6 Tools to Create Beautifully Designed Mood Boards

6 Tools to Create Beautifully Designed Mood Boards

Mood Board Appa: 2016Whoever said creativity loves chaos never met a web designer’s client.

It’s common to find hints of innovative anarchy in creative professionals; it could be the way they dress, the look of their office desk, or even their manner of speaking. But one thing you shouldn’t see is a chaotic persona shine through during a client presentation.

While creativity is easiest to conjure up when running wild (literally or figuratively), it’s important to find ways to hone-in inspiration, and organize it into digestible concepts. What good is your amazing idea for a client’s redesign, if the client doesn’t understand your creative vision?

That’s where mood boards come in.

A valuable process for web designers, a mood board is a collection of visual elements that are all related to a central design theme. Designers compile varied components, like photographs, colors, typography, gradients, etc. into one board. The overarching goal is to successfully convey the tone and position of your creative concept to a client.

To help you get started on your path to clear, creative communication, we’ve compiled a short list of the best mood boarding tools you can find online.

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  • 1. MURAL

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  • 6 Tools to Create Beautifully Designed Mood Boards: Mural

    Described as visual collaboration for creative people, MURAL was born out of CEO Mariano Suarez Battan’s need to collaborate remotely with an interdisciplinary team designing a video game. This online tool offers users a blank canvas, or the choice of several templates to start from. Drag and drop icons, post-its, shapes, and connectors, or select a photo from their extensive visual library (you can also upload your personal finds). Great if you generally want more collaborative online tools at your team’s disposal, as it includes access to several 'mural styles,' like empathy maps and UX workflows. (Free 30 day trial, starts at $29/month)

  • 2. Niice

    Mood Board Apps: NiiceAnother drag and drop interface, Niice really focuses on creating a simple, private, and noise-free creative space. Browse sample boards, and peruse through a stream of images that let you easily find other visuals ‘like this.’ After you’ve added visuals that fit your concept, play with color effects, add text, and change sizes to take it to the next level. Niice makes it easy to add team members to your mood boards and share visuals between boards, too. Install on Chrome, or download for Safari, and easily drag and drop images while perusing all corners of the web. (First three boards are free, starting at $9/month)

    3. The Matboard

    Mood Board Apps: The MatboardAt times described as Pinterest for designers, The Matboard is a social bookmarking hub that enables users to explore, share, and inspire creative work. The digital platform has a living feed, organized by theme, where users can like, comment, or ‘re-mat’ visuals, connect with other creatives, and of course add to a mood board. Sign up via Twitter or Facebook, and add your visual finds to a Matboard. The Matboard even allows you to filter for local contributors, create profiles, and follow other users. Add the ‘Mat button’ to your toolbar, and add visuals to your account whenever inspiration strikes.

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    4. Style Tiles

    Mood Board Apps: Style TilesIf you need a bit more of a structured environment to summon all your creative energy, Style Tiles might be your go-to tool. An online tool that specifically targets those pitching clients web design projects, Style Tiles takes mood boards to the next level. They claim to occupy the the middle ground between mood boards ('too vague'), and mockups ('too precise'). The template allows users to establish a direct connection with actual interface elements, without defining a layout; no dimensions or devices are implied, only that the design will be digital. Great for working with clients who have established brands, Style Tiles even includes a guide detailing best use practices.

    5. Dragdis

    Mood Board Apps: DragdisDragdis goes a bit further than your typical drag and drop application. The mood board tool helps you not only collect visuals, but links, videos, and text, too. Organize your Internet finds in customizable folders, keep things private, and collaborate with team members, who can see you adding and managing a board in real time. Dragdis even lets you tag other team members on the items you collect, and take notes so you don’t forget those lightbulb moments. You can access the tool on any device, too. (First five folders free, upgrade to unlimited for $5/month)

    6. Boards by Invision

    Mood Board Apps: InVisionAvailable with all Invision plans and free to try, Boards creates custom mood boards and lets you collaborate on visual assets. It has all the features you might expects, like built-in layout options that let you create visual hierarchy, and the ability to comment, share, and download mood boards. The fun stuff is the ability to sketch on visual content, collaborate on source file previews, and sync up boards with Dropbox and Google Drive.

    Did we miss anything? Tell us what mood board tools you love using in the comments section below!

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    About the Author

    Anastasia is the Editor of Shopify's Web Design and Development Blog. She’s a former journalist and freelancer, and loves chocolate stout beer.

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