Inspiration Board vs Mood Board: Unleashing Your Creative Potential (2024)

Inspiration Board or Mood Board? Uncover the secrets to maximizing your creative potential and improving your design workflow.

Whether you’re working on your next project or simply want to motivate yourself to accomplish something great, starting and navigating the creative process can feel difficult — and oftentimes taxing. That’s where an inspiration board or mood board comes in handy! These tools are an effective way to collect your thoughts and explore your favorite visual inspiration to help you bring your ideas to life. While both of these options are beneficial to your creative process, it’s important to recognize when each of these is best suited for the project you’re working on.

Read on to learn more about inspiration boards and mood boards, what makes them different and how they can help you streamline the creative process of your next project.


Creating an Inspiration Board

What Is an Inspiration Board?

An inspiration board is a tool that creatives like artists, fashion designers, and even communication experts use to explore their inventive ideas and build a unique visual world. Also commonly referred to as a vision board or concept board, they’re a great approach for anyone trying to motivate themselves to achieve their aspirations.

How Can an Inspiration Board Be of Use?

An inspiration board is typically a useful jumping-off point for a design project. You can use this to showcase your upcoming journey and inspire yourself and your team to create exactly what you envisioned from the beginning. This helps everyone stay on the same page, as well as strategically focus their efforts on what is needed to achieve the end goal: making your vision a reality.

You’re essentially creating something that can communicate a message, along with the reasoning behind its importance and the desired outcome. This may feel like a lot to get across with something seemingly simple, but with the right inspiration and elements in place, you can guarantee your vision or concept is clearly expressed.

You might want to include stock images, quotes, words, or any other design element that will be useful to communicate your outlook. If you’re working in any creative industry like fashion design, or interior design, or are simply creating something to inspire yourself, this tool is an effective way to discover your most visionary ideas and get the most out of a project.

Designing a Mood Board

Inspiration Board vs Mood Board: Unleashing Your Creative Potential (1)

What is a Mood Board?

A mood board, on the other hand, refers to a collection of images, either physical or digital, that is arranged along with other materials, text, and design elements into a representation for a final project. These boards, traditionally physical boards, have now evolved into digital mood boards. They are valuable when creating brand designs, product designs, website designs, creative projects, and almost any other design venture you can imagine.

Why Create a Mood Board?

If you’re a creative professional, you can convey design ideas to clients through an arrangement of images on a digital board to help them understand your vision. Or, if you’re working with a team, a mood board can be a helpful tool to ensure you’re all on the same page in terms of style and direction.

You’ll be glad to know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mood boards, so you can make it practically any way you want. While every mood board is different, it’s always beneficial to include elements that communicate exactly what you’re going for. These aspects are typically similar to what you might include in an inspiration board, which consists of images, colors, words, fonts, or textures — but the options don’t end there. What’s most important is to incorporate what you find inspiring and what will support your idea throughout the process.

Is an Inspiration Board or Mood Board Right for You?

Inspiration Board vs Mood Board: Unleashing Your Creative Potential (2)

An inspiration board and mood board can feel similar in nature, but they have distinct characteristics that can help you determine which option is fitting for the project you’re going to design or work toward. First, let’s take a closer look at what makes these two similar.


Both of these options are optimal tools for a creative professional. They can be used to convey style ideas and are often used in similar fields including fashion design, interior design, and architecture. Moreover, mood and inspiration boards can exist in both physical and digital forms to present a collage of images, texts, and objects.

If you’re ready to start your next project and you’re not sure which one to use, understanding what makes them different is the best way to find what fits.


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Main Differences to Consider

The most significant difference to keep in mind before starting your design process is the objective of the board or project. Typically, a mood board is created to convey a feeling about a certain idea. They organize inspiration around a project and serve as a valuable resource along the way. You can gain a deeper understanding of the undertaking and refine a specific style before getting started. This presentation style balances creative freedom and coordination to set up the direction for the rest of the project.

Inspiration boards are generally less widely used. This is because inspiration boards are more specific. They have a greater focus on elements like details, colors, and texture to serve as a valuable building block for the project, as opposed to a mood board that concentrates on conveying a feeling. However, it can be incredibly useful when employed for the right project. These projects can also be design or architecture-based, but because they tend to have more definitive objectives, an inspiration board can act as a valuable guide.

