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Design: Creating a Moodboard for Clients

While much of my work involves being on-line and at a computer, there are plenty of moments where I need a physical display using paper when I am trying to find inspiration. When I have a new project for a client, I like to gather all of my magazines and books together and then make a mood board with all the different elements I’m thinking of using. To be honest, I love looking through physical copies as opposed to a screen. There is something about creating something with paper for clients that makes the vision of our project come to life in a totally different way. t is also a way to keep me organized and balanced with everything we do. I just finished writing my own book – Travel Home: Design With a Global Spirit that is coming out in September – and pouring through the manuscripts was one of my favorite parts of the process. The same is true for my design work.

Here are some suggestions for creating your own physical mood board and what you might include:

  1. Always start with a photograph that inspires you – these usually come from magazines for me. I might see a photograph of a wheat field and think the color is perfect for a room I am designing. Or I may find a room that has the right mood that begins to get me thinking about fabrics, style, and texture.

  2. Print it out on paper – I always like to add other items that can help bring my ideas together. For example, I will print copies of my Instagram photos and tag them on the board. Photos from trips, colors I am thinking of using, or artwork that resonates with me.

  3. I also like to add a few items like fabric samples, tassels, or beads, that help to evoke the look I am after.

Once I have completed the mood board, I move on to the elements that will go into a room. Fabrics and textiles that I might like, tiles, wood, and sisal options. I usually use a post-it on each item and where I might include it in the design – kitchen, living room, bathroom, or bedroom.

I often print a paper copy of the mood board that I’ve created on my computer, as well as the notes I have made and place them into my file for the client project. As I find other ideas, I rip them out of the magazines and place them in the file as well.

While I will continue to love my online community, I am also a paper girl at heart and I often need to physically touch and see my ideas as I create. I never have a shortage of books for inspiration, and I can’t wait for my own book to be released soon!


Photography by Claire Giffen

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