The start of a new branding project is an exciting place to be, a space full of ideas and potential routes to go down. In this post I am sharing how I go about creating a mood board for a brand design and why its an important step to my design process.
A mood board is a collection of curated imagery, textures, colours and words, that sets the visual tone, and colour story for a project. It’s the visual ideation that leads the way.
At the very start of a project we get clear on your brand foundations; your brand mission, vision for the future, values that are core to what you do and how you work, your brands tone of voice and personality.
The reason we do this is so I have a deeper understanding of your business and target audience so when it comes to making design choices, we’re not just randomly picking colours and type but choosing them with intention.
Once we know the vibe we’re trying to create we can start to source visuals that help to reinforce them. The aim of this first step is to gather inspiration.
I create a Pinterest board but you could also save images to a folder on your computer, whatever works best for you. Start off with entering one of your brands personality traits into the search box of Pinterest (or your desired search engine).
Then just save images that you’re automatically drawn to. The idea is not to think about it too much, just keep saving images that feel right. They don’t have to be directly related to your business, its more about the feeling we get from the imagery, than the actual content within it.
If font choices pop into your feed and they feel right, add them, if colour palettes have the right vibe, add them. Its all about gathering imagery that feels right to you.
Then move onto another word – use a variety of words that sum up the personality/mood/feeling of the brand you’re creating. If the results that are coming up are a bit uninspiring, I find adding the word “aesthetic” after a chosen word often helps to bring up a better selection.
You want to have a good selection of images, aim for 30-50 (honestly, the more the better).
This should be a fluid process, take your time but don’t think about it too much.
When you’ve got a good selection you will probably notice a bit of a theme has emerged.
The next step is to filter this inspiration down into more of a cohesive visual direction.
There could be one strong and definite theme to go down, or there could be 2 or 3 visual routes that could all work equally well, in this case I would create multiple mood boards to decide which aligns best.
I select between 6 and 9 images that work together, and feel right for the brands mood and personality, arranging them in a way which compliment each other, choosing images that are all different but feel like they belong together. This takes a little time trying different selections, until its just right.
Once I have the images organised I start to look at the colours within the imagery that could be used within the brand colour palette. Using the colour picker tool (I use Adobe Illustrator, but you could also do this in Canva) I hover over a part of the image that has a colour I would like to try, adjusting and moving around the images until I have a a selection of colours that work well together and feels right.
Basically it always comes back to this… does it feel right?
I also like to create a mood board (without the colour sections) for more of the design styles that we could use within the project, this could include type styles, textures and patterns that may work well and that I would like to explore.
Once the mood boards have been arranged and I’m happy with the selections, and feel they are right for the brand, I then present the visual direction.
Sharing my thoughts on how things could look and the direction we could go in, and making sure that you’re happy with these ideas is so important. Taking time to listen to your feedback and make any adjustments before I move on the next phase and start designing the brand identity.
As a self taught designer, this is the way that I have found works best for me, but I imagine it will continue to evolve as I do.