Have I told you how much I love mood boards? They are crazy-crucial for my design process to make sure I’m on the same page with my clients. They probably take the most time out everything I work on in a branding project. I spend so much time curating images to make sure it’s just right.
Because it sets the tone for the rest of the project. I show these mood boards to a client and invite criticism because it should be dead-on with their brand vision. If it’s not, discussing what works and what doesn’t gives me valuable feedback that I use to dictate what comes next: the logo design. The mood board is like the essence of the brand, boiled down into one big ol’ beautiful soup-o-squares.
So how can you make sure you get the most out of your mood board?
Think about how you feel when you look at the mood board as a whole. This is honestly the most important item. What mooddoes it convey? What emotions do you feel? What actions do you want to take? These should be in line with what you want others to feel when they see you brand or website. It should be dead on. And if it isn’t…
Think about what doesn’t fit that mood. Is there an element that’s giving off the wrong vibe? Maybe some of the graphic elements or colors aren’t quite right. You can even try covering the offending element to see if the mood board works without it.
Consider the big picture. Sure, it’s on trend and the colors are pretty, but does it really work for all the visual platforms you’ll be using to tell your brand story? Make sure the mood board will allow your brand to live online, in print and anywhere else you will run your biz.
Are you proud of this design? Do you want to show your mom, you’re biz bestie or even your cat? AWESOME! You should love it and be excited to show it off to your future clients. It will be the direction for your beautiful business, after all.
If you look for these key items when critiquing the mood board for your brand’s direction, you should easily get the most out of the mood board process. Ready to get the mood board party started? Head this-a-way to try your hand at a DIY mood board, or holla at me for some badass branding.
I mean, c’mon. These photos ALL belong to the killer co-ed team behind J+R Photography. They have such a fun and unique style. But the challenge from a branding perspective: a man’s aesthetic + a lady’s aesthetic & meeting in the middle. But you can see where I’m going with it color-wise, right?
I think it means I love my job when I get so excited each and every time I create a mood board. And creating the mood board is the very beginning of the branding process where I get on my client’s level. I kind of crawl into my client’s brain to see what she has rolling around in there, and then I collect that info and her half-formed visions, and organize it into a mood board. I l-o-v-e this process.
So all this to say, this mood board is no exception. I am sooooo in love with it and want to just jump inside and roll around in it a little. Too much? Nah. Just confessions of a designerd.
Mood boards are so crucial to everything I do that’s visual. Starting a logo project? MOOD BOARD! Re-decorating my living room? MOOD BOARD! Planning my wedding visuals? MOOD BOARD!
Mood boards help align the aesthetic, color palette, and tone of a project. They get me on the same page with my clients. They can also help get the ideas out of my brain (or off of Pinterest, if I’m wedding planning) and into a clearly organized visual hierarchy.
Mood boards force you to select the crucial images that best represent the style of whatever you’re getting ready to create. I go a step further and make sure to pick images that include the following:
design elements / inspiration
color palette swatches
Below is a breakdown of how I organize a sample mood board which each of these elements.
In addition to the elements listed above, you can see that I also have a space for a “feature image” right in the middle. This should be the core mood / style / feeling of the project. It should be whatever resonates with you the most.
I also have a space for whatever else makes sense for the brand or project. I called this “Etc.” This can be any image or detail that you find is inspirational but may not fit the other elements.
A good mood board should help keep you visually focused as you move into the next phases of the project.
If you’d like to try your hand at creating your own mood board, I’ve got three free mood board templates you can download here! These are in PDF format, which means you can open them in most design programs.