Whether you work in digital media, logo design or even brochure design, if you're trying to get a big design idea across, a good mood board can be invaluable. With a mood board you can instantly convey a whole assortment of concepts and feelings that are central to your pitch but difficult to get across verbally.
So what's the best way to put a digital mood board together? There are a ton of tools to make things easy for you, so we've looked around and gathered together the best of the bunch...
Pinterest offers a surprisingly diverse collection of images to draw mood board references from. The big plus of using it is that a whole load of human users have done a lot of the curating and hard work for you, and the collections there are often themed better than any traditional image library. For more on Pinterest, check out our article Things designers and illustrators should be doing with Pinterest.
02. Image Spark
We've all paid our dues by trawling the likes of Getty Images, iStock and Shutterstock for images for mood boards. But this can be a painful experience, with the search functions not neccesarilly geared around more ambient expression.
Try using Image Spark instead: it's a means of converging images using the app's own mood board functionality. You can also (if they're set to public) snoop at other's mood board and image libraries.
Moodstream is a resource from Getty Images. It's a unique 'pull that lever'-type, idea-generation and mood board-assisting tool.
An image speaks a thousand words but finding the right image to capture a mood can be a right royal pain in the rear. Moodstream helps you out with this and is an essential creative pit-stop.
A handy app for the iPad that will help you with putting together mood boards is Moodboard by Any Tribe. You can add photos from your Photo Library or the web, send your moodboards to Twitter and Facebook, or share via email. You can also share editable boards using iTunes File Sharing, plus the latest version has support for Retina.
It's a useful tool although it does have a scrapbook feel to it. You may want to judge whether you use a board, a PDF or an app, based on the client and which medium suits them best.
05. Moodboard Lite
If the $9.99/£6.99 cost of Moodboard puts you off giving it a try, then give the free version, Moodboard Lite, a try. It includes all the features of the app, but limited to just a single board.
If you want to collaborate and share ideas with other creatives of private boards then Musepeak could be the tool for you.
Designed for professional use, the tool has a lot of great features, including complete privacy, daily re-cap reports, guest URLs and real-time conversation. Musepeak is a service that you have to pay to use; however, the developers offer a 'Try it for Free' option in order to see if it suits your needs first.
MoodShare is another helpful tool that will help you organise your creative thoughts, allowing you to create and share multi-user collaborative mood boards.
Its simple set up means that in just three steps you can easily develop inspiring boards to share with whomever you choose. Start with the search tool to find and save the best media online, including images, videos, sounds, colours and fonts. Then create and share your creations and get feedback in real-time with your team or client.
Olioboard is the perfect online app for creating mood boards for interior design. The tool's main purpose is to design a room in 2D or 3D and try it before you buy. But you can also use its preview of colour schemes and furniture choices to create an impressive mood board that you can save and share with friends and clients alike.
Similar to Olioboard, MyDeco is a mood board tool which is already packed full of home decorating ideas and furniture. You can start using MyDeco straight away but not registering means you're limited to the items in the site's library, so it's worth spending two minutes signing up. That way you can add endless items found on the web or saved on your PC to your boards.
10. Gimme Bar
The developers of app Gimme Bar describe it as 'The 5th greatest invention of all time'. We're not sure about that but it's certainly an extremely useful tool for organising everything you find and want to save on the web. Gimme Bar allows you to create collections of bookmarks, including the facility to take entire screenshots, which is perfect if you want to show your team or clients examples of similar styles or colours. This is a great app for keeping everything that inspires you in one place.
Currently in beta, Mural.ly describes itself as 'Google Docs for visual people'. An easy and user-friendly way for creative teams to think, imagine and discuss their design ideas, many of its 45,000+ users use the service to create mood boards.
New image sharing site Matboard is specifically targeting creatives as an alternative to the more mainstream Pinterest. Check out our in-depth review of what it has to offer.
Never considered using the Evernote notetaking app to create mood boards? Us neither - but this blog post by Julie Gomoll explains exactly how it's done...
14. Pattern Tap
A one-stop shop for user interface inspiration, Pattern Tap has more than 25,000 registered users and tons of designs to pore over.
This free tool for creating fashion collages enables you to create mood boards from text and graphics you find on the web. There's a good video tutorial explaining how to use it here.
Upload your images to this digital mood board creation tool and organize them into project files, then use the web editor to easily pull together design trends and color schemes. The mood boards you create can be shared on various social media sites and imported into documents and presentations simply and easily. A range of mood board themes are available to get you started.
What do you use for your mood boards? Share your tips with the design community in our comments section below.