Beyond The Wanderlust » Inspirational Photography Blog for Storytellers Worldwide

Creating Standout Mood Boards

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Boards 4

Mood boards are used to inspire, evoke, or convey your emotion, all without even speaking. A person viewing a mood board should be able to see what passion the creator has, just by a small layout of images. For example, graphic designers & illustrators often use mood boards as a line of communication with their clients to ensure that the right brand is developing. Brides turn to Pinterest and create their “dream wedding” boards, which essentially are like giant mood boards.  Pulling different fonts, images, colors and textures together, will complete the story being told.

When thinking of creating a mood board, you first have to decide what exactly it is that you are wanting to use the mood board for. I will employ the use of mood boards for any project that I have currently going, especially if I am trying to communicate with multiple people. Pinterest especially is a great place to gather a small party of people, to view inspiration on a project, as most people now have Pinterest. If this is a top secret project, have no worries, you can create your own secret boards.

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Boards 2

Once you know what project you are creating the board for, you need to start grabbing inspiring images. Be sure to grab a mixture of images, as each image completes a “piece” to the whole “puzzle.” When I am pinning I typically will pin a lot of images. I will go back then and reassess what I have and move pins to other boards or delete if I feel like they don’t fit. If you still don’t feel like your board is complete, figure out what is missing, and head back to pin.

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Boards

After your images, the biggest part to getting the board compiled is actually making the board. There are endless ways to create your layout, to bring the biggest impact to your viewer. I won’t always include color swatches on my boards but those are still some of my favorites. Here are some that I have created and love using:

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Board One

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Board Two

[one without colors]

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Board Three

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Board Four

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Board Five

Snag this free mood board template – Tweet this


After you have your board layout done, play around with plugging your images in. Keep moving the images around until you have the placement conveying your mood the best. At this point again, you might even find yourself back at the pin board, re-pinning more images. I know I have had my boards set, till I went to insert the images and they don’t flow how well I thought they would. This is why when I am originally pinning I will have multiple images for each particular element. If the images and layout aren’t coming together how you want them to, take a break and come back.

If you are using a layout that has color swatches, you need to be able to grab the exact colors out of the images and possibly even the colors name, depending on your theme. When I first was going to match colors out of an image and naming them, I was lost.

Completely and utterly lost, I tell you!

After spending some time researching, I found several great websites to fix my problem at hand. My favorite to use for color matching is Adobe Color. Adobe also gives you the option to upload an image and it will help you set the tone depending on the mood you want. There is also a custom option where you can pick your own colors out. Want to know the actual patone name? No problem, there are sites for that as well!

Here is a list of my favorite websites to use:

Color Swatches:

• Adobe Color • Couleursapp •Bjango •Coolors •Paletton •Colllor

Color Name Tools:

Colblindor •Color-hex •

The last important step to be sure to do, if publishing your mood board, is to be sure to give proper image credit. With blogs and different social media sites allowing images to be re-circulated, you need to verify the original artist. This can take some time but is very important legally. Even with online publishing, ownership of the photograph or illustration, still lies with the original artist. Another important key to re-publishing work is to read that artist’s content policy. Some brands will ask just for recognition when posting, while others ask to be emailed directly. If you come across a brand that ask specifically for their work not to be shared in anyway, you can try to email them with your idea, but unless given permission, you won’t be able to. If you are a blog reading this, is your policy up to date? Do you have your policy written clearly for others to know your guidelines?

A great way to network when blogging mood boards, would be to email the artists or companies, and share with them your work. This is a great way to introduce yourself and potentially open a door to working with them.

Beyond the Wanderlust Mood Boards 6

Images via Kaboom Pics