One of the first parts of creating a brand identity is making a mood board. It’s the step when you take all of the information you’ve gathered about your brand and then begin to intuitively transform it into a cohesive visual style.
What is a mood board?
A mood board is a collage made up of images, colors, designs, and fonts. It is a visual representation of your brand and should capture its mood, values, and personality.
Why do you need one?
Your brand is how people think and feel about your business. It’s based primarily on emotions and perceptions. Much of the rest of your branding or rebranding process is an intellectual activity, and making a mood board is where you cross over into the perceptual and emotional realm of the process.
A mood board is the bridge between the intellectual exercise of defining your brand and the process of creating your actual brand identity.
You can finally take all of the ideas and concepts you’ve been ruminating over and make them visual. Your mood board will guide your branding decisions from here on out.
When should you make one?
There are a few times when it will help you make a mood board.
1. When you’re coming up with your initial business brand.
Making a mood board is an essential step when you’re creating your initial brand. It will help you decide which types of images, colors, and fonts to use in your brand.
2. When you’re going through a rebranding process.
Are you in the process of rebranding your business? Maybe you’ve decided that your old brand no longer represents you and how you want your customers to feel and think about your business. This is a great time to make a mood board, as well.
How do you make a mood board?
1. Come up with a list of words or phrases that describe your brand.
These words or phrases can include:
- Your brand values
- The personality of your brand
- The mood of your brand
- Things that make your brand unique
Make sure that the language you come up with evokes emotion. With each word, notice how it makes you feel. If there’s a strong feeling there, it’s a good word to keep.
If you need more guidance on how to do this, read this post: 5 questions to ask to define your brand
2. Search for colors, fonts, and images that connect to your words and phrases.
Once you have your words and phrases, it’s time to begin searching for visual representations of them.
As you look at the images, don’t overthink why you like certain things or don’t like others. Use your intuition to guide you. As your mood board begins to come together, you’ll see patterns emerge. Let the process unfold naturally.
A few ways to do this on your computer:
- Use Google Image Search. While many images on Google Images can’t actually be used on your website, you can use them for your mood board, as long as you don’t plan to publish it for public consumption. Take the images you find and make a folder with them.
- Create a Pinterest board. Pinterest is a fantastic search engine for design elements and imagery. Create a private Pinterest board and begin pinning relevant images to it.
To find fonts and colors, type in the search terms you want followed by the words “fonts,” “colors,” or “color palettes.” For example, you can write “feminine fonts” or “whimsical images.”
To do this process offline:
Find magazines that feel similar to how you want your brand to feel. Instead of searching for specific phrases, rely on your senses and your gut to choose images that feel right. Cut them out and put them into a folder. You can also look through old photos or anything else in “the real world” that inspires you.
3. Put them together in a collage.
Once you have your images, fonts, and colors selected, it’s time to put them together into a collage.
To do this online:
Canva is a free online program that has many different mood board templates you can use. It’s one of the easiest platforms to use to make a beautiful mood board.
If you used Pinterest in your image search, you can now go through and rearrange them or migrate groups of them to create a few different mood boards.
Other software you can use to make mood boards:
- Pixelmater (Mac only)
- Pages (Mac only)
To do this hands-on, DIY style:
Print out your images or use the magazine cut outs you’ve gathered. Get a piece of poster board (or a few of them) and arrange the images on it. Once you’re done, glue or tape them down.
4. Get feedback.
Now that you’ve made one or a few mood boards, it’s time to get feedback on them.
Go to a few people that fit into your target audience and ask them for their impressions. This can include customers and other stakeholders like team members and/or investors. Their opinions will help you determine if you’re on the right track.
Key points to keep in mind when you’re creating your mood board
1. It’s an intuitive process.
As I mentioned earlier, creating your mood board is largely an intuitive process. Don’t question why you like a certain image, font, or color. Trust yourself and add it to your moodboard even if you’re not sure how it fits in just yet. Either you’ll eventually see how it fits in, or you’ll choose to discard it later on.
2. Think outside the box.
Don’t limit yourself to design elements that make direct, linear sense together. Sometimes the best brands are created when unexpected things are paired together. Let yourself play and make some choices that don’t seem to make sense.
3. Be intentional.
Even though it’s important to let yourself freely choose elements that make sense to you, make sure there is intention behind everything you put into your mood board. Each and every choice you make with your mood board should connect back to your brand in some way. You may even want to jot down some notes about why you’ve chosen certain elements.
4. Make a bunch of different ones.
You will probably end up with a few different mood boards. That’s a good thing. You want to start out with a few different concepts so that you can narrow it down later and come out with a mood board that leads your brand in the right direction.
I hope you enjoyed creating your brand mood board!
Making a mood board is one of the best parts of the branding process. It lets you take all of the conceptual work you’ve done to define your brand and make it visual.
If you got stuck along the way and are looking for a designer to partner with you to create a brand you love, let’s talk.