I'm David Little, a user experience researcher and designer

Moodboards the easy way

Posted: February 16, 2012

I’ve recently started using moodboards in my design process and I’m finding them a useful way to kick start thoughts on the look and feel of a site. If you’re not that familiar with them then I’d recommend checking out Paul Boag’s article “How moodboards can save time, money and your sanity!“. In his words moodboards are, “a collection of graphical elements that set the tone for your design.”

I’ve found a couple of newish tools particularly useful for creating moodboards: Pinterest and probably more so, Gimmebar. Whilst these don’t do anything essentially different from some other tools I’ve used like Zootool or Evernote I particularly like the way they present your saved artefacts and their minimal interfaces seem–to me anyway–to be well suited to quickly grabbing and dumping stuff.


At the moment you need to have an invite to join Pinterest but it’s not too difficult to get one: I requested one via the website and received one the next day. Once you have an account you can invite friends along too. The idea behind Pinterest is you create boards which you can pin things to–either images you’ve found on the Web or you can “repin” from other people’s boards.

I found some interesting examples of other people’s moodboards by searching Pinterest which I was able to pin to one of my own boards.


As the concept of boards underlies the whole app it would seem a natural tool for creating moodboards. However I’ve had some problems with performance: it’s a been a little slow at times which has made it a little frustrating to use. But maybe those are just teething issues.


Gimmebar allows you to create collections, similar to Pinterest’s boards and allows you save various kinds of artefacts: images, videos, full web pages and status updates.

The main advantage of Gimmebar for me is collections can be private or public–so you can create a “private stash” of stuff you’ve found without having to share it by default with the outside world. This gives it more of a notebook feel to me so I don’t feel so self-conscious about creating some kind of finished product. Also, the ability to save a complete web page from header to footer rather than just a predefined or viewport size is a really useful feature.

Like Pinterest, Gimmebar uses that “jQuery Masonry” style of tiling to present results which means it’s easy to browse the stuff you’ve saved and get more of a sense of the overall feel of your collection–making it easier to take editorial decisions on what fits and what doesn’t. I prefer this to say, Zootool’s approach to presenting same-size thumbnails (although as a visual bookmarking tool I think Zootool’s great).


You could share this as your moodboard–either by publishing it or sharing it as a collaborative space with other Gimmebar users, although I like to add a little more editorial control by downloading the images and using them in a Photoshop comp. Here’s one I made earlier:

IPM Moodboard

There you go–pretty straightforward. What do you use?

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