Creating A Moodboard That Works! Know How.

I can still remember the expression on my boss’s face from my times at the advertising agency, when I showed him my moodboard on the topic Active Wear. Back then I had no idea what a moodboard was and it being the late 90’s, the internet wasn’t full of helpful tips and tricks yet. My boss was one of those people, who had an opinion on everything and expressed them all the time. But my moodboard had made him speechless. It was a A1 size cardboard paper full of cut out small pictures in the sizes 3 x 4 cm.

So, that something like this NEVER happens to you, I put together a small checklist for a moodboard, that’ll definitely work!

What even is a moodboard? According to Wikipedia a moodboard is “a type of collage consisting of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition. It can be based upon a set topic or can be any material chosen at random. A mood board can be used to give a general idea of a topic, or to show how different something is from the modern day. They may be physical or digital and can be effective presentation tools.” (, 6.11.18)



Now here is the checklist for your moodboard

1. What do you need the moodboard for?

Firstly, it should be clear what you are going to use your moodboard for. Is it a personal way of working to keep inspirations for your new project together? If so, then you can take the rules down below lightly. Important for you would be to make sure everything you need to work is on there!

If you need a moodboard for a presentation or to communicate something, then the message is the most important part. The message should come across clearly and must make sense to your colleagues, clients and superiors.


2. Analog or digital?


Are the materials on your board the main focus? Or are you using a flat surface like a wall in a studio that employees are allowed to use to present their new projects? If so, then it makes sense to make an analog moodboard: A big carton or a wall where you can add on pictures, sketches, materials and texts for example.


Nowadays it’s common to produce moodboards digitally. Especially since most research is now being done digitally. Pinterest is one of the easiest ways. On this platform you can digitally create boards on different topics and collect pictures. For example on my GEO MET RIA pinterest account you’ll find a bunch of patterns already sorted into categories like geometric or abstract.

Are you looking for ready-made moodboard templates where you only have to fill in your images? No problem. You can find affordable moodboard templates on platforms like

Graphic designers can also create their own layouts on programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop or Indesign, if they find the time to do so.

This point leads us to the next topic!


3. Is there something like THE one and only correct moodboard layout?

No, of course not. Some love very graphic layouts, while others prefer less strict layouts. Here is an example for a looser designed moodboard (from creativemarket).

If you are creating your moodboard yourself:

  • Graphic layout: it helps to use a grid in the background
  • Loose layouts: make sure image placement stays balanced and doesn’t turn out too uneasy and messy. The positioning of pictures should be balanced


4. What belongs on a moodboard

What should be on a moodboard obviously depends on your project. A branding board will look differently than a moodboard for a fashion collection or an interior design project.

Here is an example for a branding board (You can find the template on creativemarket).

Here you’ll find a small list that you can use as a guideline.

  • Colour palettes (you can find good colour palettes on Pinterest oder
  • Textures
  • Patterns
  • Materials
  • Shapes
  • Light, lighting
  • Styles
  • Furniture, clothing, products, houses etc.
  • Accessoires
  • Mood pictures
  • Fonts
  • Text
  • People


6. Good

  • Consistent images: The chosen pictures should be coherent among themselves. Thats means contrast, colours and style should pair well.
  • A balanced color palette: While choosing the pictures try to stay in a certain color palette. Otherwise your board will look akward.
  • Consistent message: The selection of pictures should present a consistent impression, where the message of the board is clearly communicated. (For example if your topic is „The Glam Home“, muddy DIY ceramics could make the message unclear.)
  • Pick out motifs sensibly: On your moodboard there should be motifs that go with your topic. On a moodboard for a fashion collection for example, you could put on materials, colours, styles, shapes, patterns, cuts or mood pictures.


7. Not so good

  • Multiple pictures with the same message: It’s not useful to show the same message several times. For example: three images with pink jumpers with batwing sleeves. One image is enough.
  • Blurred pictures: Pixelated pictures don’t look very appealing and don’t show good quality. The picture quality should at least have 150dpi in its original size, 72dpi for the screen.
  • Inappropriate scale ratios: Irrelevant details should not be bigger than more important motifs.
  • Poorly chosen image details: Leave out trivial stuff and focus on the essential.

Still have questions? Just write me at!

Have fun creating your Moodboard!