How to Overcome "Designer's Block" with a Mood Board

By Chris Romero , Mon, 05/16/2022 - 08:00

One of the most challenging hurdles to overcome is a blank page, a clean canvas, a new design. Even I had a hard time overcoming the flashing cursor in writing this article. It happens to all of us, we get a fantastic idea, but when it comes to sitting down and starting it, we can't seem to get the ball rolling. Before we knew it, we spent hours in a one-way staring competition with our screens. This mental roadblock can be a real killer of our most valuable resource, time. Something that can help us bust through this roadblock is a mood board. What exactly is a mood board? And, how can using one help us overcome "designer's block" to create something unique for our client?

Mood boards are a compilation of images, words, and textures that help inspire and communicate the feel or tone of a project. They're used as a jumping-off point for web designers, fashion designers, architects, and anyone who needs to get their creative juices flowing. That includes photographers. By collecting images and ideas related to your project, you can begin to see themes and trends that will influence your final product.

The great thing is that you already have all the images you need to create a mood board by the time you start to design an album for your client. Look to see your client's colors, theme, and overall mood of their event. Was it light and airy, moody, dark, whimsical, country, laid back, etc.? What was the font they used for their invitation? How did culture play into their day? Were there elements that stood out? Why did they pick the venue that they used? Was there something they especially liked from the venue? Compiling all of this information can help you see a cohesive vision for the album.

There are many different ways to create a mood board. Some people prefer to use software like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Canva, while others may opt for a more analog approach with magazines and scissors. No matter which method you choose, the important thing is to get started! As long as you have some mood board, you're well on your way to knocking down that pesky mental block.

Mood boards can also help you sell an album. By having your clients answer a few questions regarding design elements they plan to have at their event, you can quickly come up with a rough draft as to the book's overall look. If your client truly doesn't know what they want, you can help guide them by showing previous mood boards from past clients and their results.

Today, we have many social platforms to get ideas from Instagram and Pinterest, being two big players, plus Vision Art's gallery. Look at how Lynette from, Romero Album Design, drew her inspiration from one image that guided her whole design process.

What caught your eye with this image, and how did it inspire you to create the end products?

"It was the complementary colors and how it has a romantic draw about it. I knew that Vision Art had come out with a new green (Evergreen), and I felt that it would pair nicely with rosé (nubuck)."

Do you use mood boards with all your clients?

"I use them mainly with those who are having a hard time knowing what they want. It's a great visual tool for them."

Would you recommend photographers use mood boards with their designing process?

"Yes! I would say they are especially helpful to photographers who are new to album design and need some help in creating a product that stands out."

What are you waiting for? Start creating mood boards to help you and your clients with the design process!

P.S.- A great complementary tool to mood boards are swatches. Vision Art's deboss swatches are especially great for visualizing the end product, along with cover material swatches. Register and get one today if you don't already have a set!