creating mood boards for your business
Whether you’re working with a designer to create full branding for your business or just trying to get a consistent look on Instagram, mood boards can be incredibly helpful. Mood boards can be used to get a good idea of colour schemes, shapes and patterns, textures and imagery. While they’re typically created at the beginning of the design process, they can also work really well if created later as a reference point - so there’s really no excuse not to have one if you feel you’ll benefit!
What are mood boards?
Mood boards are a selection of images, colours, textures and shapes that are illustrative of your brand. This selection is then arranged like a collage to give an overall ‘vibe’ of your brand. Mood boards can be physical or digital, depending on the area of design. For example, an interior design will most likely use a physical mood board to get a good idea of fabric feel and texture, while a web designer will likely work from a digital mood board as that’s their platform.
There’s no set rules with what a mood board should include, but it must be cohesive enough that you can understand the look and feel your brand is trying to get across. You must be able to use the mood board when creating any branded products down the line. If you’re working with a designer your mood board may be adapted to brand guidelines before it becomes your reference point. This is a tidier more simplistic approach to getting your brand feel down.
Why are mood boards useful?
Mood boards are a great way of collecting imagery and other inspirations that are relevant to your business. This gives you a handy reference point to ensure everything you create is on-brand. This can help you keep a consistent and well branded social media presence, as well as create graphics and content that works within your core values. Customers and clients want to know what you do. They want to be able to see consistency so that they can understand the value you give. Mood boards are a great way of keeping your content consistent with your values and branding.
What should be included in a mood board?
This totally depends on your area. Most digital businesses like social media managers, marketers, designers and developers can rely solely on a digital mood board - either online or designed as a PDF. If your business is more physical such as clothing or interior designers, you may need something physical like a big sketch pad with physical bits glued in. Either way works fine! It’s just about understanding what will work the best for your business goals.
Mood boards may include:
Images and shapes of interest
Textures such as brick or fabric
Photography styles (landscapes or model photography?)
It’s really up to you. Take a look at some of the examples in this blog and elsewhere. It’s all about capturing your brand and your vision - so do what you need to do!
What’s the best way to create a mood board?
Because of the way I work and the types of projects I do, my mood boards tend to be digital. My process involves sitting at the computer during the ideas phase and scouring the web for inspiration. I search everywhere from fashion brands to supermarkets - you never know where you’re going to find something beautifully designed! I also take plenty of photos when out in the real world which I look back on and use for inspiration. Once I have a folder full of images and font styles and colour schemes (all that good stuff) I put it together on an artboard in Photoshop. I then refer to it constantly throughout the logo and branding design process.
If you don’t use Photoshop there are plenty of other tools available to you. Pinterest works amazingly well as an online inspiration gatherer. Simply create a board, then digitally pin images you find suit your vision to that board. Before you know it you’ll have a full board of beautiful, inspirational imagery that you can refer back to time and time again. One caution with Pinterest - don’t go nuts. It’s so easy to pin every single thing you like the look of, then when you go back to your board you can’t make head nor tails of it. Be discerning - only pick out the best bits that you feel really illustrate your brand and style. Stick to the plan!
Ultimately, mood boards are just a tool to really capture the essence of your brand and business values. Each one is as unique as a fingerprint. Get out inspiration hunting, and really think about what your brand needs to say to people. Once you know your brand’s vibe, finding imagery and graphics that reflect that should be easy!