top of page

How to translate a moodboard into a design

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Words by Erin, Digital Design Media Manager.

All kinds of professional design studios work from mood boards (or trend reports, as we call them here).  They’re pretty standard design tools and when you start working in a design role you’re expected to know what to do with one.

Watercolour Flower Textiles

So we thought we’d deconstruct a Longina Phillips Designs Trend Report so you can be sure of what you’re looking at. Sara, our head of design, unpacks the page.


“Created by creative director, Bec, our Trend Reports are usually comprised of a selection of reference images, an inspirations blurb about the story and her vision and some colour tabs for us to work from,” she says.”It’s a great springboard as it gives you an overall direction to start your designing from.”

The images come from the runway, street style snaps, and her in-depth research into fashion forecasts. She distils it all down for us and provides a handy selection of the trend’s key colours.


“I like to look at the reference images as a whole and be inspired by the entire mood it creates to inform my design process,” Sara says.

This “overall view” is probably the most important part (and the reason why mood boards are so effective!) You can take it in at a glance. And the impression you form will be the driving force of your designs.


“I look at the techniques and usually start with that and choose my medium that I want to try.” So this involves putting your nose up to the page and deciphering the mediums used to create the look/s. Is it a watercolour effect? A flat gouache effect? Is it a tie-die? Decide what it is and whether it you’d like to undertake it.


 Every board will have a suggested colour palette. But it’s okay to go off page and pick colours that aren’t on the tabs or the models, so long as it upholds the idea of the trend. “I use it as a guide only and I never use every colour on the guide. I get my main colour vibe from it and then go from there,” she explains. Does that make sense? You gotta use your designer’s gut. But, if you’re not sure, it’s better to play it safe and work directly from the examples until you feel confident to take some liberties with the colour palette.


Here’s what Sara designed, using the board. “You can see from the image that I chose these three colours to use in my Daisy Chain print and I also chose to experiment with a more vintage chalk medium to draw my daisies as it’s a very vintage looking story.”

Can you see how she got here from the board? Of course, this is just one of a hundred-thousand different interpretations of it. Yours would be very different. And that’s what we love about this business — all of our designers bring something unique to a story, creating a diverse collection for clients to choose from (if you are a client and would like to see more prints created from this board, sign in and go here).


Our current internal trend reports are available to buy – whether you want to practice spring-boarding from pro trend reports, or you are a working freelance textile designer and want creative direction. You can read more about them here.



bottom of page