Mood Boarding: Setting the Tone for Your Design


My heart is racing and my palms are sweaty. I have spent time and money preparing for this moment. Now that’s it’s here, I just want to run and hide. “Hello, old friend” I said to my blank computer screen. “Let’s get designing my personal holistic healing website, shall we.”

Creating a mood board is intimidating

It is one thing to create a mood board for a class. The teacher does all the heavy lifting for you. They tell you the background story, client dreams, their favorite colors. When designing something for myself, the interview goes something like this.

Interviewer: Tell me a little about yourself.

Me: I’m… Ummm… Human? Wait! Yes, human.

I: Ok? Where do you see your business going, say, within the next year?

Me: Oh, I’m not going anywhere. I’m very comfortable right here. PJ pants forever!

I: That wasn’t helpful. Like, at all. Here’s an easy one. What’s your favorite color?

Me: I can pick one?!?!?

I think even Katie Couric would hate interviewing me. But mood boarding is the first step of design for a reason. This step captures colors and themes that will be present throughout your design. Skipping this step puts you at risk of looking like everyone else.


But super easy when you are a cyber stalker

Since I’m incapable of taking an interview with myself seriously, I decided it would be easy to pretend I was someone else. In this case, I pretended I was my yoga teacher. She is one of my role models. She is one of the people who got me thinking of holistic healing as a profession. I would be so excited to do the work she does and help people improve their lives with yoga and alternative medicine. So, I slip into her shoes (not literally, even though they are super cute), and start over.

I start stalking her on Facebook. I take screenshots of the groups she’s joined or that are similar. I browse through all the pretty pictures other people post and make note of those that really capture my attention. With the list of groups, I start google searching images with the keywords found in group names, popular posts, or those I feel compelled to click on.


Capture and put images in an easy to access place

Now that I have a slew of images, I get the easy task of picking the ones that appeal most to me. Even though I’m designing with my role model in mind, I can cherry pick the images that resonate most to me. It makes sense, seeing that this is MY website, not my yoga teacher’s. I put the images in an easily accessible place that I can look at for hours on end.


I have found Pinterest and Google Docs to be great free resources to keep images in one place. I know others who create beautiful old fashion collages, with printouts and magazine clippings. Others use fancy software that will help extract colors into a grid and collage the images for you. But it is up to you and what you feel most comfortable working with.

Then Bam! You have a mood board

Now that I have figured out images that capture my goals and sentiments towards holistic healing, I can sit back and let my brain do what it does best – find patterns! I can start analyzing the main theme in my mood board and break it down into its components of color and typography.


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