Our process: Moodboarding

What's a moodboard?

If you’re new to the term or have only heard it in terms of wedding planning, a moodboard is a collection of found images. When put together these images dance with each other to communicate our vision for your project.

Moodboards are how we articulate to clients abstract, nebulous concepts that words sometimes fail to capture. Think of the dynamics of movement, the nostalgia of 70s-style baseball stadiums or the distinct energy of an Alaskan summer.

All these feelings and ideas, captured and presented together. It's how we start almost every project.

Our nostalgic moodboard for Live Like Lou

And I get this question a lot, so let’s get it out of the way: But Leah, why don’t you just use Pinterest or Dribbble?

These platforms are certainly treasure troves for design inspo and I definitely use them.

But have you ever noticed a creepy sameness – or what we like to call “blanding”?

That's where the problem lies. There's a whole world of inspiration beyond these platforms, waiting to be tapped. Explore the physical and digital.

Getting away from the computer

In the summer of 2023, I took a 2-month breather away from home (and learned how to fish & live off the grid).

When I got home I felt inundated with inspiration.

Suddenly, I was creating moodboards for everything under the sun…

A brand design day? Done.

The upcoming internal photo shoot? Got it.

Oh, my sister's new apartment? Consider it moodboarded!

I find beauty in the strangest of places. A casual walk often becomes an spontaneous photoshoot. I'm that person who stops in their tracks to capture a zoomed-in, grainy shot of a fading sign or gets fascinated by a weird stain on the sidewalk.

My phone's gallery is a peculiar place. But what might seem like aimless photography to a stranger is my raw material of inspiration.

Alaskan Summer (Fireweed: IYKYK)

The method behind the madness

Organizing these shards of inspiration was chaos. Until I stumbled upon a brilliant method, thanks to Ali Labelle.

Sift through your photos and see what patterns and trends emerge. And let yourself notice:

  • Textures or patterns
  • Colors that pop up
  • Typefaces and typography (the good, the bad & the ugly!)

Observing patterns with help you dive into your subconscious and pull out the real insights. While I don’t include every photo in my final client moodboards, they each play an integral role in the design story and process.

So you’ve finished a moodboard, but where do you go from here? How do you stay fresh and fearless in your design work? How do you cultivate this practice?

We all go through natural ebs and flows of creativity. So it’s less about Eureka moments and more about a routine.

Seek the extraordinary, day in and day out. Review those random (read: bad) photos from your nightly walk.

Create your own moodboard from your camera roll. Find what excites you.

A moodboard isn’t just about putting images together. It’s about stringing together little tiny elements of inspiration to weave a story. Your brand’s story.