SC Exhibitions Magazine 2016 13 The boards could only be carried one at a time never stacked lest the surface be disturbed As al most proof of how far we ve come last spring for his men s collection Raf Simons came right out and superimposed his reference images a Japanese woodblock print a photo of a roller coaster an astro naut a shark directly onto the backs of coats and jackets He likened pieces in the collection to mood boards you d pin your favorite images to As the longing for emotional connection spreads from how we want our clothes or living room to feel to how we want our minivan or constitution al democracy to feel the mood business continues to expand A friend recently told me her therapist encouraged her to make a mood board expressing the feelings related to her recent divorce This ex pansion is fueled in large part by the sheer over abundance of available images It s hard to remem ber that a couple of decades ago finding pictures of things involved countless tedious hours of ran dom page flipping Now a few seconds of furious key stroking produces endless examples to regur gitate Every possible idea is immediately diluted by retroactive references That glut of images is constantly resifted through personal curation tools such as Pinterest and Tumblr and inspiration web sites such as ffffound com and vfiles com Such hy per individualistic online collections in turn be come open source mood repositories scavenged by branding professionals Why assemble collections of your own when there are millions that exist all ready for appropriation Need to evoke cozy soft ness with a vaguely synthetic overtone an early 70s color palette and just a touch of glam rock Mis sile silo chic Midcentury Crimean beach culture I can almost guarantee someone out there has that covered There are even Pinterest pages dedicated to collecting other mood boards collections of col lections And then of course there is Instagram which turns every individual life into a social net work mood board The carefully curated Instagram account is essentially a personal image manage ment tool private life as public brand While the ascendancy of mood boarding reflects the way brands from commercial products to peo ple are imagined at this moment the question remains why we are all so susceptible to manufac tured emotion Why are we so needy Perhaps this yearning is a reaction to the lurking presence of Big Data As vast files of metadata and personal search histories are ferreted away in some server farm in god knows where we crave the kind of anodyne gauzy experiences that at least promise something warmer and more human When everything is available all the time and we re inundated with in formation in every way shape and form we re left no choice but to favor what makes us feel This article by American graphic designer Michael Rock was first published in The New York Times brand manager the mood board attempts to render in a handful of swiped images some vague quintes sence that s difficult to achieve with words For fashion designers who are required to pump out a new set of allusions every season the mood board has long been an essential yet highly confi dential way to pinpoint explicit references before assiduously burying their tracks One former Calvin Klein designer recalls how when she worked at the brand in the 00s the mood boards were sacrosanct Only certain people were allowed to touch them The foam core was covered in different materials lin en for one collection cotton for another and the teams were required to use specific pins For the professional brand manager the mood board attempts to render in a handful of swiped images some vague quintessence that s difficult to achieve with words

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