July 27, 2022

Top 4 fashion moodboard apps - advice from 500+ designer interviews

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

In this series of blogs, weโ€™ve explored the topic of fashion moodboarding.

Itโ€™s overview, itโ€™s process, and finally some trends to help fashion designers create their perfect moodboard for fashion.

Today we'll look at some of the fashion moodboard apps ย available for fashion designers today, all based on the research from our design community.

But first, a quick summary:

  • Adobe Illustrator - A great generic design tool that is industry standard at this point, but has a steep learning curve and hasn't evolved much in the past 5 years
  • Pinterest - The best image library today and a very useful free source of content, but a rigid layout structure and without any of the flexible moodboarding functions a designer needs
  • Canva - An easy to use generic moodboard app used by many designers today, but with limitations, such as a limited image library and the absence of fashion design features like a fabric library
  • Make the Dot - A unique tool catering ย specifically to needs of fashion designers, where unlike the other tools, it enables designers to complete their entire workflow within the tool itself, thanks to its fashion design-specific features designed for hybrid and group work

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Fashion moodboard with Make the Dot
Moodboard made with Make the Dot's fashion moodboard app

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You can also checkout ore other blogs on the topic below ๐Ÿ‘‡

Read on for a more comprehensive analysis.

๐Ÿ–ผ What are the best fashion moodboard apps now?

In no particular order, obviously ๐Ÿ˜‰

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โœ๏ธ Adobe Illustrator

The first moodboard generator is the the original, the most well known, but is in the best moodboard maker in 2024?

From the over 300 designers we spoke to, over 70% of them sighted Adobe as a bottle neck in their creative process when making a fashion moodboard.

Letโ€™s dive into why below.

Strengths

  • This moodboard generator is industry standard by this point, used by all designers from brands of all sizes, meaning its features are well known in a designers workflow. Well known, means designers need to spend spend less time learning a new online moodboard maker ๐Ÿ’ป
  • Illustrator is great for sketching and designing and linked directly to the designers workflow, meaning that a designer has only needs to use one space for sketching and moodboarding
  • Adobe have great deals for schools and students, which means the next generation are well used to the product by the time they use a moodboard generator at work ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŽ“

Weaknesses

  • As Illustrator is not cloud based or accessible online, it's performance, or lack of it it's well known at this point. It's slow, crashes, frequently and requires lots of local RAM on a computer
  • Illustrator was built predominately to be a sketching software, so any other functions and features, such as moodboard generation are secondary to that. Designers, using the tool for that purpose are therefore compromising on the moodboarding part of the workflow, compare with using a specific fashion moodboard app
  • Additionally, designer still need to rely on separate tools for their fashion moodboarding such as Pantone. They also need to download secondary research they have found online, before re-adding it into Adobe, adding more time into the workflow
  • Illustrator also does not have an infinite design canvas, which severely limits a designers ability to visualize concept
  • Finally, fashion designers face the challenge of being unable to work on the same project simultaneously, nor can they collaborate across different devices, which leads to downloads, multiple files being saved and a designers computer looking much like the below

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Multiple iterations of the same fashion mooboard
Multiple iterations of the same moodboard

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๐Ÿ“Œ Pinterest

Iโ€™m going to start by saying Pinterest is great ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Almost every designer we spoke to in our research used it at some point in their design process.

However, when it comes to moodboard generation, using an online moodboard maker or app there comes some pretty large drawbacks ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Strengths

  • Pinterest has the richest library of images available on the market today. This enables all fashion designers to create an online moodboard relatively easily using and quickly๐Ÿ“š
  • Not only itโ€™s library of images vast, but it is also updated very regularly, which is important in an industry such as fashion, that relies on the latest trends
  • Itโ€™s price point, or lack of it. With Pinterest relying on an advertising business model, they are able to offer their vast library of content for ๐Ÿ†“, meaning designers can make a free moodboard online using their vast library of content and themes

Weaknesses

  • Pinterest is a library, and a great one at that, but that means that its online moodboard maker isn't as intuitive or flexible as a fashion designer needs. For example designers can't resize their images when creating their moodboard, that a more flexible fashion moodboard app would allow which makes visualization and concept development a challenge
  • Because Pinterest isn't a specific fashion moodboard app, there isn't all the features required for a design to create a moodboard or concept, such as creating a color palette, visualizing textiles or sketching, meaning designers need to switch tools in order to complete their workflow, wasting time in the process
  • Similar to Adobe, a final problem is that the platform doesn't have any collaboration or multiplayer features, crucial group and remote work in the modern hybrid world

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๐Ÿ“‹ Canva

Canva, with it's easy to use free plan, and infinite canvas, Canva is the fashion moodboard app used by a large chunk of the global design community, especially students.

It also has multiplayer and hybrid functions, perfect for the modern world.

That being said, there some major flaws as a specific fashion moodboard app.

Strengths

  • Canva has an infinite design canvas, which is a key requirement for fashion designers to visualize their concepts when creating their moodboard
  • It's hybrid friendly, can be used across devices, and is built for group work and collaboration, which puts it as the only modern fashion mooboard app on the list, bar Make the Dot
  • It's free plan, with some features behind a paywall, giving fashion designers a great free fashion moodboard app

Weaknesses

  • Designers using Canva and limited to it's own internal image library, which leads to moodboards and comcepts that do not include the widest range of inspiration or sources that they could
  • Being a generic design tool rather than a specific fashion moodboard app, Canva users do not have fashion specific features such as access to textiles and fabrics, without any link to actually creating a real-life product in the next stage of the workflow
  • All of this means time designers need to use multiple tools to complete the workflow, time that could be spent creating novel ideas and new concepts

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๐Ÿ‘š Make the Dot

Make the Dot is a unique tool that caters to the specific needs of fashion designers.

Unlike fashion moodboard apps, it enables designers to complete their entire workflow within the tool itself, thanks to its fashion design-specific features designed for hybrid and group work.

In addition, it offers seamless integration with industry workflows and facilitates designing within a brand.

These key features set it apart from other tools.

Strengths

  • This fashion mooboard app was built by fashion designers for fashion designers, with over 500 designers from schools and brands such as; ASOS, Champion, Parsons, FIT and SCAD
  • Because of this weโ€™ve built designer specific user experience and features, including eye dropper, colour palette, browser extension and fabric library, not available on any of the other fashion moodboard apps, allowing a fashion designer to complete their project, while giving them more headspace to create novel ideas
3000 fabrics from Mood, B&J, Fabscrap, and Queen of Raw

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  • Make the Dot is cloud based, available on any device and built for collaboration, allowing designers to collaborate in real-time or create concepts wherever they are

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Browser extension in action on Make the Dot
Our browser extension in action

Weaknesses

  • The first weakness we have currently is our online moodboard maker is not quite yet the complete workspace for fashion designers, without major features such as sketch or a mobile app ๐Ÿ–Š
  • Weโ€™ve built sharing and downloading capabilities but have yet to built any team workspace features, meaning our adoption within teams in brands is currently limited ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ
  • Sometimes free Pinterest is good enough for hobbyists, or given that most pro uses Illustrator for sketching anyway, then it may be good enough to moodboard as well. One less tool. And thats ok.

And thats it, the three best moodboard makers on the market today ๐Ÿฅณ

For our other moodboard related content, check that out below ๐Ÿ‘‡

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