Fashion mood board (Ideas & apps to make it yourself)

Get inspired to create your own fashion mood boards with practical tips and app recommendations.

A fashion mood board is a visual tool used by fashion designers, stylists, and other fashion-related professionals to gather and organize ideas for a fashion collection, editorial shoot, or any other fashion project. It is a collage of relevant images, textures, colors, fabric swatches, and other visual references, made to gather and display all the inspirations that will result in a final creative idea. It can be a physical board or a digital file. 

fashion moodboard

And making a fashion moodboard successfully is one of the initial steps in the creative process of making clothes in the vision you have.

The Whys of a Moodboard

Mood boards are valuable tools for conveying ideas, exploring concepts, and guiding the design process in the world of fashion. Fashion aesthetics and the overall theme that the designer has in mind are maintained with the help of the collage of images, swatches, etc. A mood board is similarly used in all kinds of creative projects in designing interiors of houses, movies, photography, and for the images and colors for a brand design.

The basic idea behind a mood board is that we tend to process visual information better than just words. Just look at how many youtube videos and memes one sees every day (me, not you). So it is a better way to communicate with your boss, your client, or yourself.

It brings your idea to life in a tangible way. So you have a clear idea of what to look for, buy, etc. It is all out there. So very useful for fashion stylists and designers.

You get a clear idea of what to look for, where to shop etc. Finding the right stores and brands that align with the style you have in mind becomes easier.

It is also easy to share the mood board. If you are making it on apps, they have share buttons for easy sharing.

And when it is shared, they can build on it. Connections between the ideas presented there are the best thing about a mood board, and seeing this we can come up with new insights. 

How to make a fashion mood board

You need to generate ideas from a concept, gather relevant pictures, and create a mood board that accurately represents your vision.

Step 1. Zero-in on a concept

First and foremost the concept of your mood board has to be finalised. This may be based on a design brief the fashion designer or the stylist got on his job or his own concept. A fashion designer does not conceive his/her idea from a vaccuum. His experiences, learnings, and personal passion are the building blocks behind each of his creations. So taking inspiration from these, he will have an idea of what to make or at least a basic idea on what to base his new design on.

Your concept can be inspired by anything in your life. If you keep a journal of your travel, check it out. Or check your photo folder for something that impressed you. Brainstorm with your friends if you cannot come up with one or browse Pinterest, till you get many ideas.

Business strategy and the purpose of the design project as well as trend research and industry study are very important when you come up with a concept if you are doing the mood board for a commercial project.

To create a mood board, you need to clearly understand your or your client’s goals, preferences, and style. You can start by using questionnaires to get to know your client better. These questionnaires will help you gather information about their favorite colors, preferred stores, budget, body type, and more. This knowledge will be the foundation for your mood board.

If you are a fashion stylist and you have a client, give out a questionnaire to be clear about the concept in a concrete way- Ask questions about the preferred style, favorite colors, budget, and body type. And also if they have a shop preference.

Step 2.  Idea generation from the concept

The idea generation part is a very important element in your mood board.

The idea generation is called mind mapping in the field of psychology. According to wikipedia, a mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information into a hierarchy, showing relationships among pieces of the whole.

fashion moodboard

Mind mapping is used to visually generate, organize and represent ideas. It connects all different but related ideas together.

When you make a mood board this way, you can come up with better creative ideas, as the interconnection of the concepts represented sparks our creativity and makes us innovate.

From the concept, bring up associated words that are related to this concept. Don’t restrict yourself – just let your imagination take wings and think about everything and anything you know about the concept.

For eg, when I think of grunge, the words that come to my mind are grunge music, slouchy silhouette, doc martin boots, ripped, severely distressed jeans, flannel shirts, black or dark makeup, messy hair, black band t-shirts……

Try to involve different aspects of the concept, age group, emotions, gender, category, color palette, relevant facts, and industry trends. Note down any associations or thoughts that arise. Write everything that comes to your mind when you think about a particular concept.

Now you can select a couple of important words from these related to the idea you have.

Trend research is very important for a fashion designer. Your idea should not be out of fashion.

To explore these ideas visually, create a mind map (the ideas are better arranged in a hierarchical order)

if the objective of your moodboard is just to give you an inspiration, you may just want to explore the related ideas and not go into specifics.

Step 3. Get the images

fashion moodboard pictures

You can look for images that match the style you want on Google or Pinterest. Instagram is a great resource for trending photos.  You can also use websites, such as your favorite stores, and fashion websites like, and or cut out from your favourite fashion magazines. 

Collect all images related to your ideas. You can save those photos and create folders to keep yourself organized. Gather a variety of shapes, textures, colors, and materials that represent the words and the general concept

Print out the key pictures that represent the elements and themes you want in your mood board if you want a physical mood board. Otherwise, save in a separate folder.

Step 4. Make illustrations

You can now make a rough sketch of one aspect of the design or the whole design. The fashion illustration should cover details like silhouettes, and construction details.

fashion illustration

Take a photo and save it to your folder. This can consolidate your design.

Start 5. Select a fashion mood board website and apps


Checkout the moodboard app of urstyle.

urstyle moodboard

You can find details of this image found on trendme here. And create a beautiful one yourself.

Glamoutfit app

Checkout the app here.


If you are making a digital mood board, You can use the free version of Canva. Canva is the godsend of all creative people. I use Canva several times a day and I bet so do billions. It is the most user-friendly tool for creating fashion mood boards.

The best thing is that it has pre-designed templates which are already there but if you like to start on your own you can do it too. Simply upload the photos you’ve collected and arrange them on your board.

There are countless designing options in Canva – even text-to-image features, background removal, and image enhancement, and each and every element can be customized. (some features may need a pro account)


You can save the photos you want in boards and collect it and display as a mood board.

Another option is

Step 6. Creating your mood board

Choosing between physical or digital mood boards? You should know that the visual impact of a physical moodboard is greater. You can touch and feel the texture of the fabric and the 2D pictures.

Use 5 to 8 pictures on a single page, for a well-composed mood board. Avoid clutter and use only the ones which is consistent with your concept.

If you are making a physical mood board, you can incorporate swatches of real fabric to represent the real texture as the texture is difficult to show in pictures.

Pay attention to color contrast and composition. You need to achieve a cohesive effect- not just a collection of images.

Making of a Mood board is a delightful creative journey that will be thoroughly enjoyed by all involved.

Related posts : Find your style in fashion; Understanding Fashion terms.; Grunge fashion elements



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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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