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Hi, I'm Raluca. I am an interior designer & the founder of Detail Movement, the place where casual interiors are born for people with stories to tell. Sharing industry knowledge through the Blog and inspirational visuals through Photography. Feel free to have a look around. Enjoy!

Mood boards - the vital part of any design process

Mood boards - the vital part of any design process

What is a Mood Board? Why are they so important to designers and why are they practically vital to any creative / design process?

I often get asked these questions from people who hear this word flying around in any creative field. I used to ask the same question when I was studying design, even architecture. And as some of you have written to me asking a little bit about this subject, I decided to shed some light on the matter! So, what is a mood board

A mood board is a collection of images, objects, materials, fabrics that you like and want to have as part of your project. It could also be created with the purpose to display a certain style / concept. It doesn't have to be limited to the examples above. It can literally be anything: flowers, magazines, pieces of fruits, fonts, books, anything that will help you explain your idea better.

This is why it is so important for any designer to put together mood boards as soon as the project concept is born. Think of it this way:

  • When you first get an idea, you create a concept. This can be the smallest drawing or doodle on a piece of paper/napkin, or even something inside your mind.
  • Next, you start looking for images that you like and that "fall in line" with the look that you want to achieve. For example, if you want to redo your Living Room in a more airy and Scandinavian style, you will not start to look for Art Deco objects, patterns etc., right?
  • After you gathered enough images, fabrics and ideas, you start to arrange them together to see what works with what. That, my friends, is creating a mood board.

There a different types of mood boards. You might hear different terms around you, but don't worry. In the end, they all have the same role - to evoke your concept / idea. So, let's explore a couple of them:

1. MOOD BOARD   

Showing the "atmosphere" of your idea; a certain feeling, emotion, sensation. This is usually the most general / popular one, and is often done by putting together stuff that you like, or appeal to you. It can involve all types of images: places, fabrics, models, clothes, food, anything that shows your idea. Take the examples below - one is a mood board showing a holiday feeling (it's easy to see that common elements here are flowers & geometric "flowery" patterns). The other is a mood board composed of different bits & bobs.

©Detail Movement Moodboard type general

©Detail Movement Moodboard type general

©Detail Movement_Moodboard

©Detail Movement_Moodboard

2. SAMPLE BOARD

Sample board usually shows samples of materials. This means hard finishes like stone, wood, metal, marble etc, but it can also showcase fabric and paint samples. Usually, this is the type of mood board that is most used by designers (when they work with clients). The reason is simple: the client can get a "feel" for the materials, not only visual but tactile as well. He/she can touch the samples and form a connection with them. CCL remember (don't know what that is - click to read here)? It's a huge game changer.

©Detail Movement - Sample moodboard

©Detail Movement - Sample moodboard

3. FABRIC BOARD

The same principle as the sample board with only one difference - displaying only fabric samples (instead of the fabrics and materials). Just like the sample board, the fabric board can be grouped by room or by piece of furniture. For example, if you only want to specify what fabrics will be used to dress up a bed in a bedroom, or you can go for the whole room and show samples for curtains, cushions, carpet, throws, armchair etc.

©Detail Movement - Fabric moodboard

©Detail Movement - Fabric moodboard

4. FURNITURE BOARD

Yup, you guessed it - it shows furniture, accessories, art pieces etc. It's the same idea. Just think of it this way: in a fabric or sample board, you show what materials you want to have in a room. With a furniture board, you are showing what pieces of furniture you want to have in that room.

©Detail Movement - Furniture mood board. UPPER LEFT CORNER: THE VA VASE BY ORGANIC, BOTTOM LEFT CORNER: THE FAUG STOOLS BY MATERIA, RIGHT: BEND TABLES BY DRAGOS MOTICA /UBIKUBI

©Detail Movement - Furniture mood board. UPPER LEFT CORNER: THE VA VASE BY ORGANIC, BOTTOM LEFT CORNER: THE FAUG STOOLS BY MATERIA, RIGHT: BEND TABLES BY DRAGOS MOTICA /UBIKUBI

5. COLOUR BOARD / THEME BOARD

Same thing, but on a colour category. However, it can be a combination of all of the above. Let's say you want to design grey coloured room. You can show furniture, materials, fabrics, pictures that only have grey in them. Of course you don't have to be literally about it. You can have the mood board to be around 80% about grey things and have 20% a different colour (let's say...yellow :D).

Or you can do a theme board like I did below. I selected the best pictures I had of colourful flowers from my last holiday trip. There are no rules about what you can and cannot do in a mood board. After all, a mood board shows an idea, a concept. It is like transferring the idea from your mind, and putting it to "paper", making it visible. That is the whole purpose of it. 

©Detail Movement Colour moodboard

©Detail Movement Colour moodboard

Designers use mood boards for the same purpose - to transfer an idea from thought to reality. By doing so, they can see what works and what not, where they need to tweak things and where they can improve the design. It also helps them to communicate the concept to their clients. It's basically the bridge connecting the designer to the client.

They may be other types of mood boards out there, depending on the industry. I am sure that the fashion industry might do things a bit differently then interior designers. Same can be applied for the Movie industry, or in Communication, or PR or any other field really. The bottom line is that there are no rules. You just go with the flow. And I think that is the coolest thing. No rules, no limitations to our imagination!

Have you come across anything different in your line of work? Is this something you would enjoy doing or would you trust a designer to do it for you? Let me know below, of leave me a comment on the Facebook Page (click on the name). Would love to know your thoughts on this!

Raluca x

All images that are credited as '©Detail Movement', are done by Raluca Vaduva for Detail Movement. All rights reserved. All pictures that are not my own, I credit them to the best of my knowledge & research, to their online sources. I do not claim ownership over them in any way.

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