Website, user experience, and user interface designers rejoice! Finally, a guide dedicated to creating mood boards for website or app design is here.
Designing a beautiful website from scratch is not easy; it takes an artist’s eye to piece information, branding, and design elements together in a visually exciting design project. However, while starting from a blank canvas is difficult, designing a mood board is an efficient and easy method for jumpstarting the design process and achieving the dream look for your website. We’ll share how you can take design assets, such as a logo, colors, or fonts, and turn them into design styles that captivate viewers and leave an impact.
Let’s overview what a mood board is and how using one can help you design a website that will stand out.
What is a Mood Board?
A mood board is a collage of images and design assets that are used to convey a central concept and inspire ideas. A mood board helps establish a smoother transition into the website design process by gathering all the inspiration and visual identities you desire to utilize within site and placing everything in one space.
This produces a “board” of creative possibilities, flowing along one aesthetic that will be conveyed on your website or preferred digital platform. Rather than start by designing from a blank canvas, a mood board gets your creative juices flowing and points you in the right visual direction.
Some elements that might be depicted in a mood board for a website include practical elements such as sketches, color swatches, fonts, mock-ups, images, and more. While digital boards have become popular in more recent years, these boards have actually been utilized by creative professionals for generations in the form of foam boards at design studios.
Why You Should Create a Moodboard for Your Site
As we designers know when we begin a new client project for a site redesign, we are introduced to the current website, an assortment of color palettes, the branding, and our client or partner’s vision for reshaping the site’s design. Additional elements of importance include the information and content that must go onto the site, as well as the messaging that must be conveyed to the audience, and the overarching theme. Taking all these various elements into consideration, designing a website can be compared to solving a math equation. It is project planning all the way through.
When solving a large algebraic equation, what is the one step that nearly all mathematics professors tell you not to skip?
We need to write all the information down first, prior to attempting to solve the solution of better user experience.
Well, although a website is more beautiful, in this case, it is an equation all the same. And, creating a mood board for your website is the same as gathering all the information in an equation before solving the answer. When we perceive mood boards in this manner, the answer to our question, “Why should you create a mood board for a website?” can be answered simply:
1. Mood boards save time and effort
By taking the time to lay out the branding, vital information, and creative ideas ahead of time, designers will save time in the long run. By laying out all design elements in one space, designers will spend less time searching through their laptops and piecing together design assets during the design process. Instead, they will be able to quickly turn to their design mood board for the necessary visual identities, for which mood boards will guide you in choosing the right graphic design tools and UX solutions.
2. Mood boards as a quick source of inspiration
In addition to saving the designer time by efficiently laying out all the assets in one space, mood boards similarly serve as a quick source of inspiration.
Mood boards are filled with interesting images and design elements that the designer would like to use as inspiration for the website. Having a mood board that communicates a design aesthetic allows designers to stop and look at it any time they experience creative block. Viewing the mood board will allow them to have a burst of creativity and ensure that they are designing along the brand guidelines.
3. Mood boards help communicate design plans amongst teams
Aside from saving designers time and serving as a source of inspiration, website mood boards also help communicate design plans amongst teams. If you have ever worked on a creative team of designers for a site redesign, you understand how it can often be complicated to make sure that everyone is on the same page for the design.
While some designers have agreed to utilize the Poppins font and a style pink of icons, other designers might disagree throughout the design process, and prefer the Montserrat font paired with blue icons.
By creating a mood board before the design process begins, the designers can agree upon the stylistic website elements before the actual design process begins. This approach facilitates smoother communication amongst the team of designers and creates a mutual understanding of design elements and aesthetics.
4. Mood boards set the tone and personality
While these advantages are all true, the greatest benefit that mood boards provide for website designers is that they set the tone and personality of the website.
To non-designers, the terms “personality” and “website” utilized together in a website can seem a bit odd. Websites serve the basic purpose of communicating a digital presence for an organization, business, or identity, so how can they have a personality?
In reality, establishing the tone and personality of the website is the most important task of the website designer, and this feat can be the most difficult to achieve.
The tone of the website is the attitude that the audience associates with the website, while the personality is the emotion that the website conveys through the implementation of creative ideas.
Through the combination of color scheme, font, visuals, shapes, and more, a website can leave an audience with an impressionable tone, giving off a specific visual language and personality. A mood board conveys the inspiration that designers need to make sure that they are conveying the correct tone and personality of the brand through the website’s visual design.
For example, a business that sells cookies would likely want to give off a light and fun tone with a playful personality, whereas a brokerage would want to convey a serious tone with a professional personality. The design elements utilized on the designer’s mood board should also convey these tones and personalities. By using the boards for inspiration, the designers can establish the correct visual idea, tone, and personality for the site.
Elements of a Website Moodboard
To ensure the coherence of your website design, it is essential to apply UI design tips and create a mood board using the same elements used on the website. Here are some examples of how visual elements should be utilized on the mood board:
- Implement current business or organization branding: The current colors, fonts, and logos used by the company should be incorporated throughout the website.
- Choose from an assortment of color palettes, including primary and secondary colors: These are the colors that will be utilized for the new brand guidelines to convey a mood or feeling.
- Determine the main “call to action”: The action you want users to take becomes the goal for the business or the organization that you will use throughout the site. Common CTAs are “Shop Now,” “Call Us Now,” and “Book a Demo.”
