When we think design, we think image, or function, but at the root of these is concept. Every design requires a strong, rich conceptual base to make any sort of impact, which of course means lots and lots of research is required at the start of any design endeavor, but that’s not all necessarily books and numbers. Mood boards are one of the best and most fun ways to start a comprehensive project.

A mood board is a collection of images, textures, colors, words; any sort of item that contributes to communicating a feeling or concept. Mood boarding is a great way to get out the messy, abstract parts of a design so that one has all the moving parts to continue to a more concise message.

It’s a great way for visual people to communicate freely and without pressure, and still deliver great ideas. There is no wrong answer or methodology. What I like to do is collect a variety of pieces and allow the client to assemble them, kind of creating a scrapbooking dialogue.

If you Pin, you already know a bit about mood boarding. Pinterest has given users the ability to virtually scrapbook and share things they love or are inspired by. Seeing a client’s pinboard is a great way to get on their level.

But to me, it’s the physical materials, and the act of cutting, placing & assemblage that I think ties that emotional knot between the maker and the concept. I spent a good deal of my college years collecting tons of paint swatches from home depot, remainders of neat packages or magazine pages, and general remnants and odds and ends that otherwise have no place to be seen.

The next time you have a head full of ideas but are at a loss for words, pick up a corkboard and start collecting! Your final product will be better for it, and you will have a little extra fun along the way to it.