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How to make a Moodboard that will help surface pattern designers create better patterns

When I first started surface pattern design I was always encouraged to create moodboards. But, I didn’t make it a necessary part of my creative process and the moodboards that I did make were almost always digital moodboards.

It wasn’t until I decided to make a physical moodboard that changed my whole process and in many ways really improved the way my patterns turned out. 

Creating a moodboard or inspiration board at the start of any creative project helps narrow down your ideas. 

It essentially is made up of a collage of images, color palettes, material samples, descriptive words and anything that you think will guide you during your creative journey for that specific project or pattern collection. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I personally enjoy creating physical moodboards. For me this means gathering my images (and other materials) and pinning them on a cork board in my art room.

This makes it easier for me to keep the idea, feeling or emotion of what I want to communicate through my pattern collection present at all times. 

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Creating a moodboard helps me to:

Refine my ideas. I don’t know about you but when I start a new collection I am filled with ideas and different paths I can follow.

A moodboard allows me to explore different possibilities and really get an idea of what might work. It narrows down my ideas, the materials I use and colors for the collection.

It guides me through decisions that I need to make during the creative process. 

It helps me get clear on my vision for that pattern collection and communicate that vision to others, especially clients.

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How to make Your own Moodboard

1. Decide on a theme then begin brainstorming.  Brainstorm keywords associated with your chosen theme.Think of the style (modern, scandi, tropical), colors (neutrals, bright, neon) that are interesting to you, think of elements that relate to the theme.

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2. Collect your elements; Using your own images is a really wonderful practice to establish right from the get go. But, if you don’t have the necessary images then look through magazines, books or try online searches via Unsplash, Pinterest.

Try to think outside the box and collect physical elements that reflect your theme. Look around your house, is there a piece of fabric that inspires your collection? Or an object in your house? Alternatively, visit an op shop to find vintage illustrations, collect paint swatches from hardware stores

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3. At this stage you probably have more than enough material to build your moodboard so it is time to curate and cut out. Choose images that work together harmoniously and reflect your original vision. If you are working with paint then perhaps swatch your colours out and also pin them on your moodboard.

A fair amount of work goes into creating moodboards but it’s a fun process and it really is worth the effort. Enjoy!