You probably think those color mood board are pretty and fun to look at, but as a graphic designer that does brand design they serve a much more important purpose to us. I’m going to share with you why you need one and how to create a mood board with Illustrator.

free download: illustrator mood board templatea mood board with illustratorhow to createvideo tutorial

What is a Mood Board?

A mood board is a visual interpretation of what you want your brand visuals to be. You can use it for individual products as well. They guide you in a direction, as well as your designer, to the mood and vibe you want your concept to be.

Mood boards are worth the time to create a vibe to communicate with your brand designer.

Why Do You Need a Mood Board?

As a brand designer, for me, mood boards are going to help me identify the tone of your brand. Having these references ensure that we’re on the same page before any of the design process beings.

This way, if you’re unhappy with the direction of the mood board, we can reevaluate to make sure that everything up front meets the needs without wasting precious productivity time later when developing your brand identity.

As designers, we want to give you are expert opinions, so we only suggest what we think looks best for your business!

Trust your brand designer! You hired them for a reason!Click To Tweet

What Do Mood Boards Contain?

I usually have my clients run through an exercise for inspiration to get their mood boards going. I prefer that my clients use Pinterest and create a mood board that is private between the two of us.

Mood boards should contain color, shapes, images, typography, patterns, etc. It all should end with a cohesive feel to it.

My exercise typically starts with having my client pin the items to their Pinterest board that inspire them, reflect who their target audience is, and has a good mix of the items I request for them to pin. I also state that I do NOT want to see more than 10% of another business’ brand. Pinning isn’t about being inspired by another business it’s about setting the colors, tone, vibe, and type of their brand.

I have my clients curate their boards so they can play a major role in this process. They need to be able to see a cohesive feel similar to my board. And, they should focus on their client before their own personal wants.

When looking for items to add to a Pinterest inspiration board visit more than just Pinterest! Go to sites like:

Design Seeds
Subtle Patterns
Dribbble
Google Fonts

Non-Digital Ways to Find Inspiration

  • Magazines
  • Take Pictures When Out and About

You probably think those color mood board are pretty and fun to look at, but as a graphic designer that does brand design they serve a much more important purpose to us. I'm going to share with you why you need one and how to create a mood board with Illustrator.

You probably think those color mood board are pretty and fun to look at, but as a graphic designer that does brand design they serve a much more important purpose to us. I'm going to share with you why you need one and how to create a mood board with Illustrator.

Watch the Video Tutorial on How to Create a Mood Board with Illustrator

How to Create a Mood Board with Illustrator

Working with Illustrator makes creating your graphics super easy. I love the ability to have multiple artboards right there in front of me so I can create multiple mood boards next to one another. This allows me to make sure I’m creating something on brand with my client¬†but still give me enough differences to present to them. Let’s take the above video step by step:

  1. Start with a new artboard. When creating a new document I choose 1200 x 1800 px.
  2. Next, I use the rectangle tool to begin drawing out the areas of my mood board that I want to use as placeholders for text and colors.
  3. Follow the steps in my BrandMaster workbook (below) to create a curated inspiration board on Pinterest.
  4. Right click images in Pinterest and copy.
  5. Paste your images to your Illustrator artboard and resize just above each placeholder.
  6. Then, send your images to the back: Object/Arrange/Send to Back.
  7. Select both the image and the shape.
  8. Create a clipping mask: Object/Clipping Mask/Make
  9. Continue until you fill your board.
  10. Select colors for the color swatches with the Eyedropper tool, selecting color areas of your images.
Holly McCaig

About Holly McCaig

Hey you! I'm Holly McCaig and I'm super excited to help you love and ROCK your Etsy shop. I will help you have an amazing online presence so you can build a strong business and attract more customers to your shop. Let's do this together! Let's connect on Pinterest or Instagram, k?

About Holly McCaig

Hey you! I'm Holly McCaig and I'm super excited to help you love and ROCK your Etsy shop. I will help you have an amazing online presence so you can build a strong business and attract more customers to your shop. Let's do this together! Let's connect on Pinterest or Instagram, k?

6 Comments

  1. resonatecreations (@resonatecreates) on October 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    You have no idea what you have done for me with this video I just listened and worked on while playing your video and OMG! I know how to do this now. Feeling so blessed. Thank you soooo much for sharing.

    • Holly McCaig on October 14, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      I’m so happy to have helped!!!!!

  2. Jas on January 5, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I love this tutorial!! So easy to follow!

    • Holly McCaig on January 5, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Thank you! I love Illustrator so much!

  3. Amanda on January 25, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you so much! I am a fashion design student and my CAD classes require us to use illustrator (that most of us have never used before) to make mood boards, flats, ect with no instruction on how to utilize the tools provided in illustrator. This is so helpful and will be sharing with friends!

    • Holly McCaig on January 26, 2017 at 10:13 am

      That’s fantastic! I am hoping to do more Illustrator tutorials this year!

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