How to effectively use a mood board for web design

person using a mood board cartoon
Using a mood board to inspire web design

I was lucky to have a designer sister when planning my wedding. She was more excited to style everything than the bride. I gladly handed over all creative decisions to her. Whenever she asked me to make a choice, I simply replied:

  • I trust you.
  • I know you’ll pick the best.
  • You’re the designer, I’ll go with what you choose.

She sat down with me one day and looked me in the eyes: “It’s YOUR wedding. You have to make decisions too,” she said. “At the very least, create a mood board.”

“I just don’t know what looks good.” I like the colour red for the motif; isn’t that enough information?” I said.

She rolled her eyes and took out her laptop to show me. “Everything is red,” she exclaimed. “Would you like your wedding to look like Moulin Rouge and you to walk down the aisle like Sebastian the crab?”

two girls looking at laptop screen cartoon

I gulped. “What exactly is a mood board?”

She beamed in triumph. “With it, I know that one, not everything is red, two, all the designs complement each other, and three, I get to experiment while still knowing you’ll like the final design.”

I created a digital mood board that day, and despite the fact that I was too busy to go over every design decision for my wedding, everything turned out to be stunning. Thank you to my sister and the mood board.

Why you should use mood boards for your web design

A mood board is a collage of all the visual ideas, colours, textures, and other elements you want to include in your project.

It also contains some text that describes the ideas behind the visuals as well as the mood you want to convey to website visitors.

They are also an effective way to communicate with your team, clients, and/or contractors about how you want your website to look.

They can be used at any stage of the project, from coming up with ideas for a new site to creating a colour palette for a design.

What are the benefits of using mood boards?

A mood board enables you to create a visual link between the ideas you want to convey and the final website design. It is an excellent tool to use before beginning to design the website and its elements.

It also allows you to experiment with different visual ideas without having to create an actual design. This is an excellent way to ensure that your final design is unique while remaining consistent with the desired brand and message.

What to include in your mood board?

Colour

Color is a great place to start when selecting design elements to include on your mood board.

The colours you choose send a clear message about who you are as a brand and can influence how your audience perceives the rest of your brand elements.

Picture

It’s important to include imagery that tells your brand’s story on your mood board. Look for photographs, illustrations, and other imagery that fits your branding.

Texture

Look for textures that speak to the type of brand you’re launching (for example, leather for a men’s accessories brand) or the vibe you’re trying to create with your brand (like woven rattan for a Japan-Scandinavian-inspired brand).

Patterns

Patterns, like textures, can reveal important information about your brand. Include any patterns that speak to who you are as a brand (such as a loud polka dot pattern or a more subtle stripe).

Text

Incorporating typographic elements, such as inspiring fonts or words/quotes that speak to your brand, is a great way to highlight the visuals on your branding mood board and ensure the message is heard loud and clear.

Examples of brands using mood boards effectively

mood board samples
mood board samples

Mood boards are for inspiration NOT for design

It is critical to remember that a mood board is used for inspiration rather than design. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a mood board’s colour scheme exactly as it is in a brochure or website design.

It’s meant to be a starting point for you to get your creative juices flowing before applying it to a design in your own unique way.

Mood boards can be a valuable asset in any design process. It can help you define your design direction and gather inspiration for your next project when used effectively.

To begin, we recommend creating your own brand mood board or requesting one from an on-demand design service. They can assist you in taking your creative ideas from the drawing board to a tangible design for your business.

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