Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

November 17, 2023

Visual Roadmaps: Vision Boards and Mood Boards

Vision Boards and Mood Boards

As the year draws to a close, there seems to be a natural inclination for introspection and anticipation that stirs within us. The impending transition to a new year – a fresh start, as some would hope – amplifies our desire to set goals and project our hopes into the future. These aspirations, albeit personal, don’t have to only be in our heads. Vision boards and mood boards can make them tangible. Read on to learn more about these visual tools.

The Difference Between Vision Boards and Mood Boards 

While vision boards and mood boards share the common thread of visual expression, each serves distinct purposes. A vision board is a tangible representation of specific achievements or experiences you aim to bring into your life. It’s a roadmap for the future, a collection of images and words that magnetically draw you toward your envisioned success. 

On the other hand, mood boards transcend the specificity of goals, diving deep into your emotions and aesthetic preferences. Unlike vision boards, which focus on goals, mood boards encapsulate a vibe, a feeling, or a theme you want to embody in a particular area of your life, be it a creative project, a room design, or your style.

Vision Boards

Since the release of the 2006 self-help book and film The Secret, which introduced the law of attraction to the masses, vision boards have risen in popularity. These boards stem from the belief that, by envisioning yourself already there, health, wealth, and happiness can come from such positive thinking – if you visualize it, it’ll come. This belief is something that influential thought leaders like Gabrielle Bernstein, Deepak Chopra, and Oprah all agree, hence why the boards have become even more popular.

Vision boards – or dream boards – are often collages of quotations, pictures, or other visuals that convey your goals and aspirations. As a tool for manifesting those goals, these boards focus on a specific theme or period and are highly personalized.

Vision Boards

Photo by Cottonbro Studio

Types of Vision Boards

Although there are many different types of vision boards, below are three main themes.

Goal Boards

This type of vision board focuses on a specific goal, like fitness training or saving money. It can include inspirational pictures, infographics, motivational quotes, and even worksheets to keep track of your progress visually.

Theme Boards

Theme boards are less specific and focus on a life theme you want to come to fruition. These tend to revolve around special interests or more long-term goals. A theme board, for example, can be about your relationship goals or professional aspirations.

Reflection Boards

Reflection boards center around personal development and inner growth. You learn more about yourself and what makes you happy with these boards. They can also help lift your mood. For instance, you may make a reflection board filled with uplifting imagery to deal with the winter blues.

Why Vision Boards Can Be Effective

Besides being a fun arts and crafts project, vision boards are mental practices, and these, according to Psychology Today, increase confidence, motivation, and even motor performance while reducing stress. Research suggests that, compared to other types of stimuli, the brain tends to put a higher value on visual imagery. Visual representations are usually more memorable than words. Because of that, your vision board may stick out in your mind more than a to-do list.

There’s nevertheless a problem with vision boards. When people assign their dreams to a vision board, more often than not, they stop exerting effort to get what they want. They instead wait for the universe to deliver those wants. Research shows that visualizing positive outcomes without the hard work it takes can hinder achievement and performance. So, vision boards may hinder growth rather than fuel it.

Vision Boards and Mood Boards

Photo by Cottonbro Studio

How to Create Your Vision Board

Creating a vision board is a deeply personal and creative endeavor. It involves a combination of self-reflection, goal-setting, and artistic expression.

Step 1: Clarify Your Goals and Aspirations

Take a moment for introspection before diving into the creative process. Define both short-term and long-term goals across various aspects of your life. Consider your health, personal development, career, and relationships. This first step lays the foundation for the words and images on your vision board.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Materials

Prepare by gathering materials for your vision board. For those opting for a physical board, collect magazines, scissors, glue, and a sturdy board or poster. For those choosing a digital approach, explore online platforms or apps that allow you to curate a virtual vision board with images and text. Having all your materials ready makes it easier for you to focus on the visual representation of your goals.

Step 3: Thoughtfully Select Images and Words

The heart of your vision board lies in the images and words you choose. Flip through magazines or browse online sources, carefully selecting visuals that resonate with your goals and evoke positive emotions. Choose words and phrases that encapsulate the essence of your aspirations. 

Each element should contribute to a narrative that inspires and motivates you. Trust your intuition during this process. The connection between your chosen elements and your vision is crucial for the board’s impact.

Step 4: Organize and Personalize Your Board

With your chosen elements in hand, it’s time to arrange them on your board. Experiment with different layouts, considering thematic sections or an arrangement based on the various areas of your life. 

This step is not just about visual appeal. It’s an opportunity to infuse your board with personal touches. Include photographs, handwritten affirmations, or any other elements that hold significant meaning to you. The more personalized your vision board is, the more meaningful and inspiring it becomes.

Step 5: Ensure Visibility, Activation, and Regular Engagement

Place your completed vision board in a visible location – whether in your personal space, bedroom, or office. Creating a vision board is just the initial step. The key to its effectiveness lies in consistent activation. Here are some strategies to maximize the impact of your vision board:

  1. Regular Visualization: Spend a few minutes daily focusing on your vision board. Close your eyes and imagine yourself living the life depicted on the board.
  2. Affirmations: Complement your visualizations with affirmations that reinforce the positivity and achievement associated with your goals. 
  3. Goal Breakdown: Segment your long-term goals into smaller, actionable steps. Use your vision board as a roadmap, guiding you through each milestone.
  4. Gratitude Journaling: Cultivate a mindset of gratitude by keeping a journal. Regularly jot down the progress toward your goals and acknowledge the positive changes in your life.
  5. Vision Board Updates: Life is dynamic – so are your goals. Periodically revisit and update your vision board to reflect changes in your aspirations or circumstances.

Mood Boards

Photo by Natalie Dupin

Mood Boards

While vision boards are for goal-oriented visualization, mood boards tap into your emotions and aesthetic preferences. Around the 1970s, mood boards became a popular brainstorming tool in advertising and fashion. These boards are a compilation of images, colors, fonts, and textures that collectively convey the project’s mood, tone, and aesthetic.

Creating a mood board starts with a theme or emotion you want to evoke. Are you aiming for a sense of tranquility, excitement, or sophistication? Collect images, colors, textures, and even fabrics that resonate with this theme. The beauty of mood boards lies in their versatility – they can be physical or digital, private or shared. They’re not limited to professional use. Anyone looking to convey a certain vibe can benefit from the mood board process.


Believe in the value of vision boards and mood boards or not, there’s truth in the power of visualization, self-awareness, and positive thinking. At Bella Grace, we believe an ordinary life can be extraordinary and that there’s magic in the everyday. If you seek positivity and want to embrace life’s beautiful journey like us, click here to check out our magazine.

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