July 27, 2022

Our designers share tips for aesthetic moodboards: the challenges & steps

Theren Moodley
Theren Moodley
A decade's worth of fashion experience across; product design, development, sourcing & logistics

For some fashion designers creating an aesthetic moodboard is their favourite part of the whole design process.

It’s the part they can spend hours reading through old books, surfing the web, and listening to music, building up their library of aesthetic inspiration 💡

Be it using a moodboard app or physical moodboard, the designers we’ve spoke to at Make the Dot, enjoy the mediative element of the whole moodboard aesthetic process.

It is however, not without challenges and disadvantges.

From time constraints, client stipulations and problems with moodboard apps, what should be a key part of the process, ends up being as problematic as ever 💊

Therefore, as those some of you might be new to the creative industry, I’ve written this blog to explain a step by step guide to the whole process, as well as some of the challenges we’ve heard from our design community.

In summary:

  • The sources used to create the moodboard aesthetic - Designers use both online and offline sources to find inspiration and create their moodboard
  • Organizing their content - Using moodboard templates and an online moodboard maker seems to be the easiest and quickest way to create their moodboard
  • Main challenges - Time pressures, a complicated moodboard generation process and a lack of high quality moodboard maker tools all represent challenges for designers

⚙️ How do you make an aesthetic moodboard?

1. The sources of inspiration when creating the moodboard aesthetic

For fashion designers and creatives, inspiration can be found everywhere 🌍

During our time in private beta, speaking to fashion designers around the world, we’ve heard designers from all over the world tell us about their process and how they decide on their moodboard aesthetic.

Some read old books in vintage book shops, hoping to find inspiration in the old texts, while others look to nature and plants to generate ideas 🌳

Online wise, websites such as; Tagwalk, Gem, Unsplash, and of course Pinterest, give fashion designers a large library of images to choose from, and are the main sources of inspiration for fashion.

One of our design community members Victor from Bologna, Italy, walked us through how he created his moodboard aesthetic.

He’d begin by heading to the town square around lunchtime, with a fresh espresso in hand. There he’d find a relaxing place and spend the afternoon sketching passers by on his moodboard app on his ipad.

Victor fashion moodboard example
Victor uses sketches and notes to create his moodboard aesthetic

2. How to organise content and create a moodboard template

Generally speaking, although its one of the main components of a moodboard, this the part of the process most fashion designers find the most difficult and dislike the most, as it involves something most designers dislike the most, organisation 🙃

However, organising your inspiration and ideas on your moodboard aesthetic is arguably the most important part of the whole process.

Some of the fashion designers we’ve spoken to have stored the digital versions of their content in cloud storage solutions such as G Drive and iCloud, and then full the content into moodboard apps, such as Adobe Illustrator.

When creating their moodboard aesthetic, some designers would then print out this content and stick it onto a physical cork board to get an overall feel of the aesthetic 🤖

3. Our designer's advice on how to present your ideas and themes

Fashion is storytelling and storytelling is fashion. Almost as important as the finished product, is the story behind it.

Where did those colours come from? What was the inspiration behind the fit? Who inspired the overall collection 🧐

From fashion school to working in a brand, designers are taught early on that a crucial part of the moodboarding process is telling the story behind the collection.

Some fashion designers use a fashion moodboard app to present their story, while other still use a physical board, regardless of the delivery method the story plays the biggest part in the moodboarding process .

One of our community members is a lecturer at London College of Fashion, and failed a student for not being able to tell the story behind their collection.

Storytelling stops plagiarism, forgery, and ensures creativeness and originality, moving the industry forward in the process.

⛑ The challenges to create an aesthetic moodboard

1. The lack of time to work on the moodboard aesthetic

As much as designers love to spend all the time in the world researching ideas and themes and then pulling them into a moodboard maker, the fast paced and ever changing nature of the fashion industry means that process may not be possible in reality 🏃

I’ll explain a short story from a designer at Amanda Kelly we met at Premiere Vision, Paris this year, who because of time constraints forgo the whole moodboard process completely.

Once the runway show of the latest season had has ended, they'd scroll through Vogue, find the pattern pieces and then try to design something similar, as quickly as possible. Once a client who visited the trade show only 30mins after a Dior had debuted heir collection, asking if the designer's had a similar print in fabric in stock.....

The designers from Amanda Kelly telling us their moodboarding process
The designers from Amanda Kelly telling us their process

2. The complicated moodboard generation process

With the aesthetic containing many components of a moodboard, streamlining the process and making it efficient and productive is a huge challenge for fashion designers 😒

From finding all the sources of design inspiration, organising them into some kind of moodboard aesthetic and then using a moodboard maker to present their story takes a lot of work.

When we purchase an item of clothing we barely think about the process that went into creating it, which has many components, not to mention challenges and disadvantages.

3. 500+ interviews, and still no fashion specific digital moodboard

Last but not least a huge challenge for fashion designers is the moodboard maker tools available for them to create their moodboard aesthetic, which is of course why we started Make the Dot 🔥

In our 9 months in private beta, we’ve heard fashion designers use the following moodboard makers to generate their aesthetic moodboard:

As great as ‘some’ of these moodboard apps are, not one of them was designed specifically for fashion design, or a designers workflow.

Urban camping fashion moodboard created with Make the Dot
Urban camping fashion moodboard

That’s why we have carried out over 500 research interviews, with designers from around the world. To build a moodboard maker to help them specifically create a moodboard for fashion.

Want to give our moodboard maker a try and create your own aesthetic moodboard?

Click here to try it out for free

Or, check out our other content on moodboards below 👇

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