How Invention Makers Pitch Ideas: Using a Mood Board

How the Best Invention Makers Prepare for Kick-Off Meetings

MAKO Design + Invent – April 8, 2021

Idea? Check. Meeting with Mako Design? Booked. Anything else? Well, that’s totally up to you! Mako Design tailors product development services for startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. So we make sure kick-off meetings with us are easy and accessible for everyone! Just contact us to request a meeting and that’s it! But we get it, many of you want to impress us and put your best foot forward. You want us to understand all the ins and outs of your product before we start development. You want to know how to prepare and how the best invention makers pitch ideas.

Exercises that the Best Invention Makers Use to Pitch Ideas

Practice Describing Your Idea Verbally

Look around. Focus on an object near you that catches your attention – it can even be your phone or computer where you’re reading this from. Take a few seconds to memorize the details of this object. Now close your eyes and try to describe the object in the simplest terms. And not just in your head. Dictate the function, design, and materials aloud. If someone else was listening, would they understand what you’re describing?

It’s totally ok if you have a hard time with this. Because even some of the greatest inventors in our history struggled to put their ideas into words.

While you definitely know your idea better than anyone else, knowing and explaining are two different beasts. When invention makers pitch ideas, ideas that take a long time to explain are ideas that are often too complicated and have too many functions involved. Remember, the best ideas solve a specific problem in a simple way. The purpose of the exercise above is to show you why preparation matters. What you have up in your head doesn’t always translate well verbally. Practicing ensures you feel more confident when explaining what you already know. The last thing you want to do is give a product description that’s difficult to follow and riddled with “uhs” and “umms”. The smoother the conversation goes, the better you’ll feel about the pitch. That also means we’ll all have an easier time planning how to make your dream idea a reality.

Picture of a physical mood board.

Prepare a Mood Board

Creating a mood board is a fun activity that doesn’t require any technical skills to complete. A mood board is an organized collage of mostly images and some text. When invention makers pitch ideas with a mood board, their goal is to provide a “feeling” of what the final product might resemble. The purpose of a mood board is to visually communicate the inventor’s intention for both the function and design of their product idea. Communicating your vision early on ensures all of us can easily work towards the same direction throughout the process. Because mood boards are highly visual, there’s no one right way to do it. But here’s the easiest way to get started.

  1. Start with a blank page on any online software. Try Google Slides – it’s free and easy to copy and paste images on.
  2. Start copy and pasting visual elements online that you feel match the style and functionality of your product. We’ve listed some of the elements below. Remember, you don’t need to use all of them!
Images

When invention makers pitch ideas using a mood board, they usually start by copy and pasting images. They pick pictures of other products, objects, or anything else that contains any visual elements that match what they’re trying to achieve with your product.

Colors

Thematically, what kind of colors are you looking for for the final product. Is it going to be primarily white like how PlayStation designed their recent line of products?

Words

What words or short phrases do you associate with your product? You’re not looking to write long-winded explanations here. You’ll try to include descriptors like “electric,” “minimal,” or “striking” to evoke some emotional response from the reader. 

Explanations

Short explanations to provide supplementary details will go a long way. For example, if you included a picture of a Ferrari in your mood board, you could supplement the image with the following explanation: “The product design should feel luxurious and sporty but matches the elegant contoured exterior of a Ferrari compared to the sharper edges of a Lamborghini or the bulbous design of Porsches.” If you find your explanations are cluttering your mood board, feel free to move these to a second page but don’t overdo it! Mood boards are usually limited to a single page. They’re supposed to highly visual and not text-heavy documents.

Kick-Off meeting.

And that’s it! (Just remember to save your work.) Invention makers pitching ideas using a mood board should try to fit everything neatly onto one page. There should be minimal overlapping and each of the visual elements should have enough space to not overwhelm or confuse the reader. If you find there are too many visual elements, it might be a strong indicator that your idea is a little too complex. Feel free to experiment and get creative!

MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to small businesses, startups, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry’s leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Feel free to Contact Us anytime for help with your project.

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