They’re a beneficial tool that acts as stimulus material for a certain creative process or project. This means it’s essentially a starting point for a creative venture and aims to be more of a specific idea that can keep your direction on the right track. A physical mood board can even be used as a presentation tool for a certain type of project. It should include important details of your design project and mention the main resources.

Finding Visual Inspiration

Although these idea boards are used differently, they both need sufficient visual inspiration to truly flesh out a creative idea.

According to a report from Harvard Business Review, psychologists Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliot determined three core aspects of inspiration — evocation, transcendence and approach motivation. While these aspects will certainly be a part of your process, the best way to become personally inspired is to set up the optimal circ*mstances for a creative awakening. When composing an inspiration board or mood board, finding visual inspiration is a great way to get you there. But where can you find this inspiration when you need it most?

While creating digital design boards, there is an abundance of online resources you can utilize as support. Some of our favorite websites to help you discover inspiration for your next project includes:

  • Pinterest: A Pinterest board can help you store a variety of images that might be perfect for your visual direction. With a broad range of images, topics, and ideas to explore, you can browse through a seemingly endless page of inspiration. You can even search specifically for mood board examples to kick off your creative process!
  • Awwwards: If you’re looking for a new design concept or image of inspiration, look no further than Awwwards. This resource features some of the best design, creativity, and innovation you can find on the internet, and it’ll surely spark your imagination.
  • Abduzeedo: This website is a great option to trigger your next great design idea. Filter through topics such as branding, graphic design, editorial design, illustration, and more to discover the image or concept you’re looking for. You can craft a beautiful mood board with many rich visual elements through inspiration found on this site.

Keep in mind, the list doesn’t end there. Find the online resources that work best for you and when in doubt, get offline for inspiration. You can always come back to these online assets when you have a clear idea in mind. When you’re looking for inspiration around you, you never know what you might find that will spark your next extraordinary idea.

Considering Color, Text, and Other Design Elements

Finding visual inspiration is typically a great starting point for both an inspiration board and mood board, but considering how a host of other design elements will come into play is equally important to the process.

Your color scheme is one of the most important aspects of any project. With the right color palette, you can quickly steer the design proposal in a specific direction while setting the tone for any future decisions. Consider how elements of color can make your idea expressly unique — whether it’s for a mood board, design board, vision board, or any other option that supports your design concept. You could even include a color swatch or palette to convey your creativity — some color considerations include complementary colors, identifying hex codes for your colors, as well as dominant colors.

It’s important you don’t underestimate the power of text and work to display visual representations the right way. If you’re including text in your design board or digital collage, it’s most likely there for a reason, whether to emphasize a thought, or draw attention to something specific, or just as a background color. Ensure this text is pleasing to the eye while remaining readable for anyone who might see it. This can be extremely beneficial to guarantee your concept is coming across the way you intended.

After acknowledging the importance of color and text, there are a profuse number of other elements you can consider to make your idea or board come to life. Recognize how you can play with different patterns or textures to ensure you have a solid starting point or something to refer to as the project continues.

The culmination of these elements will become the foundation of your creative process and will be an invaluable asset along the way. Luckily, finding and collecting your inspiration, as well as creating your inspiration or mood board are powerful tools that can be simple with solutions from Kdan Mobile.

Navigate the Creative Process With Ease

The creative and design process can quickly start to feel overwhelming if you’re not exactly sure what direction to take. Keep in mind that the hardest part is always getting started, and an inspiration board or mood board is a great place to kick off your process. Once you begin exploring options and looking into visual inspiration, you’re likely to hone in on the idea, concept, or vision you’re going for.

According to Creativity at Work, only one in four people believe they are living up to their creative potential, but with the right tools, the process can be simple and you can feel like you’re producing your best work. Whether an inspiration board or mood board is the right move for you, NoteLedge provides you with the help you need for creative success.

With Noteledge, not only can you express visual ideas with mood boards but you can also make quick sketches and collages, take better notes and capture valuable inspiration along the way. This digital notebook for designers, content creators, or anyone who wants to get their creative juices flowing is an effective tool to find the visual inspiration you need and quickly bring your ideas to life.

