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Learn how to create a mood board for free on Canva

A mood board helps you effectively communicate your web design requirements to others. In this post we'll teach you how to create one for free.
Dec 1, 2020 • 5 minute read
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Creating a mood board for web designers

Describing your web design specifications to a web designer via text is difficult and it's often misunderstood. A mood board is a great way to communicate your design requirements efficiently. In this post we will teach you how to create a mood board for free using Canva. 

What is a mood board?

A mood board is a collage of all of the visual elements of your new website project, it's a concise method of organizing your inspirations.  Once completed, you can hand it off to your designers to help them create a website with your intended look and feel. 
The most effective mood boards are not just comprised of static pictures, they also include video and dynamic images to better represent the emotion and texture of your brand identity. 
In this post we will teach you how to create a stunning mood board for your new website on Canva, for free!

Why is a mood board important?

Describing your design requirements with text only is extremely difficult. Unlike other project types, design specs need illustrations to establish clear reference points for your project.
A moodboard alleviates the need for long winded textual descriptions and represents your design requirements in a clear and efficient manner
If a single picture is worth a thousand words, a moodboard is worth a million. 
Here is an example excerpt of a website project moodboard. As you can see, there are no textual descriptions yet you can clearly identify the intended look and feel of the project.
mood board example

Source: behance.net
There are 6 primary categories of a mood board. 

Color palette

You can find some inspirations at Color Hunt .

Typography

Type Hunting is a great resource.

Textures

The texture of a website is its perceived 'feel'. Rather than just using simple colors, some website designs take things further by adding character to graphic elements.
Here are a couple of examples:
mood board texture

Source: vandelaydesign.com
mood board texture

Source: speckyboy.com
Textures really bring your website to life and they're a great way of connecting with your audience on a deeper psychological level.
You can find some great texture inspirations here .
Textures are an advanced web design concept, so if you're just looking for a simple business website, this may not be an important requirement to you. 

Patterns

A website pattern is the layout of all of its individual elements. The most effective web pattern designs are responsive. To experience a responsive web pattern in action click here  and resize the browser window. The pattern is supported by a fluid grid that continuously adjusts the pattern arrangement as the window dimensions change.

Photos and videos

You can find media inspirations at Pixabay  and istockphoto .

Miscellaneous 

Some web elements in the misc category include, menu styles, buttons, and any other inspirations that you would like to integrate into your website project.

Mood board types

There are two different styles of mood boards, messy and strict.
Messy mood boards have no structure, they are a collection of anything and everything that inspires your website project. Messy mood boards are great to start to brainstorm different design options.
Strict mood boards follow more of an objective structure that all designers can understand.
When you stumble across a website you admire, take screenshots of the features you find most desirable and save them in your messy mood board. Don't worry about categorising it yet.
Then, once your messy mood board is filled with all the inspiration you need, upgrade it to a more structured strict mood board.
We'll show you how to create both, 

How to create a messy mood board on Canva 

Head over to Canva .
Click "create design" and then "custom dimensions."
creating a mood board on canva
Create a large Canvas to give yourself plenty of room for brainstorming, we create a Canvas measuring 2000 px by 8000 px.
Even though this is a messy mood board, its a good idea to give it some structure, to prevent images from overlapping.
On the left hand menu, click on "elements" and then "grids". You can select any combination of  grids you like and modify the sizing.
mood board on canva
Create about 3 or more duplicates of your mood board in case you run out of room. To duplicate press this button above the Canvas:
mood board on canva
It's not just a MATTER of slapping on anything within the above 6 categories that inspire your website design. 
Here's how:
Let's say you really like the font style on this website.
topography design

Source: architecturaldigest.com
Then head over to canva, upload your design and drag it onto any of your available grids.
creating a mood board on canva
Follow this process for all of the other graphical elements. If you run out of space, create more grids or duplicate your moodboard.
Even though mood boards are primarily a visual document, you can insert captions beneath all of elements to summarize your different opinions.
Remember how we mentioned that moodboards don't need to be static? Well on Canva you can upload videos to your mood board. The process is identical to uploading pictures:
creating a mood board on canva
Once you're finished you can download your moodboard and send it over to your web designer. To do this, click on the download menu in Canva and select your preferred format.
creating a mood board on canva
If your mood board contains video, you will have the option of downloading a video of your entire mood board displaying all of your static and dynamic images!
creating a mood board on canva
creating a mood board on canva
Some designers may be capable of interpreting your messy mood board, in which case a strict mood board may not be necessary. But if your messy mood board is far too messy for others to understand, it's best to upgrade to a strict mood board. 

How to create a strict mood board on Canva 

Don't let the name scare you. Strict mood boards are not that difficult to create, they're just a more structured version of a messy board. Strict boards group visuals into different categories. Here is an example:
creating a mood board on canva Source: junemango.com
You are free to decide on the exact locations of your category groups. The obvious similarities within your cluster of visuals will help designers identify your categories.
When your strict mood board is complete, flick it over to your web designer and let them do their magic.
Your web designer will then create a finalised mood board that reflects the design specs that will be applied to your new website. Here is an example.
creating a mood board on canva Source: dribbble.com
Once you approve this final mood board design, your web designer  will get the go ahead to start weaving it into your shiny new website.

Final thoughts

A mood board will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your designers are completely aligned with your web design guidelines.
Follow these steps to create your mood board today! 
 
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