Mood Board 101

Mood Boards are exactly what they sound like. They are made to represent the overall mood and vibe of the collection you are creating. They are essentially a brain dump for all of the ideas that pop into your head surrounding color, silhouette, fabric, design details, etc.

Yes, it’s basically your ultimate Pinterest board.

They are extremely useful for a designer when she/he is beginning to build a design concept, and ultimately the range plan. Before I even begin to consider design work for a client, I ask to see their mood board. Without it, I cannot possibly understand their design goals! It would be a waste of my time and their money if they booked me for design, let me run rogue and design whatever I want, and then turn in work that they don’t like because it was completely different than their vision.

Not only are mood boards critical to a designer’s role, they are also a really strong tool for the client. By laying out all of their ideas in one place, it is easier for them to organize and set themselves up for what exactly they will need to ask from a designer in terms of concepting and building out a range (or line) plan.

Mood boards are a lot of fun to make.

There are no rules when putting together a mood board. They totally bring back high-school vibes from when you were younger – cutting magazines to shreds and pasting all the images that spark joy to a large science-fair-esque whiteboard and displaying them proudly for all to see.

I mean, you’re probably not going to do it that way now (unless you want to, remember there are no rules here) when we are living in a digital age. I want to recommend a couple places that I’ve found work best for putting all of your ideas in one place:

  • Pinterest This is the obvious one as it is literally a mood board for all things. It’s a great tool for organizing specific categories – you can break everything down: Color, Silhouette, Overall attitude, fabrics, design details, trims, etc.
  • Canva This is also a really great tool that let’s you basically make your school vision board, except digitally instead of pasting onto a huge foam board. You can drag images and manipulate them on the board as you see fit.
  • Illustrator Since I do own this software, I use Illustrator to build out my ideas. The downside is that all of my images that I want to use will be living somewhere else (like Pinterest) anyway.

What Should I include on a Mood Board?

For a third time, there are no rules when it comes to making a mood board! So have fun with it. BUT if you are creating in in order to pass along to a designer so that she/he can create a really dope concept for you, please include the following:

  • Color Is extremely important. Unless you are going to be using a lot of pop colors and loud prints, don’t include rainbow everything on your board. The colors should represent the type of palette you want to use for your actual collection. Want to build a line plan with only core colors like black, white, navy, and grey? Those are the colors that your board should consist heavily of.
  • Silohuette Are you trying to build out an activewear line? Don’t send your designer a mood board with ethereal, flowy gowns.
  • Fabrics See above. You don’t need to have the specifics nailed down (that’s why you are hiring a designer!) but again, if you want to do activewearI wouldn’t present a board showing ball gowns.
  • Target Customer Designing for grandma and her dopest friends? Don’t represent children on your board.

That’s your mood board, in a nutshell.

Here’s ours, just for fun and for the sake of the post.

Now go have some fun with it! Have more questions? Either comment below or email me at