How To Make a Mood Board with InDesign and Why I Love Mood Boards For My Business

Mood boards serve as a crucial element in my design process.  The collection of patterns, textures and images eventually become a style guide from which I build my client projects.  Essentially, a mood board is my visual sandbox and a place where I can openly experiment with the different facets of any given design project.  A mood board allows me to creatively show my clients a beautiful collage that represents their brand and vision.

How do I come up with the images for a mood board?

I want to disclose that the images I use on my mood boards are not my images!  Sure, some are - but I pull inspiration from Pinterest to build these boards.  There have been times I've used my own images but majority of the time they are not mine.

It's important to remember that the images I come up with aren't just pulled from a hat.  At this time of the design process I've worked with my clients on establishing these concepts through comprehensive questionnaires.  I am and always hope to remain a minimalist when it comes to designing.  I believe in the power of branding and setting yourself apart with a unique voice and visual aesthetic, but I also believe in simplicity.  I've turned down projects because I don't feel a connection to it and feel that someone else can do a better job to meet the needs of that specific project.  Growing pains with business comes with determining who is your best fit and who might not be.  With each project I continue to learn and develop my skills which is so exciting and I look forward to continuing on this journey as a graphic artist!  

If you want to skip all the text below please watch the video below!


Alright, let's make some mood boards with InDesign!  I'm going to show you how to do it.  And don't forget at the bottom of this email to download your 3 free templates!

Step One:  Open InDesign and create a new document.  I choose web option and usually make my boards 800px by 800px but you can make it however you like.  

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Step Two:  Find the Rectangular Frame Tool on the left panel.  These are the shapes you will use to fill with images!  Get creative!  I use the rectangular and ellipse tool most frequently.  This is where you have creative freedom to make your mood board however you choose!

Step Three:  Build your board with the frame tool.  Below you will see a pretty simple option as well as a more "complex" board.  Both are easy to do, you just need to play around with it.  Be sure to use the guides InDesign automatically provides so that you can make sure you are centered and spacing is correct.  You will know you are centered when you see the pink lines show as you hover the shape around the board.  If this is confusing, be sure to watch the how to video at the top of this post so you can see what I'm talking about.  The more complex board you see also has blocks that I made with the Rectangle Tool you will find on left panel of controls.  I use the Rectangle Tool for blocks that I want to fill with colors that correspond with the theme of my mood board and pulling those colors from images within the board.  To do this I use the Doppler tool.  I show you how I do this in the video.

Here are instructions for how to place the images in the mood board.

Step Four:  Open your InDesign File

Step Five: Use the black arrow and click on the object you want to fill.  For this example it will be the squares.  It will highlight.  

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Step Six: You will now place your image in your desired square.   To do this go to "File --> Place".  From there you will find the image you want to fill the space from your computer.  A shortcut to this is "Command D".  I prefer the shortcut!  

Step Seven: You will want to resize the image to fit the shape to your liking.  When you place the image it will look something like the image above with the orange border:  To make it fit properly you will want to go to "Object --> Fitting --> Fill Frame Proportionally".  

This blog post is heavy.  I hope it makes sense.  You can see the final results below from the templates and what you can do with them!  I love mood boards and once you get the hang of using them in InDesign, you will too!  There are other platforms to use but from all the ones I've used, InDesign is by far my favorite.  Adobe products allow me to do what I do as a business owner and each one has its own purpose for what I need.

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Emma Rose

Emma Rose Company, 6849 US-101, South Bend, WA, 98586