moodboards pinterest
Have you heard about moodboarding? Practiced by artists and designers around the world, it’s basically collecting samples of anything that catches your eye and putting it in a group. Like shopping online and saving the links of items you want to compare.

Web designers use mood boards to sample ideas for colors, textures, photography, fonts and other items. Both the process and the resulting collection help them cultivate the look and feel requested by their web design client.

Mood boards can be physical boards with fabric swatches, paint chips and anything else you can stick to a wall. Old schoolers get paste and posterboard to put up their finds.

But mood boards are also the basic idea behind Pinterest.

pinterest full

I used Pinterest to start the web design process for a plumbing contractor web design. Yes, plumbing. It’s not the most visually compelling profession, that’s true, but any web design process is better with a little brainstorming.

And that’s what mood boards are all about. I pinned clothing, furniture, cool drawings, faucets, old signs, fonts, fancy kitchens, gym bags, magazine covers, LEGO instructions and more. When I looked at my board and thought about what I liked, I had a much better idea of what I wanted the web design to look like.

Here’s how I made my plumbing web design mood board with Pinterest.

Start With a Vision Statement

You didn’t think you’re allowed to pin everything did you? Actually, you are (get to that later). But you need to have a guiding star. Some reason to pin this and not that. You may have an idea already. But it helps to write down a statement of what you’re looking for. Something like…

Warm and welcoming, but crisp and modern.

It’s not much, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s just enough juice there to get us started building that board. I pinned this picture of somebody’s neat mud room because I thought it had a little of the essence of what I wanted.

pinterest sample room

Nice welcoming color in the pillows and bench. Clean and classic design lines. That’s a start.

This mud room was on my main Pinterest feed already, mixed in with the sugary desserts and bespoke pizza rolls. After I added this to my board I knew I had to go deeper. So, I used the search box to quickly find more items which matched my vision statement.

Brainstorm Starter Search Terms

For this web design, I already had an idea about using cotton fabric to create a dark blue colored texture. To me it referenced the typical uniform shirt worn by the plumbing techs.

So, I knew I wanted to at least search Pinterest for “blue shirts”. I added a fabric term like cotton or denim to get some interesting results.

pinterest cotton shirt

To expand the search it helps to brainstorm a list of terms inspired by your vision statement. Here’s a list I came up with and why they worked.

Since this is a plumbing site I searched both kitchen renovation and bath renovation. That way I’d get pictures of both spaces to browse. Using the word renovation meant some of the images had rooms that mixed modern with warm and classic.

I also thought about old-school service trucks with those hand-painted sides and searched for handmade signs.

Let One Thought Lead To Another

As you brainstorm terms to search and pin from, let your mind wander. As I thought about those great old signs, I also thought about storefront windows with painted letters and vintage signs. These became inspiration for my font selections later.

pinterest painted sign

Search, Scroll and Pin

With Pinterest, you can scroll forever. Spend just a moment or two looking at your search results. And pin, pin, pin whatever catches your eye. Then move on. Search, scroll, pin and repeat until you have a board with 20-30 pins.

Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy

The key to a great mood board is experimentation. When you see all of your pins in one place, you might make an unexpected connection between two things. And that’s the spark of creativity. Combining existing things in new ways.

I was really excited to see a connection between the blue shirts I’d picked out, the classic appeal of a vintage font and these minimalist icons.

pinterest sample

The shirt had the right look and I imagined seeing the business’ name printed over the breast pocket in that vintage font. The icons had the right mix of minimalist and cartoon styles. That got me excited to begin work on the official design sample. I couldn’t have done it without that creative burst.

Finished Web Design

Share Your Board

Your web designer will have important questions about what you’d like to see them do. Come prepared by making a mood board and sharing it with your web designer. They’ll likely know about this technique and maybe even have one of their own.


Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm.