Last updated January 23, 2024

Including a Brainstorming icebreaker activity can be a great way to get participants in a training session to be creative and also to have fun getting to know each other. The ‘Mood boards’ brainstorming activity is one of our favorites and it’s detailed below, for you to use.

Brainstorming icebreaker

If you allow 15 to 20 minutes for this brainstorming icebreaker activity, that is the best option.

You can also ask the participants to return to this activity at different points during the training session so that they can build on what they have learned during the training session and then apply it to their brainstorming.

Number of Participants and Group Numbers

This activity can be run in small groups or the whole class can contribute to the same board and then engage in a final discussion.

If you decide to separate your participants into small groups, I suggest 4 to 6 participants in each group.

Purpose Of this Icebreaker Activity

The ‘Mood boards’ activity really gives your participants a chance to be creative, to work together as a team, by associations, and to use a variety of media, such as words, drawings, or photos.

‘Mood boards’ also help participants work as part of a team, as each participant will give input to the creative process.

This activity is especially good to include if the subject you are teaching involves creativity in some form.

Activity Instructions

1. For this activity, you will need:

  • An empty wall or a board on which to attach items
  • Blue tack, stick tape, or drawing pins (depending on the board material)
  • Scissors
  • Post-it notes
  • Old magazines for cutting out photos
  • Pictures
  • Markers and/or pens
  • String if you want participants to create connections between items

2. Decide on the focus, or purpose of your mood board. Is there a specific question you would like the participants to answer? A specific problem to solve?

A certain point you would like them to reflect on?

Are you trying to get your participants to brainstorm?

3. Place an ‘anchor’ in the middle of the board. This can be a word or an evocative photo.

4. Ask participants to add new elements (words or pictures), thinking about how the new item complements or adds to the anchor and the following elements.

The mood board can develop various branches.

5. Once the mood board is finished, start a discussion, which can include questions such as:

  • What themes come out or repeat?
  • Do we notice any trends?
  • Are there any negative issues?
  • Do we spot any opportunities?

Benefits of the ‘Mood Boards’ Brainstorming Icebreaker

  • Mood boards are hands-on activities that encourage participants to use actual materials. So, they are good at stimulating the kinaesthetic learning style.
  • Because of the variety of media involved (e.g., visuals and words), they can stimulate different types of learning styles.
  • This type of activity stimulates team building and communication.

This activity really encourages participants to think holistically and to make associations between different ideas.

This is an activity that tends to be popular and fun to do and is an easy activity to run as a teacher or freelance trainer.

Examples of Using Mood Boards at Work

Classroom lesson plans

Case Study 1: Redesigning a Product Line


A design team at a consumer electronics company was tasked with revamping an existing product line to meet changing market trends and customer preferences.

The team members had diverse ideas but struggled to align on a cohesive vision for the redesign.


The team decided to use mood boards to visually represent their individual concepts.

Each team member created a mood board showcasing color schemes, design elements, and user experiences they envisioned for the new product line.

During a collaborative session, they presented their mood boards, fostering a discussion that led to a hybrid concept that incorporated the best elements from each proposal.

The mood boards not only facilitated communication but also served as a reference point throughout the design process, ensuring consistency in the final product.


The resulting product line received positive feedback.

Customers loved the new products and sales went well and the managers internally seemed very happy with the way the concepts developed.

The mood boards played a crucial role in aligning the team’s vision, enhancing creativity, and ultimately contributing to the success of the redesigned products.

Case Study 2: Branding Strategy for a Startup


A newly formed startup in the health and wellness industry needed to establish a strong brand identity to differentiate itself in a competitive market.

The team, consisting of individuals from marketing, design, and business development, had different perspectives on how to communicate the brand’s values and mission effectively.


To align the team’s vision and create a unified brand strategy, the members used mood boards.

Each team member was assigned a specific aspect of the brand (e.g., color palette, typography, imagery) and tasked with creating a mood board that represented their interpretation of the brand.

During a collaborative workshop, the team shared their mood boards, allowing for a comprehensive discussion on the visual and emotional elements that would define the brand.


The mood boards facilitated a shared appreciation and understanding of what they were trying to achieve for the brand in terms of direction and values.

This collaborative approach resulted in a cohesive branding strategy that the target audience could relate to and that in the end successfully drove sales.

The startup successfully launched its brand, and the mood boards served as a foundational reference for subsequent marketing materials and campaigns.

Case Study 3: Employee Wellness Program Design


A human resources team in a large corporation aimed to implement a comprehensive employee wellness program.

However, the team faced challenges in deciding on the program’s structure, activities, and communication strategy.


To generate ideas and build consensus, the HR team utilized mood boards.

Each team member created a mood board showcasing different aspects of the wellness program, such as fitness initiatives, mental health support, and community-building activities.

During a workshop, the team discussed the mood boards, identifying the most appealing and feasible elements for the program.


The mood boards facilitated a collaborative approach to designing the employee wellness program.

The final program incorporated a well-rounded set of activities that addressed physical and mental well-being.

Employee engagement increased, and the mood boards served as a visual guide for program implementation and communication strategies.

Dr Valeria Lo Iacono
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