Moodboards in the Product Development Process

Many of your product management tasks deal with tactile or visual information, and with concepts. Just imagine the following typical situations:

  • You are working with some of your users on requirements, or the visual design of your software application,
  • You design and layout your rollout material together with a small team,
  • Your team is presenting a new product concept to your board of directors.

Common to all these situations is that you develop, rapidly change, and communicate concepts, which are not much more than ideas, or sketches.

And you want the full flexibility to adapt your ideas to feedback from your audience. In these situations a tool from design-related industries is helpful: the Moodboard.

Moodboards: What is this?


Example of a Moodboard

Example of a Moodboard


Several creative workareas, such as film, photo, fashion use moodboards to rapid-prototype concepts, and to represent the look & feel of an idea from an overall perspective. Moodboards are always helpful, if a verbal description would be too complex, and they are particularly useful in the development, testing, differentiation activities within the proof-of-concept phase. In presentations they help the audience to gather a quick overview of a complex product idea. They are furthermore better suited than speech or presentations to support visually-oriented participants, or tactile persons in understanding concepts and ideas.

On the left hand side you find an interesting Moodboard from a flickr photo stream (click to open).

Examples from Film, Fashion, and Design

Here a moodboard from a scene in Krabat (a film from Marco Kreuzpaintner), which almost fully concentrates on the mood of the scene:

In the fashion industry, moodboards give an overview over the colors and styles, as in the following example:

Fashion Moodboard

Fashion Moodboard

On the following page (German) can you find example with illumination-scenarios. This company uses moodboards to sell their products, and to provide users with examples, or use-cases:

Light and Mood - Selling Products

Light and Mood – Selling Products

Here a designexample from → Carsten Bock – Lehre + Design, who works with students in arts (German). The example shows different scenes in an industrial context.

Moodboard in Arts

Moodboard in Arts

Examples from Software Development

The following blog-article → Moodboards a Successful Precursor to Visual Prototyping comes with a comprehensive description of a software development project. The blog provides additional templates, and explains the use case for Moodboards as follows:

„A few weeks ago, my company took a project to redesign a major charity’s website. After the initial documentation and planning stages was completed, we were ready to move into the visual design phase of the project. We decided to try a new approach, at least for website design, and show the client a series of mood boards to establish the overall atmosphere and emotional impact of the site before we plunged into the actual layout phase of the design.“

The following helpful blog article comes with good homemade webcast (doubleclick on the image to open it). The Webcast explains the layout phase of a website design. Note that it goes a bit beyond the idea of a moodboard from above, and already reaches the product design phase:


Creating Moodboards

Creating Moodboards

More Examples?

On flickr under the following link you can find the results from a contest with several Moodboards: →

Weiterführende Informationen

Das Original dieses Artikels ist auf Der Produktmanager erschienen (©Andreas Rudolph). Regelmäßige Artikel gibt es über die (→Mailingliste), oder indem Sie →mir auf Twitter folgen. In der Online Version finden Sie hier die versprochenen weiterführenden Links:

Comments are closed.