After working on thousands of projects in Crew, we noticed one simple element that made projects run smoothly: a moodboard.
Whether working on a logo, branding, or product, clients and designers who started their communication with a collection of visual inspiration packaged in a nice and neat manner, almost always had a better working experience and required fewer iterations to get to a shared vision. (Unfortunately for us writers, words are usually a terrible way to describe feelings about design).
But after scouring the web we found there wasn’t really a good, easy tool for quickly putting together moodboards.
Photoshop takes design chops that most people don’t have.
And Pinterest, while good for building large collections, is too much work for sharing a quick set of visual inspiration if you don’t already use it (you have to sign-up, go through onboarding, and build a profile before sharing).
So we decided to build Moodboard—a quick and easy way to put together visual inspiration and share it.
Moodboard had to be intuitive and accessible to those who previously had no idea what a moodboard was, and it had to be pliable enough for experienced designers and developers to communicate with quickly.
As a result, we didn’t want to bog users down with the login/password sign-up process associated with nearly every other experience on the web.
The goal was to let users share their images and inspiration as quickly as possible.
Creating the easiest way to share visual inspiration
With the idea pretty much fully formed, we turned to the duo of Crew developer Max Gillet and designer Zach Sherman to start to realize the concept. Here’s a look at the original 5-minute mockup sketch:
Because the tool was intended to help clients quickly get across all of the elements of their project, the initial idea was to create preset groups on the right to work through—starting with typography, followed by colors, then images. Each group would have a selection of pre-populated possibilities and after making a selection it would show up in your moodboard.
This initial design seemed simple enough, but when the team at Crew tried to use it, the experience was slightly more complicated than it needed to be. It felt limited. There wasn’t enough freedom to create a board that showed off exactly what you were after.
We decided to overhaul the experience, so that when a user landed on the homepage, they were able to drag their inspiration onto a dropzone and generate a truly custom moodboard.
The next version was an improvement, but it was still a bit of hurdle for new users who weren’t sold on the importance of moodboarding. We knew that to make this more than a niche tool, we needed to quickly get across what your moodboard could look like and be used for.
We decided to add several ‘starter boards’ with examples of actual products you’re familiar with and their visual inspiration:
At this point we were close, but there was still a final iteration that needed to be made. Instead of the boards featuring actual products (which encouraged users to make less of a moodboard and more of a set of product screenshots they liked), we switched the ‘starter boards’ to a collection of visuals meant to inspire:
After 2 months of part-time work and a steady stream of revisions, Moodboard was launched to the world.
Since launching, Moodboard has been used by tens of thousands of people a month to share visual inspiration and bring their ideas to life.
Almost 650,000 boards have been created and shared with more than 5 million images of visual inspiration uploaded. Not only that, but it’s also quietly become one of the top referrers of projects to Crew.
ready to build your own tool like moodboard? Get in touch and we’ll connect you with a designer and developer to bring your idea to life quickly and easily.
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