Mood-board illustration

Lead paragraph

Mood-boards use collages to visualize and communicate the intended design concept or direction. Mood-boards are a low-fidelity way to push designers to make service and/or experience concepts tangible.

PREPARATION: up to 15 minutes
DURATION: 30-60 minutes
TEMPLATE OR GUIDELINES: Storyboard template
FACILITATORS: 1 per workshop
RESOURCES: Pens, Post-its, a large sheet of paper or whiteboard
PARTICIPANTS: 3–30, design team, partners, community members, etc.
EXPECTED OUTCOME: Service stories

As a visual document of a theme or concept, mood boards help to narrow down ideas and explaining service concepts.  When creating a mood board, it is important to pay attention to all of the images as a whole and how they relate to one another.


State the selected “How Might We” statement or a sub-focus area of it.

Based on your design challenge statement or the focus of what you are interested in, define the criteria and select suitable participants, considering not only who they are, but also what activities they would do. Consider what you want to prototype and what are the expected outcomes.

Organize a meeting with the selected participants, and gather the necessary resources and supplies. Find images that are related to the service concept. Cut, printout or store the images in a computer folder. Think about what expectations will be set up-front, how you will start and end the workshop, and how much time participants are expected to dedicate to this activity.

Write down some keywords of the service concept. Start with five words that describe your idea or concept. Then, ask participants to search for images based on your keywords. Ask participants to plug the images onto a digital canvas or into a blank paper canvas or whiteboard. Then, each participant prepares a short Sales Pitch about the mood-board.

Discuss the results and write up the key outcomes from this exercise.

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