What is a mood board?
A mood board is tool that will help establish the style and brand identity of your blog design or logo. The mood board is a combination of images (photographs, graphics, patterns, colors, textures, fonts) and words on a single page, that reflect your desired brand position/identity (rather than the current position). Together these elements provide a visual example of the desired brand position, imparting the energy, mood and spirit that you want for your blog/website or brand.
Why are they necessary?
Whether you are ordering a logo design or a theme design for your blog, you want to make sure that your message comes across clearly to your intended audience. Oftentimes, it is difficult to communicate visual ideas, feelings, and images. I myself am a very visual person, and I notice that I much prefer to express these thoughts and ideas in visual form. (Probably why I spend more time on Instagram than any other social media platform.)
While the design questionnaire is very important, and I do use it as a reference whenever I work with my clients (I keep it open on my desktop while I work on the design, so I can check if I’m on the right track or not), the mood board is not any less critical. It helps you to think about the kind of brand identity you want, and it helps me to see exactly what you mean. This makes it more likely that whatever design we come up with will be exactly what you envisioned, and hopefully just want you wanted. I love it when clients say, “it’s like you can read my mind! This is just what I wanted and more!” It’s not telepathy; although I really wish I had that talent. That would surely save a lot of time!
How do you create a mood board?
1. Gather inspiration. Scour the ‘net, browse magazines, go window shopping! Take screenshots, download images, take photographs. Do your research. Create a folder on your computer and save all the images there. Pinterest is a fantastic source of ideas, if you want to save time. Create a Pinterest board (you can keep it secret if you don’t want anyone else prying) and pin away. Search for keywords so you’ll find what you’re looking for without getting overwhelmed.
2. Edit. Don’t just collect, curate. Carefully choose the ones that best convey what you want and take away those that don’t really do the job. Remember that what you remove is just as important as what you choose. It’s like telling a story. Sort through what’s relevant and what’s not. Identify and refine.
3. Create your board. Use whatever software you’re comfortable with – Photoshop, Keynote, Powerpoint, or if you’re not that savvy with graphics software, just stay on Pinterest and send the link to your designer.
Layout. If you’re doing your own board, arrange the images in a grid if you want to be OC, or a loose collage if prefer a more free-flowing style. There are no hard and fast rules here, although it would be really fantastic if you could use a template. There are free downloadable ones on digital scrapbooking sites. How you create your mood board (structured grid or collage) also tells me a lot about your style. Remember that everything has to fit into a single page. If you have more than one page, that means you haven’t narrowed down your ideas enough. Go back and edit.
Theme. Make the theme obvious — that’s what the mood board is for. Make sure people can readily figure out what your mood board is trying to say. Don’t make them guess. If you curated your images properly, this should be easy peasy.
Words. Add some text. A bold powerful word juxtaposed among the images captures attention and adds drama.
Colours. Make sure you have colour references in the images. It helps if you can derive the colour palette from the images in the mood board. But don’t just include an image because it has the colour you want, it should also be in the same style and mood as what you’re going for.
Textures and patterns can convey style and mood really eloquently. Try to use one or two. If you want an organic look, use natural textures, like images of paper, leaves, burlap. If you want something glamorous, use sparkly glittery metallics.
For my branding clients, I normally create the final inspiration boards for them, based on their pins. I carefully select the ones that are more in line with their answers to the questionnaire, as well as the personality of the client. Here are some mood boards that I helped clients create:
As you can see, I have a template that I use frequently, and it helps me to narrow down the choices even further to only those few that best represent the brand identity that we’re developing.
I hope you’ve found this helpful! I’ve also created a Photoshop template that you can use to create your own moodboards. It’s similar to the one I use for my own projects.