How to Design a Killer Digital Mood Board: 9 Tips

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

They’re perfect for organizing and illustrating your vision, all without the mess of creating a physical mood board. But they can also quickly become a graveyard of disordered and forgotten ideas if you don’t stay on top of your workflow.

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

1. What Is the Mood Board For?

Before you start throwing together images and illustrations, consider what your mood is for. If it’s related to a project for school or work, the objective of the project will be the main priority and you’ll need to keep that in mind with every picture 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’ve got the freedom to be a little more abstract or flamboyant. But remember that all of the images and elements will form 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 that you find stylish will work.

2. Narrow Down the Theme

Person Creating Mood Board on Laptop

We’ve all seen mood boards on social media that don’t quite make sense. Unless it’s part of some niche topic only meant for a certain audience, your mood board needs to be coherent and easily convey your vision. This starts by narrowing down your concept.

Are you putting together something for your friend’s wedding? Narrow it down; which part of the wedding? The flowers at the reception? What type of flowers? Peonies and white roses? There you have the components of your theme: French pink, off-white, satiny textures, and swirled and jagged lines.

3. Don’t Oversaturate: Strike a Balance

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

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

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

4. Research Color Schemes and Elements of Design

Design Elements: Textures, Shapes, and Colors

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

Color isn’t the only important part of your mood board; learn more about the basic elements of design and how they work together, 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 any 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 bit more serious about design, consider using Adobe Illustrator. There are lots of visually appealing things you can create with Illustrator for your mood board, such as 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 achieve with PicsArt.

6. Use Your Own Pictures and Designs

If your mood board is going up on social media, you’ll need to be mindful of copyright infringement. Sticking to stock images and designs is your best bet for staying out of trouble. However, this puts a damper on your creative freedom.

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

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

7. Pick Your Layout

Canva Mood Board Template Tall Blue Buildings

If you’re still a mood board newbie, a good tip is to base the whole thing on one image. Place a photo of your main theme somewhere in the center of the canvas, and keep adding your complementing elements around that image.

Collage-style mood boards need more attention to detail because they’re subject to oversaturation. Don’t try to squeeze every picture you can find of your theme onto the canvas. Create variation and flow by balancing the “loud” and “quiet” elements, and put some space between them, too.

Canva has a ton of mood board templates consisting of all sorts of creative layouts and styles if you struggle to come up with your own.

8. Crop It

You need to be practical about how you utilize the space in your layout. Unless you’re working with a premade template that already has set dimensions for the pictures, you should crop them before adding them to your mood board. Not every image needs to have the same dimensions, as long as they flow well together.

9. Include Text

Stylish Green Font on Tablet

Words are underrated yet powerful elements of design. Not only can they help convey your vision more literally, but the font style contributes to the aesthetic. So, don’t be scared to include some 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 on what will work with your chosen style.

Show Off Your Vision With an Aesthetic Mood Board

Creating a coherent and convincing mood board takes some effort, but these tips will give you a headstart. We recommend creating a dedicated folder to store all your pictures and illustrations, and take it from there.

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