Recent discussion about the benefits of doing speculative design comps for clients has me thinking: there’s got to be a better way to present design concepts that don’t result in wasted effort. One solution I’m fond of is creating a mood board, which is essentially a collage that captures the look and feel of the website without getting caught up in details.

What is a mood board?


The folks at 404 Creative offer the following explanation:

A mood board helps establish the branding, design components, typography, imagery, and color palettes that will be incorporated in the design.

Isn’t it just an extra step?

Content and structure are vital to building a website, but as a starting point, a mood board establishes a general design direction. Even though assembling a collage may not be the right start for every web project, a huge benefit of constructing a mood board is the ability to rapidly communicate styles in a medium other than flat-out design mockups.

Something I can really appreciate as a designer is the opportunity for the client to see into my process/vision. A lot of people in general don’t understand that there is a process behind design. Beginning the design process with a collage helps show the progression from conception to completion. By first offering a generalized solution like a mood board, we can hope to eliminate some of the frustration caused by multiple design comps and revision rounds.

Where should I start?

Mood boards can be used in all types of design, created digitally or otherwise. I prefer using them to develop a website design because it gets me out of the rut of looking at a monitor all day. I like to work hands-on, and looking to magazines and other materials for ideas offers inspiration that is truly different and unusual.

Where you you start when proposing a new design to a client? Share your comments below!