Read more about Kdan Mobile’s digital solutions to boost productivity and unleash creativity, and once you’re ready to upgrade and streamline your creative process, download Noteledge today.

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Inspiration Board vs Mood Board: Unleashing Your Creative Potential (2024)


What is the difference between a moodboard and an inspiration board? ›

Here's a handy way to think about the difference between mood boards and inspiration boards: Mood Boards = feeling, conceptualized, psychological. Inspiration Boards = details, colors, textures, specifics.

What is the purpose of an inspiration board? ›

Sometimes called inspiration boards, mood boards can be used for creating brand designs, product designs, website designs, and pretty much any other type of design project.

What is the difference between a mood board and a sample board? ›

Sample boards are typically used later in the design process, once a design concept has been established and the designer has started to make specific selections. Mood boards are about creating a mood, while sample boards are about creating a reality.

What are two main purposes to make your own moodboard? ›

Creating a mood board to present to clients gives them an idea of what the finished product will look like and allows everyone involved to agree on a direction before too much work is done. It also helps avoid any misunderstandings that may result from trying to describe a design concept verbally.

What is the difference between a mood board and a visual board? ›

Unlike vision boards, which focus on goals, mood boards encapsulate a vibe, a feeling, or a theme you want to embody in a particular area of your life, be it a creative project, a room design, or your style.

What are the disadvantages of moodboards? ›

Moodboards lack realism. By piecing together static images from different sources, the interior designer is unable to bring all of the elements together to make the space feel realistic. Continuity can be a problem and cause the customer's imagination to run wild.

Why do mood boards matter? ›

Designing a mood board allows us to understand and creatively communicate with one another through visualisation. Whether you are consulting with interior designers, builders or even clients, the easiest way to achieve your vision is by bridging the gap between – expressing the ideas and actualising the ideas.

What is a mood board and examples? ›

In short, a mood board is a collection of content to translate an idea or thought visually. A mood board sets a specific tone for anything. Whether you're building a new product, a campaign, or a brand, a mood board can communicate ideas using shared design references.

What are the two types of mood board? ›

Mood boards can be created generally, in two different ways; physically or digitally. A mood board in the physical sense looks like a collage of images, fonts, color schemes, etc.

What is the difference between a mood board and a concept sheet? ›

Mood Board vs Concept Board

You might use both these terms interchangeably. But there's a significant difference between a mood board and concept board. A mood board conveys the general feeling that you get about a design idea. However, a concept board provides the stimuli or inspiration to start the creative work.

What is the difference between a mood board and an inspiration board? ›

Inspiration boards are generally less widely used. This is because inspiration boards are more specific. They have a greater focus on elements like details, colors, and texture to serve as a valuable building block for the project, as opposed to a mood board that concentrates on conveying a feeling.

What is the goal of a mood board? ›

A moodboard is a visual tool that helps you communicate your design concepts and ideas. It's a curated collection of images, materials, colour palettes, text, and other elements arranged to evoke a particular style or feeling.

How to make a mood board for life? ›

So when you're thinking of images and words to include on your moodboard, keep all the key areas of life in mind: friends, family, work, home, relationships, wellness, body & mind, holidays & hobbies. No good making a beautiful moodboard if you never see it! Put it somewhere you will see it most days, if not everyday.

What are motivation boards called? ›

Also called a goal board or dream board, this collection of images can be physical or digital. Vision boards are highly versatile tools. You can use them as a manifestation method for your personal goals or professional goals. Vision boards focus on creating a visual representation of a personal vision statement.

What is the difference between a mood board and a style frame? ›

Mood boards generally just scratch the surface of what your animation is going to look like while style frames are where you actually start designing your animation elements. At VMG Studios, we typically deliver two unique style frame designs to a client based on feedback from the mood boards.

What is the difference between a mood board and a swatch board? ›

Swatch boards are very similar to mood boards, but are more geared towards the reality of the space. Some of the images in mood boards might show neon colors on the walls and vibrant patterns in the flooring, but these do not always reflect the client's wants and needs.

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