The vocabulary list is here

The printable PDF is here

Mood boards are an excellent start for any project to explore different visual themes, styles, and concepts. Mood boards should be abstract and not too literal.

The mood boards should be explorations using pictures from the internet, your own photos, scrapbooks, sketches, anything you can find. Group those ideas into the five category boards. Once you started working, more ideas will come up and begin to form clusters. After that, you can see the main ideas, that’s when I move onto sketching for actual jobs.


Like a squirrel collecting nuts is to save for retirement, or a stylish car for a man’s perfume, or an antelope for African dance music, or a telegraph pole for connections. Any abstract concept you could be?


is the space feeling wide or narrow, spikey or round, plushy or hard, soft or hard, grid, or free-form.


an excellent way to find pallets of color is on, or a color palette maker from any picture, are the hues saturated or gray, bright or dark.


Some swipes could be real typefaces or pictures of signages. It could also be abstract shapes or details of a letterform; any form can give a hint to the font, style, or historical period.


Like other similar logos, buttons, icon styles. This mood board is most useful for company logos and websites. Lately, I have come to think that a designer doesn’t need to have a logo.



Sites to find pictures:
Japanese Design really cool inspiration, but also idea of rights make mood boards and explore other people’s boards, better than Pinterest

for UX/UI design:

or I have a folder with tons of pix I collected


• You can start with one of mine as a blank I use these to build mine, but you should build your own once you feel comfortable.
• This has a helpful template to download, but it’s always better to make your own

I start everything with a mood board. Life should be a mood board, like “where do you see yourself in 5 years”. This is the most fun part of the job, the time where you get more and more hyped up. Mood boards are a great tool to explore different visual themes, styles, and concepts. Make them from a “gut” instinct. Don’t try to explain or justify any decision. Work fast and don’t worry about mistakes.; at first glimpse at least.
They can be done using Pinterest, but I find that it is somewhat limiting and uninspiring. One cannot change size or relations as quickly as in photoshop. However, use Pinterest to search for trends and keywords, over time I started building my own library of images (you know, there really is an image library on 42nd St, I haven’t used it for a long time since the internet became one).
For example: on The Doctor’s Cohn website is a website with information for older people, They talk about health and retirement, for instance (also an excellent sponsor opportunity). So I chose the image of two squirrels gathering nuts for winter. In this case, I showed the client the boards, and they found it rather funny. Usually, I wouldn’t show clients the mood boards. It just leaves them confused. It takes practice to make or read them.
Through the design, I often take a look at the initial mood boards to help me make decisions and check if the ship is still sailing on course towards the goals.


Moodboards for

a website for Joan and Peter Cohn podcasts and archives of publications (

Moodboards for Ansikun logo

my own logo when I did a lot more video work and DVD, besides building websites. Ansi (nickname some people call me, and -kun is the Japanese “boy” pronoun.

Moodboards for boyzandgirls

This is my first company, I am trying to bring some ideas of it back (aka midlife crisis). Clients (promoters) would walk into the office with a “How are you boys and girls?”, and that became our company’s name.

Parson’s “Me” posters mood boards

from a Graphic Design class I taught at Parsons. I asked the students to introduce themselves by means of mood boards. This is the entire lesson plan.