Mood board in graphic design

Every designer is unique, and so is their creative process. But there are a few methodologies that are shared between them, like starting a new project with a mood board. But what actually is a mood board? Is it necessary to do one? How do you create mood boards?

We’ve asked our designers whether they use mood boards or inspirational boards for their creative projects, and here are their thoughts about it. If you are a Pinterest pro, in this post, you’ll find useful information to create one from scratch or make the most of the ones Freepik offers

What is a mood board in graphic design?

 A mood board in in graphic design is basically a selection of different assets like photographs, textures, fonts, color palettes, or any other visual element, grouped together in a collage. It can be either traditional/physical in the form of a corkboard or a digital mood board.

 In a broader sense, a mood board is much more than that, is a visual representation that communicates the ideas and concepts in a particular project. The arrangement of visuals is carefully thought, and it will serve as the roadmap for the project

orange moodboardDownload template


Who needs mood boards in graphic design? 

Graphic designers are not the only ones who create these pieces of work. Think of interior designers, fashion designers, or make-up artists, for instance. They all need to show a preview of their work before moving on to a real environment project.

Mood boards are really important when it comes to presenting a project to a client. This is a great way to see what the style of the final piece will look like. And if the client is not 100% sure of the work, it won’t be a complete loss of time. In fact, it’s recommended to create different kinds of mood boards to have covered different styles. Clients will feel more involved in the project and will be a win-win situation. 

If you are not working for a client but developing your own branding imagery, a mood board will help you keep your ideas organized and serve as a guideline for developing your logo, color palette, typeface, etc. 

brown mood board

Download template

“I find mood boards really useful, as they help me getting everything organized. Sometimes I tend to use a lot of colors, so this way having a color scheme in mind and present in the mood board helps me to stick to those ones.” Carlota Castillejo, Graphic Designer at Freepik.

How do you create a mood board in graphic design?

Now we know the benefits of mood boars. Let’s jump to the fun part! Did you know you can even make one mood board to plan your summer wardrobe color scheme or to decide where your next holiday destination will be. Just give it a go! And if you are wondering how to make one? What should a mood board include? Well, it’ll undoubtedly vary on the project your working on, but these are a few examples of what you may include in your mood board:

  • Images: Of course, the first thing that comes to our mind. A picture is worth a thousand words and in mood boards, even more. Include photographs, backgrounds, illustrations, logos, or any other image that represents your idea or product.
  • Words or phrases: Supplementing the images with a word or a phrase that represents a concept, an idea, or a feeling can be the perfect combination.
  • Colors: Choose your color palette and include it as a swatch or integrated within the images chosen. Have in mind the psychology of colors while choosing your color palette.
  • Fonts: Include the style of fonts you’ll use in the project.
  • Textures: or patterns, they can give more detailed information about the final product.

Blue mood board

Download template

Final thoughts

Having boards of inspiration in Pinterest or Freepik Collections, for example, can make the process of creating a mood board much easier. When you finally choose the resources you want to include, it’s time to play around with the artboard. Think of hierarchy and scale elements at your wish, there’s no fixed rule, just keep testing! The templates we have included in this post have been beautifully created by Carlota Castillejo for Freepik, and we wanted to know how does she come up with the ideas:

“I usually think of the overall idea I have. What do I want to stand-out? The colors? Well, imagine I’m collecting images for a winter style mood board. First, everything related to winter will popup like snowflakes, ice, hot chocolate, fireplace, and so on. Then I’ll move to more concrete things like wood or mugs.” 

And you? Do you find mood boards useful? How’s your creative process to create one? We’d love to hear your thoughts about mood boards in the comments!