From Idea to Visualization–Worrell’s Use of Mood Boards in the Design Process

It feels like magic–that moment when your product concept is first visualized by a designer. With a few inputs–some adjectives, competitive products and a brief description–they seem to turn something intangible into an image that miraculously jumps off the page.

It’s impressive, yes. But, magic? Not so much. Designers have many strategies for extrapolating upon what is known, while balancing creative freedom and project realities during the design process. Here, we explore how Worrell designers use mood boards as a visual organization tool to bring life to an idea before, during and even after a product is complete.


The first step is to work with the client to come up with words that describe their vision for the future product or line of products. These attributes influence the designer’s research process as they pull visual examples of other products that will serve as inspiration. The team begins scouring the web for abstract imagery that embodies each attribute, while examining unique uses of color, texture, material and proportion.


It’s important to note that the goal of collecting inspiration is not to copy others, but rather to challenge the client’s sense of what is possible, while reinforcing an agreed upon understanding of how to articulate a particular brand essence or tone for the product.
Our designers then refine this “brain-dump” of inspiration by carefully comparing the imagery to the attributes, followed by the removal of anything that does not correlate with the overall tone.


The final mood board acts as an “aesthetic map,” or a point of reference that provides a common visual language for everyone on a project. The board enables us to make thoughtful design decisions while putting pen-to-paper.


If done correctly, the mood board serves as a tried-and-true artifact of the design process–a truly effective tool for producing novel concepts that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also consistent with a thoughtful and traceable design language.

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