Everything You Need To Know About Mastering The Mood Board

Apr 19, 2018


Before algorithms curated our lives, the humble mood board found its way into our creative ideas and ways of planning. Traditionally, mood boards are made from foam board, hosting a number of materials and subjects that were explored, extracted and experimented with. Although creating mood boards in a digital form may be easier and quicker through tools like Pinterest and Tumblr, the physical art of mood boarding can assist in honing your ideas, reducing the white noise of everything online. Regardless, mood boards in nature are very fluid and help you envision the next stages of your creative project. Seeking advice from our Head of Fashion Marketing, Dr Rachel Matthews shares her tips for bringing together multiple elements to create mood board that communicates and inspires. 

Hi Dr Rachel, thanks for chatting with me today. Tell me about mood boarding: what is it and why is it such a powerful tool when it comes to fashion?
A mood board is a collage or composite visual work, presented on a board, that is designed to communicate a creative concept. It is a communication device used across design and creative industries. A mood board has two important functions:

  1. It is a way to bring creative ideas, that may only just be taking shape in your imagination, into the real world.
  2. It is also a way to present focused design information to others—whether these are creative colleges, clients or business backers. 

What advice would you give to those wanting to mood board their ideas but have no idea where to start?
Think about the intended outcome of your ideas before you begin. Are your creative ideas about developing and interpreting a fashion trend? Or are they intended to be applied to other types of projects, such as store space or photo-shoot? Understanding the purpose of your mood board will help you select the right types of elements to bring your vision to life.


"A mood board is essentially a creative communication tool... they enable collaboration, discussion, and interaction about the direction of fashion concepts."


If you could give five tips for those wanting to mood board concepts around fashion, what would they be?

  1. Only begin the mood board process once you have found masses of possible images (each image needs to be relevant, but images also need to work together).
  2. Try to think of 3 or 4 descriptive terms (or keywords) that help capture the theme of your board.
  3. A colour palette is a crucial element of a mood board—select between 3-6 colours that fit with the mood you are hoping to create.
  4. Always use good quality colour images—avoid distorted or pixelated images as these will diminish the visual impact overall.
  5. Research and find a variety of images, don’t just rely on fashion images—look at architectural, historical images as well as art, landscape and nature forms that could also help communicate your mood.

When has mood boarding influenced you work in fashion marketing or changed the outcome of the final product?
A mood board is essentially a creative communication tool. In my experience, they have played an important role in sharing a creative vision with members of design teams. They enable collaboration, discussion, and interaction about the direction of fashion concepts—whether these are for fashion products or the vision for a marketing campaign.

What do you look for when it comes to a successful or engaging mood board?
A successful mood board needs to have a clear visual focus. This is achieved through the selection of strong images and a considered layout and composition. From a fashion perspective, it should also hint at the shapes and textures that will be included as well as a potential client or muse for the creative concept.

Dr Rachel Matthews is the Head of Fashion Marketing aCollarts. If approaching marketing in a creative way excites you the way fashion does, check out our course in Fashion MarketingApplications for 2018 intake are currently open!

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