process longer, but who wouldn’t want their mood board to be unique and original?

7. Choose your layout

If you are still new to mood boards, a good tip is to base everything on a single image. Place a photo of your main theme somewhere in the center of the canvas and continue adding your complementary elements around that image.

Collage style mood boards require more attention to detail as they are prone to oversaturation. Don’t try to squeeze every image you can find of your theme onto the canvas. Create variation and flow by balancing ‘loud’ and ‘quiet’ elements, and put some space between them too.

Canva has a ton of mood board templates made up of all kinds of creative layouts and styles if you’re struggling to find your own.

8. Crop it

You need to be practical about how you use space in your layout. Unless you’re working with a pre-made template that has already defined dimensions for images, you should crop them before adding them to your mood board. Not all images need to be the same dimensions, as long as they fit together well.

9. Include Text

Words are underrated but powerful design elements. Not only can they help convey your vision more literally, but the typeface style helps with the aesthetic. So don’t be afraid to include a few words in your mood board.

You don’t need to be a typography expert, but it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of research into what will work with your chosen style.

Show your vision with an aesthetic mood board

Creating a cohesive and compelling moodboard takes some effort, but these tips will give you a head start. We recommend that you create a dedicated folder to store all your photos and artwork, and go from there.

Not only are mood boards pretty, but they’re useful for brainstorming, and there are plenty of places online for you to visualize your presentations and ideas.

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