Kay Lee Davies/Photodisc/Getty Images

Every design begins with a mood board, which is basically a collage used in the design industry to convey the project to a potential investor or even just get the designer's ideas organized. A designer will be told to make a mood board with certain colors or a specific theme, and the designer creates the line around the board. Fashion magazines use mood boards to convey the next season's colors or display cutting-edge design elements. Magazine editors also use mood boards to pitch story ideas for upcoming issues. Making a mood board is a great way to discover your personal design aesthetic or get your ideas organized for presentation.

Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Flip through magazines quickly, tearing out images that catch your eye right away. Don't stop and stare. If you look at anything too long you can convince yourself you like it.

Take the images you collected and begin sorting them by color and feelings. Dark colors can mean a fall collection, while soft pinks and white are spring. Figure out what kind of a collection you want to design by letting the images lead you. If you pulled out mostly sunny, bright images, it's time to design a summer collection.

Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images

Place images on the card stock and begin playing with them. Move them around, cut them out, play with the negative space. A dynamic layout is one that keeps the eye moving. If you have a pop of red on the left, compliment it with a splash of red on the right; this keeps the eye moving back and forth across the page. Arrange powerful images in triangular positions, this also keeps the eye moving.

Use a glue stick to attach your images to the card stock. You can also use rubber cement.

Use the mood board as personal reference or pitch your design idea to a big shot fashion designer.


Don't use only fashion magazines. Old National Geographics are filled with brilliant colors and moving images perfect for mood boards.

Lots of designers draw from architecture. Incorporate buildings or furniture into your mood board for dynamic contrast.

Mood boards are about creating inspiration, so have fun.

Don't over-think it; trust your first instincts. Sometimes one single image can be all you need to tell the story you need to tell.

Don't be too literal. If you present a picture of a dress, the only thing you'll be able to design is that dress. Make sure your board tells a unique story about the new garment you are designing.