Mood boards are a brilliant way to collate your influences, inspirations and ideas for the design elements of a production. As well as the overall look of a piece, separate mood boards can be used for each design element, from lighting and set design to costumes and props.
Here are eight tips for building your own mood boards, with examples from Sam Wyer’s original costume and puppetry mood boards used for The House With Chicken Legs.
Tip #1 – Do it your way.
As you’ll see from the examples, Sam Wyer (The House With Chicken Legs’ Costume and Puppet Designer) builds mood boards with pictures, designs, textures and other images from the internet. However, you can build a mood board however you like.
A great way is to collate images from old magazines and newspapers cut them out and then stick them on a large piece of paper.
Or you can create a presentation on PowerPoint, Google Slides or even Canva.
Tip #2 – Add your own drawings & sketches
Like Sam, you can also add your own initial drawings and sketches as part of your mood board. It can be a great way to build your ideas and start creating the overall look.
Tip #3 – Ideas can come from anywhere.
A great mood board has elements from everywhere and anything can be included in a mood board.
You can also find influences from:
- Magazines and newspapers
- Pieces of clothing
- Brand logos and websites
- Instagram posts
- Album covers
- Book covers
- Product packaging
- Pictures that you’ve taken yourself
- Screenshots from TV shows & films
- Buildings and architecture
- Paintings, sculptures and photography
- Theatre designs and production imagery
No medium is off limits and sometimes the more places you find your influences, the better the mood board is. It also helps you find elements that you may not have considered before.
Tip #4 – Get lots of options.
Letting your ideas run wild is one of the most important things when creating a mood board.
You can start by collecting hundreds of different influences before sorting through them and deciding what to include.
Tip #5 – You don’t have to use everything you collect.
Mood boards are designed to build the ‘mood’ of the design elements and so you don’t always have to use what you find in final designs.
A good example are Sam Wyer’s mood boards for the mask designs. As you can see, the original boards influenced the design, but there was further development for the final mask used in the show.
Sam Wyer’s original mask mood boards
Image of the mask used in the production
Tip #6 – Start to think about colours.
Colour can play a big role in the design elements of a piece. Are you colourful or are you more monochrome? Do you want to focus on a particular colour or have a range?
You can also start to consider the impact of different colours on your audience.
Colours mean different things to different people so thinking about how your colours may be perceived is important.
For example, red can be anger or love. Yellow is bright and playful. Green is earthy whereas blue reminds us of water and can be calming.
Experiment with different colours as you create your mood boards to see what may fit best for your piece.
Sam Wyer’s original Marinka costume mood board
Images of Marinka in the production
Tip #7 – What do you want people to think and feel?
As well as the script, acting and direction of a production, the design elements can also create emotion and feelings for your audience.
While building your mood board, you can ask yourself – ‘how do I want the audience to feel?’
The answer will depend on the type of piece you are creating, but finding elements that invoke happiness, sadness, anger, etc. can help you transfer your ideas to the stage later on.
Tip #8 – There’s no wrong answer.
It’s important to remember the final board is a collection of ideas – not the final design. That means there’s no right or wrong way to complete a mood board.
Creating a mood board can be a really creative and important process – but can also be a lot of fun.
Let your imagination and creativity run wild to see what you create – you can always edit your ideas later on.
Sam Wyer’s original ensemble costume mood boards
Image of the ensemble costume used in the production
Mood boards are a brilliant way to draw together ideas for the design elements of your work. The creative process can also help draw out new ways of thinking that will go on to inspire your piece.
As well as these tips, you can use all the mood boards on The Curiosity Index to help influence your ideas. Search ‘mood board’ in our resource section or select ‘mood board’ from the content filter on the left hand side to see everything we have to offer.
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We’d love to see your creations and mood boards for your work. Share them on social media (details to tag us below) or email them to email@example.com – we can’t wait to see them!
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