Two Ways to Create A Killer Mood Board for Your Brand

Some people have a natural knack for creating incredible mood boards, but not yours truly! Mood board curation is a mad skill that I was NOT born with -- it took (and still takes) effort and practice. I've seen lots of questions from creatives in my social groups about how to create mood boards, so I thought I'd do a quick run-through today of the three tools/strategies I use to create mood boards for my clients that actually look like mood boards. 

Part 1: Curating Your images

Much of curating images for a mood board is pure intuition, but if you're like me, that intuition is something that develops with time and experience. The good news is that what you lack in intuition, you can make up for with strategies like these (plus, the intuition will come later - trust me!): 

Option #1: Curate a mood board inspired by a single anchor image. Find an image that really speaks to your brand and use it as the governing piece that builds out your mood board. If you're sitting here reading this like, um, Jess, what are you even talking about?! ...fret not! Let me break it down for you: 

  1. Choose your anchor image.

  2. Identify 3-5 prominent colors within that image. This will be your brand's color palette!

  3. Curate a collection of images, textures and patterns based on each of the colors in your palette.

Option #2: Curate a mood board inspired by your color palette. Obviously this option only works if you've already got a color palette to work with! If you don't, I'd recommend doing the extra legwork and curating your board using option #1. Here's the how-to for option two:

  1. Identify the colors in your pattern. For demonstration's sake, let's say they're navy, rose gold and blue-grey (like in the image above).

  2. Curate a collection that includes one photo, one texture and one pattern dominated by each of your brand's colors. I usually do this by using keywords that include each color one at a time (i.e. 'navy texture' or 'navy artwork,' etc.).

And regardless of which image curation strategy you use, remember this pro tip: Each and every one of your images should reflect your brand's mood! I mean duh. Come on. It's a mood board.  

How to create a mood board for your brand

Part 2: building Your Board

Once you've curated your collection of on-brand images using one of the above strategies, it's time to build your board. Photoshop is a great place to do this if you're comfortable with the program, but my secret mood board weapon is Canva.

Canva is a free online graphic design tool for designers and non-designers alike. It has buttloads of templates for you to choose from, or you can create your own if you're feeling adventurous! I personally took the time to design my own board templates, but that's just me. Once you've got your template ready, it's time to get to work. Here are my top tips for building your board: 

  1. Start by anchoring the board with your brand color swatches (and your anchor image, if you used curation strategy option #1).

  2. Balance your board by focusing on how you place colors and textures. Two rose gold images should be spread apart, rather than next to each other. Same goes for textures and patterns - give those some distance from one another, too! When you look at your completed board, it should feel balanced: There shouldn't be a specific color or a "busy image cluster" weighing down one area of the board,

  3. Reduce the noise by making sure that busy images have space from one another. I avoid placing two images with people or busy backgrounds side-by-side on my boards. Instead I alternate, using simpler images as "buffer space" between noisy ones.

I usually collect about 30 images for each mood board, and choose the best 10 to work with. I spend about 15 minutes adjusting the placement of images and color swatches within my mood board to achieve the perfect balance, and ultimately only 4-6 images make the cut to the final board.

BTW - If you need some extra inspo or want to share your own mood boards with the masses, I want to invite you to join (or snoop!) my Branding for Creatives Group Board on Pinterest! It's a collaborative board where brand designers like myself get together to share branding resources and KILLER mood boards we've made for our clients. Request to join the board if you'd like to collab with us, or just give it a follow if you want some regular branding inspiration! 

Peace, love & puppy hugs,


How to design your own brand mood board
Brand DesignJessica Strohm