The Essentials of Making a Mood Board for Your Project | Artlist
Why your video project needs a mood board Why your video project needs a mood board Why your video project needs a mood board Why your video project needs a mood board Why your video project needs a mood board

Highlights

A mood board is an excellent pitch tool to quickly get across the style of your film in a pitch deck
Mood boards help each department of a film's production, from locations to casting to wardrobe and cinematography
Mood boards can be created simply and cheaply with free online apps, or you can use professional software

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Ever felt like your creative vision is all over the place? Enter the mood board—your creative launchpad.

A mood board is a visual tool for organizing and refining creative ideas. Whether you’re working on a film, a music video, or any artistic project, a mood board can help you focus your vision and ensure you sort out all of the elements you need in the pre-production stage.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what a mood board is and why it’s a crucial step in the creative process. By the end, you’ll understand how to create your own mood board and use it to elevate your projects to the next level.

All about mood boards

Think of a mood board as your project’s visual direction. It’s a curated collection of images, colors, textures, fonts, and other elements that capture the vibe you’re going for. For video creators, it provides a quick sense of the style and tone of the film you want to create.

Elements of a mood board

A well-made mood board usually features images, color palettes, textures, fonts, and other visual elements that showcase your vision. Often, creators will start with one idea in mind and develop it, and they build out their mood board. Visualizing your ideas is great for brainstorming and sharing your vision with stakeholders. They are also a great way to help you play around with concepts and overcome creative block. A mood board can be physical, digital, or even a video mood board with clips and animation.

Mood board examples

Mood boards can be as simple as a single-page collage of images and visual references or as complex as a multi-page treatment with scene direction and casting notes.

These are some visual references and the color palette from Roi Rom’s mood board.

moodboard color palette

mood board example

The final result: 

Mood boards are also a great way to plan costuming and set design.

Check out how the costume and set design in the mood boards above came together in this Artlist commercial.

what is a moodboard

how to make a moodboard

 

Benefits of making a mood board

So much of the creative and video creation industry requires teamwork. Whether you’re working on a solo vlog or a big-budget film, at some point, you will need to organize your thoughts and clearly communicate your vision.

In the film industry, a mood board is an excellent pitch tool for quickly conveying your film’s style to potential investors, cast, and crew. Through visual references, it demonstrates a clear vision. In addition, preparing a mood board can signal to investors that you are prepared to take on the task of achieving a specific vision.

Once you’ve secured funding for your film or project, a mood board is a quick visual reference to jumpstart production. And it doesn’t matter if you’re creating a high-end commercial or a short film. Mood boards inform various departments of the direction of the film. It is usually one of the first elements of pre-production created to inform many elements of the film, from production design to casting, locations, wardrobe, and cinematography. Moodboards are usually included in pitch decks but are also used throughout the pre-production process to inform the treatment and storyboards.

How to create a mood board

Here’s your step-by-step guide to crafting a mood board:

  1. Define your goal: Start with a clear objective for your project. What mood or aesthetic are you aiming for?
  2. Gather Inspiration: Collect images, colors, clips, and other elements that match your project’s theme. Try a YouTube or social media deep dive or sites like Pinterest for endless inspiration.
  3. Choose a platform: Decide whether to create a physical board or go digital. Consider tools like Pinterest, Canva, Adobe Spark, Milanote, or InVision for digital options. Each has unique features to make your board shine.
  4. Arrange your elements: Organize the collected elements in a way that tells a logical visual story. Play around with placement until everything clicks.
  5. Refine and edit: Review and tweak your mood board until your vision is out of your head and on the page. Don’t be afraid to make changes—it’s all about nailing that perfect vibe.

Wrapping up

A mood board is a key visual element to inform pre-production on any film or video project. It is used to communicate to various departments the look and feel of the film as well as specific elements such as cast, characters, location, lighting and cinematography. Moodboards can be created easily with free digital apps or more sophisticated pro tools. So use your imagination, and be sure to include this vital tool in your next project now that you know just how to create a mood board!

By following these steps and utilizing the right tools, you’ll craft a mood board that inspires and keeps your project on the right creative track.

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About the author

Jessica Peterson is a travel and documentary filmmaker with a background in journalism and marketing. She runs Purple Noon Productions from sunny Los Angeles. She has 20 years of experience producing content in 114 cities and 25 countries. In 2016, she directed and produced her own documentary about her then-home of Guam. Her clients include CNN, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Matador Network, and Tastemade.
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