What are mood boards?
Mood boards are a collage or collection of images, text, samples, and design elements that are put together to help establish the overall direction or look and feel of a brand (or website, marketing campaign, etc). They work as a visual design tool that is compiled from inspirational images that assist with communicating the visual language of your brand. They are not meant to represent exactly what your brand will look like, but work more to establish the general mood of the design – hence the name “mood board”.
Why use mood boards in the branding process?
Branding is an in-depth process, it consists of many stages, and a lot of work goes into it. One of the earlier stages consists of conducting research for your brand. This includes looking into your company as a whole, your competitors, industry, customers, and more. So at this point, you’ve got a lot of gathered information, but how do you translate all of this into a brand identity? Well, you could simply jump head first and sort of blindly take stabs in the dark to start creating visuals for your brand. However, the smarter approach is to create a set of mood boards.
Creating a custom set of mood boards that all fit within the visual feel of your brand, while each bringing a unique take on the style, will help to ensure that your brand identity will eventually end up where you envision it to be.
They allow exploration
The mood board stage of the branding process is the perfect place for creative exploration. While at this point we’ve got a general idea of the direction your brand is headed and where it fits into the marketplace, there is a lot of room for exploration. Does your brand want to move in a modern/corporate direction or maybe you want to appear as more colorful/bold. Mood boards are utilized to demonstrate the visual differences between different style directions like these.
Perfect for quick iterations
One of the major benefits of mood boards is that they are quick to produce (when compared to creating the actual brand visuals). This benefit allows for quick iteration as your brand’s visual language begins to come to life.
Ensures your brand heads in the right direction
Because mood boards help to define and convey a visual style, getting them right makes sure that everyone is on the same page and your brand is heading in the direction that you envision it.
How to Create Mood Boards
Creating mood boards is a simple and fun process. It sparks creativity, and even leads you down paths you may have not initially considered for your company’s identity.
Build a collection of assets
A good place to begin is to compile a collection of inspirational images and assets that you feel speak to the direction of your brand. In this collection stage, you’ll want to cast a wide net and build a relatively large selection of inspiration. This will allow you to distill down the collection later on into a concise mood board for your brand. There are a lot of tools for collecting these assets, ranging from a simple desktop folder, to pinterest boards.
Make sure you have a wide variety
When building your inspiration collection, it’s also important to get a wide variety of images. Think along the lines of colors that you find attractive, fonts styles that match your brand, photography that speaks your visual language, and even other company logos that are in line with the vision that you have for your own company.
Distill it down
Now that you’ve got a collection or two of inspiration going, it’s time to distill it down into one or more mood boards. There are specialized tools for this that you can use, but one of the ways we find easiest is to use a tool that you’re already familiar with. For a lot of people, this is a tool like PowerPoint or Google Slides. Both make it a breeze to drag in your images, resize them, and put them into a layout. We’ve got a free template below to get you started if you are interested.
Hopefully, this post helped clear the air about what mood boards are and why we use them in our brand design process.
We build a lot of mood boards for clients. To assist with our internal processes, we’ve created a mood board template that makes it super simple to drop in images and inspiration. Grab it below.
Get our Mood Board Template
We’ve made our mood board template available for download, so you can build your own if you would like. It’s available for Canva, Google Slides, Powerpoint, and Keynote.