Have you ever wondered what the purpose of a mood board is? And why designers usually recommend starting with one of these before designing your brand and/or website?
Would you believe me if I told you that one of the main reasons is actually to help you SAVE MONEY?!
Yup. Mood boards can save you money, big time.
Wondering how do they save you money? Keep reading...
What is a Mood Board?
Let's first start with what a mood board is.
A mood board is a collage of visual elements combined together to display a distinctive and cohesive theme.
Its purpose is to capture the overall look and feel of your brand, giving it its own unique personality.
Some of these elements may include:
- Color palettes
- Font choice
- Textures & patterns
- Photography style
Why is a Mood Board Important?
If I were a mind reader that would be super duper cool because then I could see what you are envisioning without having to do the extra work of creating a mood board.
Unfortunately, I am not one of those.
That being said, if I just create an entire brand and/or website for you based on my best guesstimate of what I think you might like and I get it wrong, I will then have to go back and redesign/rebuild everything (this has happened in my earlier years.) That, in turn, would cost you double the hours, at the very least, in order to compensate me for my extra time and energy.
This is why I try to gather as much information as I can about you and your business before I start any design work. When I have a better understanding of everything as a whole I will be able to help you create a stronger foundation, which will help your brand attract more of kind of clientele you seek, with less effort.
My branding process usually starts off with a questionnaire that helps me get a better understanding of what you do, who your target audience is, what your mission is and what your long-term goals are.
After that, we begin working together to create your brand identity; the visual components that make up the look and feel of your brand. These include things like your logo, color palette, fonts, patterns, textures, etc.
Before the design part starts, I will need you to communicate what you are envisioning for your brand in a way that I can understand.
The best way to do this? By creating a mood board!
A mood board is a valuable tool in establishing the creative direction for a project as it helps you express your thoughts and define your brand in a way that words alone can’t always convey.
Mood boards don't require too much time to create, and they can be easily edited if you feel like the concept I present you with isn't perfectly in line with your vision.
In addition, by creating one of these first, it can actually help you save money because as we move forward with the design process there will be less guess-work on my end and therefore less time spent creating design concepts you don't like/concepts that aren't in line with what you are envisioning.
Understanding Brand Perception
The goal of a mood board is to visually communicate ONE mood. This is how you want your brand to be perceived by your target audience.
It's important to remember that your brand is not what you say about your business; it's all about your brand's reputation, which is almost entirely based on the emotion of others.
Your brand is the total sum of other peoples' experiences and perceptions of your business, including what they take away after purchasing something from you, the kind of customer service they receive, and the words and emotions they use to describe your business to others.
Your customer's matter, and so do their opinions. After all, without your customers, you don't have a business.
Your goal should be to create a positive brand perception that speaks directly to your target audience and gives them exactly what they want.
A positive brand perception means your target audience is more likely to choose your business over a competitor. A negative brand perception means they are more likely to choose a competitor, plus they will probably tell other potential customers why they didn’t choose you (and no one wants that!)
In other words, brand perception impacts your bottom line—a lot.
How do You Want Your Brand to be Perceived?
Before we begin designing your mood board, you should ask yourself how you want your brand to be perceived by others:
- Maybe you want to be perceived as a high-end, luxury brand that provides quality products or services.
- Maybe you want to be perceived as more of an organic, laid-back and holistic-type brand.
- Or maybe you want your brand to reflect your unique personality and personal style for a personal blog you are creating.
However you want your brand to be perceived, you will need to focus on visually communicating that through a specific color palette, fonts, patterns, textures, etc., that helps evoke a certain emotion from others.
So, for example:
- With a high-end, luxury brand, people are probably going to want to feel pampered and classy.
- With a holistic-type brand, people are probably going to want to feel happy and healthy.
- With a personal blog, people are probably going to want to feel like they can relate to what you write about.
By creating a mood board together, I will be able to get a better understanding of what you envision and how you want your brand to be perceived.
I will then use all of this information to help me help you choose the right colors and elements that will give off the kind of brand perception you're trying to achieve.
In addition, this will be used as a guide to be sure that I'm keeping everything consistent when creating all the visual elements for your brand, including your logo, color palette, website, branded collaterals, etc. If everything we create together matches up with the style of your mood board, then you will be on-brand. If it doesn't, then we will need to re-evaluate whether it is right for your brand or not.
By having a cohesive them, we will be creating an effective system that will not only attract more of your target audience but will also help you get more results, faster and with less effort!
My Mood Board Design Process
1. You'll Start by Creating an Inspiration Board on Pinterest.
I use Pinterest to create mood boards with my clients as it's a great place to find inspiration and it's super easy to collaborate! I'll have you create a "secret" board and then share it with me so we can work on it together.
Your job will be to pin about 25-75 images that represent how you'd like your overall brand to look and feel.
Tip: Search for terms like "color palettes," "website design inspiration," "mood boards," "logo inspiration".)
2. You'll then Write a Description in the Comments Section of Each Pin to Explain Why you Included it on Your Board.
For example, you like this particular shade of green because ___________ or you like the feel of this particular photo because___________.
3. After that, go Back Through them All and Weed out Anything that Doesn’t Quite Fit.
Look for things that seem out of place and delete them.
4. I'll then Arrange Images in a Mood Board Collage Template.
Once you're done, I'll review your pins, look for similarities between the images and then create a collage out of free stock photos that visually communicate the theme of your brand as clearly as possible.
Using the images in your mood board as a guide, I'll take any key colors and create a palette of complementary colors to use for the rest of your project.
5. Once Everything is Done, I'll Share the Mood board with You.
If something doesn't look right, you can let me know and we can go back and tweak it until it does!
Once everything matches your vision, we'll move on to the next step... creating the logo, website and branding collaterals for your brand!
Have You Created a Mood Board for Your Brand?
Has it helped you with your branding process? Comment below and let us know!