Mood boards for Branding and Product Design

When creating a new brand, you should be the individual that understands it better than anyone else. As a brand creator, you should have full knowledge of your brand’s foundation and culture, as well as your business’s vision, mission, and values. But you may have some difficulty trying to convey your brand qualities to stakeholders or anyone involved, especially in the beginning. A mood board can help you accurately communicate your brand. Creating a mood board for your business is an ideal first step to help you in the branding process and the following product design development.

What is a mood board?

A mood board is a physical or digital collage containing a variety of images, text, and other objects that define your brand and communicate your brand identity. It can include just about any visual medium of ideas and concepts that could help you define the creative direction of your brand. But keep in mind that a mood board should be more than just pretty pictures, it should be an organized and succinct collection of visual assets that tell a visual story of how you want your brand and business to look and feel.

A mood board can be a crucial tool and act as a guide when making design choices for everything from websites to the font you use on a button. It’s a brand visual aid that helps you to stay consistent and can serve as inspiration in the future.

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Importance of a mood board

Now that we have defined what is a mood board, it’s important to explore how exactly can a mood board be valuable for:

  • Inspiration: If you are still in the process of working out your brand identity, a mood board can help you bring things into focus on what exactly you want your brand to convey. A mood board is a great tool for inspiration and can help stimulate creativity when needed, making sure you stay consistent in any design decision you make.
  • Affirmation: If you are already confident about what defines your business, a mood board will help you affirm and support your brand identity. A mood board can sediment your brand, and communicate the culture and values of your business.
  • Direction: A mood board that accurately reflects your brand can act as a guide to keep you focused on your business. It should be a reference tool that sets up the visual direction of your brand right at the start. It can also help you navigate any design decision when developing branding or marketing material, making sure you are staying cohesive and further strengthen the brand identity.
  • Communication: A mood board ensures that any stakeholder or person involved in your business understands not only your brand but also your vision and values from the start, keeping everyone on the same page.
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How to create a mood board

STEP 01: Pick your medium

The first step to creating a mood board is to pick what medium you should use. Essentially you can choose between creating a digital mood board or a physical one. It’s up to you to choose if you want to just search images from the internet or grab some books and magazines and putting them on a foam board. Doing an online image search an assemble them digitally is easier than ever using sites like Pinterest. But you can also create a more tactile experience with a physical mood board that allows you to mix your media and push yourself creatively.

STEP 02: Research

In order to build a mood board, you need to first gather as many elements as you can find that represents your brand. Think about photos, colors, letters, textures, or patterns. Any image or material that conveys brand emotions. This means that every time an element looks like it can communicate your brand in any way, save it. It’s fine to start with more items, the editing part will come later.

STEP 03: Curate your board

When you reach this step you should have a wide collection of elements from your research. So, now it’s time to start editing. Too much imagery can be confusing so the goal is to sort through what you’ve collected and start narrowing down items. The final selection should be the materials that most strongly communicate your brand.

Try to identify any key trends or specific styles among the groups of elements you’ve selected. And once you’ve identified your trends, choose the strongest images to use for your mood board. This means to eliminate any element that doesn’t make sense among the rest or doesn’t fit in any of the trends you’ve identified.

STEP 04: Organize the materials

Now that you’ve collected and sorted your materials and elements, now you have to position them on your mood board. You can choose to be chaotic or organize the way you present your imagery. Once you’ve decided on the board’s overall structure, think about the image placement and how they should interact with each other. It’s also important to keep in mind that size communicates importance. Concentrate on your key trend with larger images in prominent places on your board, and place smaller elements around those to support your message.

Finally, you should remember that a mood board shouldn’t be a final piece, but instead a working document. It should be seen as an exploration tool, whereas your brand evolves you can adapt your mood board accordingly.

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