Making and drawing inspiration from moodboards forms a vital part of my design process. As a visual thinker – working in a visual medium, I generally like to move my client communication into an image-based format as soon as possible.

Moodboards are a fantastic way to create a shared visual understanding between yourself and the client. They can draw from a variety of sources including film, art, illustration and street photography – reminding you both that ideas come from all kinds of sources.

Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be useful to outline how I get the most out of working with moodboards – giving a framework for both designers and clients to use them more effectively.

Consider all sources

There is a wealth of images on Pinterest (my preferred platform) but it’s not the only source to consider. If you can’t quite find what you are looking for, keep your eyes open in the wider world and feel free to share videos or screengrabs – or your even own photographs. That interesting texture, pattern or scene might just be the key to unlocking your own unique design.

If they are up for it, it’s a good idea for clients to contribute to the moodboards too. It will make the creative process more collaborative and give the client a greater understanding of how the project will evolve.

Moodboard example 1

Be specific

What do you find powerful about that image? The layout, the typography, the colour palette? How might this apply to the project? Communicate this by utilising the comment section below the image in Pinterest, or by adding notes however you can on another platform.

Less is more

Don’t crowd out the moodboard with too much of the same imagery. If you are really keen on one idea, for example, a distinct colour palette – make this clear in the comments – instead of adding loads of the same kind of image.

Moodboard example 2

Free your imagination

Don’t pre-judge yourself on what you are adding to a moodboard. You may not see how an image can relate to the project – but it may spur another thought about design ideas. Trust your instincts and enjoy this stage of the project where anything is possible!

Equally, keep an open mind about what others add to the moodboard. Great art often happens when we collide with unexpected stimulus – so allow yourself to see what it sparks in you.

Let go 

Don’t get too attached to particular images on your moodboard. The style may not work for your project – and getting overly fixated on existing work will hold you back from creating something unique. Understand that letting go of your original inspiration will allow your work to grow.

Moodboard example 3

Find your own way

This is my basic process for working with moodboards. As with everything I share, it’s a starting point. See what you’re comfortable with, what challenges you – and find your own fit!

To discuss your next graphic design project, feel free to drop me a line at