- Utilize the newly chosen fonts: These are the fonts that will be utilized in the new branding. A small variety of fonts should be chosen to call attention to important information, including a typeface for headers, titles, and paragraphs.
- Try out styles, treatments, and layouts of a variety of typography: Using the newly chosen fonts, write out the messaging of the site in different styles. Change the writing of the messaging by increasing the space between letters or by writing in different font colors, sizes, and styles.
- Insert buttons: Add images of the buttons you will utilize on the website. Play around with a variety of shapes, sizes, roundness, and colors until you find the style of button that fits the tone of your website.
- Add images: Choose pictures or stock images that convey the purpose and messaging of the business or organization that you are working with. Then, edit them with a variety of styles, such as gradients, filters, shape cutouts, and shadows.
- Create graphics and illustrations: Browse through the different styles of illustrations, icons, and drawings that you would like to use on your website.
- Use patterns and textures: Patterns and textures can serve as the background of a site, or in shapes throughout the site.
- Find words that hold meaning: Various adjectives convey the tone and personality of the website.
Website Moodboard Examples
Example 1. Sustainable Fashion Website Mood Board:
Example 2. Tropical Website for Vacation or Nutrition Mood Board:
How to Create a Website Mood Board
Now that you understand all that a website mood board is, how it benefits website designers, and all the components that go into creating one, it’s time to compose one yourself.
NoteLedge is an app that works like a digital notebook, allowing designers (like yourself!) to quickly capture inspiring content in one place. Use NoteLedge to compose a website mood board that you can share with your design team and client, or upload onto Pinterest or Behance!
To use NoteLedge, all you need is a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. Download the app once you have your device and start creating your website mood boards!
While NoteLedge is free, NoteLedge Pro is an upgraded version of the app which features advanced abilities for creatives such as syncing and sharing work with peers. Pro also lets you have access to all creative materials like brushes, a color palette generator, and handwriting tools with unlimited PDF exports and notes. Using NoteLedge or NoteLedge Pro, follow these steps to create your own website mood board in minutes:
1) Gather Your Ideas Purposefully
When starting your website mood board, you should have some design elements organized already based on your client’s goals and their current brand. Most of the time, you will have the current logo and branding of the business or organization you are working for, as well as your client’s ideal website look and image in mind. In order to flourish your ideas, you can combine integral elements to the mood board, as well as your outstanding logo, created by the logo-making tool.
If you are starting from scratch, you should explore and gather as many designs, color palettes, and styles instead. Websites like Pinterest, Dribble, and Behance are good places to start.
2) Decide On Your Color Palette Carefully
In the next step, you should choose a color scheme to rotate your website mood board around. You should choose color swatches that complement each other and match the business or organization you are building the mood board for. For example, a website being built for an interior design agency may use more neutral colors, whereas a coffee shop might use warm browns, and a marketing agency bright pops of color instead.
Have a logo or image already that incorporates colors you would like to use in your color palette? NoteLedge has a feature that will extract colors from any image, and generate them into a new color palette! You can use this tool to play with multiple colors and color palettes until you find the right one for your website.
3) Add Your Fabrics And Textures Meaningfully
Add fabrics and textures that you plan to utilize in the background and photos of your website. Since a website is digital and flat, it is smart to use photos that demonstrate texture. This will also allow the audience to have a better idea of the products or services you provide.
4) Insert Your Graphics or Illustrations Deliberately
Add the graphics, icons, and illustrations you would like to use as visual assets on your website. These graphics will be used on the website, and include buttons, icons, design elements like lines and patterns, illustrations, and more.
5) Revise the Mood Board with Your Team Strategically
Working alongside your design team, add, eliminate, and swap out visual elements from your website mood board until your team is satisfied. Working with a team of designers can be difficult, but as said before, it is better to have elements agreed upon in the initial design stages rather than later in the design process. Utilizing input from team members is actually a great strategy to reach the best possible design outcome for the website by taking into consideration multiple perspectives.
6) Communicate Your Design Concept Beautifully
The last step is all about composition. Does your mood board tell the story of your creative process, and how does it do so? Be sure to include initial concept ideas such as very basic sketches and actual materials, all the way to photographs of the final design.
By including sketches, an effective color palette, strategically placed photographs, a theme written out in a common theme, and captions, your story and idea of your design will be told properly for your design team, and for you. However, make sure these elements you included look good together, and compose a beautiful aesthetic. When all of your complex styles come together to form one actionable mood board, you are on your way to designing a beautiful website with an attractive interface design.
You can then present this beautiful piece you have created with these actionable mood board tips to your target client, or share it to design team members to view.
Let’s refresh what we have learned. Creating a mood board for a website, UX, or UI is helpful because it saves time in the design process, serves as a quick source of inspiration for designers, helps communicate ideas among team members, and sets the tone and personality for the website.
Design elements that should be included in a website mood board include color swatches, logos, fonts, patterns, textures, images, messaging, and more.
Website mood boards can be composed on any digital design platform, however, a smart choice is NoteLedge. NoteLedge is an app for designers with the tools to efficiently and creatively design a mood board. The app is basically a digital notebook with even more ways to get creative than with a real notebook!
Overall, taking the time to design a mood board for a website can only improve the design process and the final product. It would be to any designer’s advantage to design a website mood board prior to beginning the design process.
Get started on your NoteLedge website mood board today, and post it to social media to share your aesthetic with the world. Tag us @noteledge so we can see your beautiful digital website mood boards!
To get started, download the NoteLedge app for free.
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