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The Underestimated Power of Moodboards

Have you ever doubted your creative ability, or relied on others to provide innovative insights for a project or idea?

Moodboards can help you get inspiration, direction and all the innovative insights you’re looking for. Whatever the project, they help you work through mental blockers and are a powerful tool to perfect your vision.

What exactly is a Moodboard?

Moodboards (otherwise known as inspiration scripts) are traditionally a collection of visual materials (images, materials, pieces of text) used to evoke a certain style or concept and are commonly used by designers, illustrators and other creative professionals.

They are so much more than a fashion designer’s tool for an aesthetic office look or clothing piece. They are a compass of inspiration. They guide you toward your desired outcome, whether it be for starting a new and thrilling project or persuading a client.In essence, moodboards are a visual representation of a topic or idea whether it is as literal as a project or as abstract as a ‘feel’ for a design. It can include video, text, pictures, fonts, colours and any other ‘material’.In this post, we will dive deeper into what steps one should follow when creating custom moodboards.

The steps and tips I’m sharing with you have been compiled from my personal experience and I use them whenever I’m starting a new project or have an idea. As a matter of fact, the reason I’m writing this blog is not only to tell you why you should implement this tool into your work but to tell you how it helped me.In my internship recruitment process for Kaleidoscope, I was tasked with assembling a moodboard about myself using a tool called Miro. I had to describe all the elements that I associate myself with.

This tool allowed me to express my personal brand and aspirations during an interview without writing a 10,000-word essay, but rather using visual elements, keywords and textures to express myself on a deeper level than I thought possible. It was truly amazing and not to mention fun! (Another reason to scroll through Pinterest... Count me in!)

Here are three simple steps to create your own powerful Pinterest inspired digital moodboard:

Step 1 : Brainstorm your idea

The world is filled with uncapped possibilities of inspiration and insights that are open to you - if you just allow yourself to focus on what you want to achieve and ignore the clutter.

First, write down the outcome you’re looking to achieve, any elements (words, phases, information, or ideas) you already have and any available information.Next, brainstorm what your keywords are. These will be the main words, concepts or ideas that are important to the main topic. You’re going to use these to find elements that resonate with you and align with the project/idea/outcome you’re working on. Here are some elements you could consider:

● Images ● Quotes ● Fonts ● Videos ● Textures ● Colours ● Materials

Having the outcome and keywords defined will help you avoid any mental blockers and help keep your ideas fresh and relevant. Search through as many relevant sources as it takes to find inspiration and ideas. Some resources that are at your disposal are Google, Pinterest (a personal go-to), Instagram and various stock image sites - such as Pexels and Unsplash.

Whether your board is for personal use or a project for a client, elements of interior design materials along with colours and textures aid in creating a well-rounded moodboard. All these factors need to be justified and linked to the values within yourself or align with the project criteria.When you are in the early stages of ideating your key associations, use what you feel most comfortable with, whether it be a physical board, paper, sketch, program, tables, mind maps or even sending out questionnaires.

The way you extract the information will reflect through your moodboard and if done right will express your originality and unique vision.

Step 2 : Collect your inspirational pieces

Once you've let your eyes get a glimpse of the possibilities and a spark of inspiration appears, it's time to start fitting the fragments together. Start adding these elements to your board.

These sources of inspiration can be pieces that have caught your attention or something you think will captivate your potential audience. Remember to always reinforce the reasons ‘why’ by keeping all the elements relevant to the original project/idea/outcome. That's where the power of your board lies. It’s what ties everything to the main idea or outcome.

When assembling your sources keep in mind that texture and dimensions bring out different values and help others identify the journey you want them to explore within your moodboard. You can do this with different layers and angles. Here’s your opportunity to let your creativity show.

When collecting my pieces, I found I was getting distracted, as there was such a vast range of eye-catching content. To solve this, I set myself a time limit and reminded myself of my keywords. I added a column to my moodboard for any additional ideas that weren’t part of my keywords or main associations. This helped me not to overcomplicate my vision.

Once you start to lose focus on what the outcome will be, everything loses its depth and unique elements.

Step 3: Review your board

Now it’s time to simplify and refine what you’ve created.Yes, you might feel that you collected more than necessary and it's more a board of clutter than a clear vision of inspiration to draw a creative idea from. However, don't give up yet.

Take a step back and review the motivations behind each piece. Use the process of elimination to remove any piece that doesn’t fit the original project/idea/outcome. The goal is to distinguish a solid idea that can be practically applied or used as a prototype.

Don’t be afraid to chisel away pieces you identify with or to make it very simple. Sometimes, the simplicity of the idea adds a sense of flexibility and reliability. When you simplify your idea you allow for growth and learning.

When I was constructing my moodboard, I would feel as though I was repeating myself and limiting who I was because of how simple my moodboard was. However, I took a step back and realized the simplicity gave more depth to and highlighted the key aspects of who I was and how I wanted to be seen.

Now you can refine and polish your moodboard. Make sure you’re happy with all your elements, try small adjustments and iterate until you are satisfied with the final product.

Don't limit yourself to ideas that already exist - innovation occurs when you step out of the boundaries of your own thinking. A little imagination never hurt anyone.By following these simple steps to create a moodboard you’ll see why so many people have started to use moodboards to manage projects in their business and personal lives.
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