Goals are great, I totally love goals. But sometimes articulating my goals is  a little hard and a little too specific. A mood board for the year is like a baby step towards a goal. As a graphic designer, I build mood boards for my clients often – it’s usually one of the first things I send to them before we fully get going on a project. 

Mood boards are a visual representation of the general direction or feeling that you want to go in. They include photos, fonts, words, colors, and textures. The items on the mood board are meant to be the idea of what you want to create, but not necessarily the exact representation of it. (i.e. If I like the feeling of a photo that has a sail boat, I may put that on the mood board, but it doesn’t mean that sail boats will come up in the project at all).

The purpose of a mood board is to get the client to “buy off” or approve of your initial idea without really seeing any work yet.

Mood boards as a “buy off” point works for two reasons:

  1. From the designer’s perspective: I’m not doing work I’m not getting paid for. 
  2. From the client’s perspective: They are not being billed for work they don’t like. 

Mood boards can be really lovely to look at and inspiring to refer back to as the project gets underway. I tend to want to create them for other things in my life and I love them especially for the new year as a companion, precursor or alternative to specific resolutions. 

So how do you make a mood board? It’s pretty easy… 

Just start looking for images you like and have qualities you want to channel more of in your life. These can be images, type or strings of words, colors, textures, even swatches of fabrics. 

Do you have a “word” for 2017? I’m going through the email course by Susannah Conway to find my word. Last year my words were focus and grace. I used Pinterest to search for quotes around focus to help me strengthen my ability to say no, and make me feel more empowered to narrow in on what it was I really wanted. You can also just search for your words in google image search or keep these words in your mind as you search for images and pin or place your images into a doc or template. 

Go the old school route and cut and paste or tape images to a foam board or poster board to have a physical mood board. This is great if you have a lot of magazines or printed materials laying around (and only if you can find images in them you want to have in your 2017!) 

Use my template, or make your own:

Personally, I love using a template to save images I find online, my own words or scraps of sentences from free writes, and colors. Canva is a fun tool that anyone can use, it’s free to sign up and I’ve created a template for a simple mood board here!

There are a lot of goal setting ideas out there, especially this time of year, but I urge you to do what works for you and just ignore the rest of what doesn’t resonate. Be it a word, a list, a mood board or a color for 2017, aim to make it a full, exciting year full of exactly the things + feelings you want. 

How to mood board for your business: 

A business mood board shows how you want to interact with clients, with employees (or even just HIRE employees), and what you want my ideal work day to look like. It also can include the very early ideas of new products or content you want to get out there in the next year. My main things I’m mood boarding for 2017 in my business are: 

  1. Start a podcast
  2. Grow and hire employees or join with a business partner
  3. Create more food business content that helps food entrepreneurs
  4. Buy a new mac book pro. 

These are my real goals, people! My mood board has plenty of things that look like: growth, open, and new. 

How to mood board for your life: 

Similar to business, this includes things you want to see for your personal life in 2017. As a business owner, my personal and professional life bleeds over a lot, so I actually just have one mood board for all the things. Spend some time thinking about what you want more of in your life, or even what you want less of. What feelings do you want to feel more? Relaxed? Energized? Community? My main things I’m mood boarding for 2017 in my personal life are: 

  1. Start a family (yep, it’s on my mood board.) It’s something I want to do and I hope it comes true in 2017. 
  2. Get our space the way we LOVE it, not just the way we TOLERATE it. This means buying new furniture, cleaning regularly, organizing and purging stuff that doesn’t bring me joy (yes, I’m late to this trend, but it’s still an amazing process.)
  3. Volunteering!
  4. Being a stronger voice for women and a leader in my community. 

I do have some guiding “words” for the year that I’m considering. They are Growth, Abundance and Hustle. What words are you thinking about for 2017? What tools do you use to plan for the year ahead? 

grow mood board on pinterest 2017

Here’s a couple of my other favorite ways to look at goals: 

Word of the year email sequence by Susannah Conway

Elise’s More vs. Less list

Elise’s list of goals for 2014

My 2016 pinterest board

My 2017 pinterest board