How to Create a Blog Mood Board with Adobe Illustrator

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 How to make a mood board for your brand or blog using Adobe Illustrator. 

How to make a mood board for your brand or blog using Adobe Illustrator. 

One of my favorite parts of my design process is the inspiration board or mood board. (These two are the same thing, you'll notice, I use the two terms interchangeably.)

Scroll all the way to the bottom to jump to the video! 

The inspiration board is a visual representation to set the tone and style of the branding for your blog. As someone who spent their teen years with walls covered with collages from Seventeen and Cosmo Girl magazines, mood boards are totally my thing. Like, totally. 

Clients absolutely LOVE this part too. It’s really exciting to start off with something so visual. 

 Mood board for inspiration, designed in Adobe Illustrator
Oh my gosh, I can’t stop staring at it! I love it!
— Abby from My Prayer For You

Grab a copy of this exact template for Adobe Illustrator! 

Mood Board Templates


Two free moodboard templates for Adobe Illustrator

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A mood board isn’t just fun, it also serves a purpose by ensuring that my client’s vision and my vision really align. I certainly like to make sure we are thinking the same thing before I spend hours creating logo options. Photographs leave less room for interpretation than words, at least for me, as a visual thinker.

1 » Curate photos

The first step is to start searching for photographs. I ask my clients to give me 5-10 adjectives to describe their brand and this is where I start with searching. Some examples are bold, clean, feminine, or artistic. 

I love using Pinterest to find photos, there are hundreds of thousands of beautifully styled photos. It makes finding inspiration so easy. And, I can also see the kind of inspiration my clients have already saved. 

Pro-tip: Once you find a pin you like, if you scroll down a little further you can see related pins, which usually fit within the same style. 

Other favorite places to look for photos are Unsplash and Kaboompics. These places are both great for commercial use photos that don’t require attribution. 

RELATED: My favorite places to find free photos for commercial use. 

For Ditty Hope’s branding, I started with her keywords, earthy, boho, and natural. I wanted pictures that were softer, instead of harsh or bright colors. Ditty had also saved a ton of inspiring photos to her own Pinterest board, so she made it really easy on me. 

All of my client files have a folder just for inspiration, so I just save anything that I think could work into that folder. I don’t always use everything I save, but it’s important to have options. 

2 » Arrange in Adobe Illustrator. 

Adobe Illustrator is my BBFF (Biz Best Friend Forever). It makes creating a mood board so easy. I’ll open a new Illustrator document and start placing the images randomly, it’s like a game of Tetris. (I loved Tetris as a kid!) I just move things around until each photo fits and looks the way I want. 

Did I mention? There's a full tutorial below with templates! 

  • Use photos of different shapes and sizes. 
  • Don’t be afraid to crop things out or zoom into something specific. 
  • Be sure leave space around each photo so it looks more organized. 
  • Leave room to add color and/or patterns for a fully developed brand. (Incorporating patterns and textures helps to bring depth to your branding.)


3 » Develop a color palette

As I’m working on the layout of the mood board, I also select the color palette. I use the eyedropper tool in Illustrator to pick out colors that will represent the branding. I look for the colors that show up in each photo, or one that stands out.

Note: This step takes a lot of practice. Color is something I’ve studied in school, and I still use a few tools to help me out from time to time. 

During this time I also keep in mind those adjectives my client’s used to describe their brand and select colors that work with the feeling they want their brand to reflect. I also like to use color psychology to ensure the colors evoke the right emotion and feelings. 

 Use shades and tones of colors to develope a more dynamic color palatte


Pro-tip: Use the Color Guide inside Illustrator to find tones and shades of colors that compliment colors, I’ve already chosen. Adding tones and shades adds depth to a color palette. Look around you, colors have a LOT of variety. This is what makes a mature and professional color palate. 

4 » Use it! 

Using your inspiration board is the best part! When I’m developing branding, I will keep in right in the same Illustrator file, so I can refer to it often. 

For my clients, I’ll write them directions for choosing photographs. Always consider, would this photo fit into my mood board? Or would it stick out like a sore thumb?

Are the tones the same, is there a lot of white space or is the style of images darker? Consider things like background colors, the overall composition, the textures. 

Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle, “hold up” the piece and compare it to the others, does this really fit? 

If it would blend in, then it's a go! 

 A mood board helps set the tone and style of each branding project.
Creating a moodboard using Adobe Illustrator.png

Using your inspiration board will help you maintain consistent imagery which in turn creates a stronger and more memorable brand. 

Here's the full tutorial. Don't forget the templates, below! 

Mood Board Templates


Two free moodboard templates for Adobe Illustrator

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