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How to create a moodboard in 5 steps

Unleash, organize and share your creative ideas effectively

Thinking about using a moodboard for your next creative project? You’re in the right place. We’ll not only explain what a moodboard is or why it’s helpful — but we’ll also teach you how to create a moodboard in just five steps.

Let’s get to it!

What is a moodboard, anyway?

Before taking the time to make one, it’s good to keep in mind exactly what a moodboard is. To sum up, a moodboard is a collage of various visual elements — including text, images, colors, and typography — that helps convey your project’s overall ‘mood’. Making a moodboard can help you convey your creative vision — whether you’re rebranding a company’s website, designing a new app or even renovating your kitchen.

What you include in your moodboard might depend on what you’re working on. If you’re designing a website, for example, you could create a moodboard showing the color schemes and typography you’re going for. If you’re directing a short film, you might add images of outfits and locations — as well as colors and lighting.

Why you need a moodboard

Beyond organizing your thoughts, creating a moodboard can also help you present your creative vision to other people — like teammates or clients. By clearly visualizing your ideas, you’ll likely have an easier time explaining them, requesting feedback and getting others on board.

How to create a moodboard in five steps

Now that you know what a moodboard is and what you can use it for— it’s time to learn how to make one. In a previous post, we mentioned that moodboards can be both physical and digital. Today, we’re going to walk you through creating the latter, which can be helpful for all kinds of digital projects — from product and web design to cinematography and film.

Here’s how to make a moodboard, broken down into five simple steps:

1. Know why you’re creating a moodboard

Creating a moodboard can be an exploratory process — so it’s okay if you’re not sure what you’ll include yet. One thing that is worth knowing beforehand is why you’re creating a moodboard in the first place. To answer the question, think about what your goals are for your upcoming project.

For example, instead of simply saying you want to refresh your company’s website colors— consider what was missing from the old color scheme. Was it costing your company website views? Did it not represent your brand’s mission? Knowing the motivation behind the project can help you create a more strategic moodboard.

2. Get a canvas

All you need to create a moodboard is a blank canvas you can easily add images and other visual elements to. And there are no rules on what kind of canvas you choose — so go ahead and use any canvas you like! It could be as simple as a PowerPoint or Word document you’ll add images to. But for a more creative-friendly experience, we recommend using a dedicated design tool.

In our Mac app, for example, you can create an Artboard of any size. You can then drag and drop images, resize them or even replace them. And did we mention the Canvas is infinite in size? That means you can make your moodboard as big as you need.

Creating a moodboard in Sketch is as simple as making an Artboard and dragging and dropping the images you want to include.

3. Gather the content you need

Ready to fill your moodboard? Add any visual elements that express your creative vision. Start by going through your own library of content. That could be images saved to your phone or computer — or stuff you’ve bookmarked on social media. And speaking of social media, many platforms also make it easy to discover new content without having to follow any accounts first.

Tip: If you’re planning on sharing your moodboard — remember to get permission for any images that aren’t yours and to give credit where it’s due.

Want more resources? Check out stock photo libraries. Unsplash, for example, lets you explore millions of photos you can download and use for free. And if you’re creating your moodboard in Sketch, you won’t even need to open a browser — just use our built-in Unsplash plugin and grab the images you want right away.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to photos. You could take screenshots of your favorite font types and add images of colors or textures. It’s a collage after all!

4. Arrange your content

It’s time for the fun part. Once you’ve gathered all your content, arrange everything into a collage. Like we’ve said, creating a moodboard can be an exploratory experience — so go ahead and arrange your content however your visual instincts inspire you. For example, you might want to group all the colors together and put photos in a different corner. You might prefer mixing all the different visual elements up — there are no rules.

How you arrange the content in your moodboard is up to you! You could group all the colors, words and photos together — or you could totally mix them up.

5. Share your moodboard

Planning to share your work with teammates or clients? Be sure to save your work — either online or as a file on your local drive. In Sketch, sharing your moodboard is easy. Not only can you export it to a wide range of formats — but you can also upload it to a shared Workspace. Just press S to save, select the To a Workspace tab and choose the Workspace you’d like to share your moodboard to. You’ll then also have the option to share your document using a link!

An image showing how to save a moodboard to a shared Workspace in Sketch.

Ready to share the moodboard you made in Sketch? Hit S to save, select the To a Workspace tab and choose the Workspace you’d like to save it to. Then simply share the link and your people can view your work in any browser.

And that’s it! Now you know how to make a moodboard in just five steps. If you’d like more inspiration, stay tuned for our upcoming article — we’ll be sharing some examples of moodboards next!