If you’ve ever searched Pinterest for some sort of color palette or simply search “branding” or “brand identity” you most likely have come across these things called “mood boards.” I have to admit, I first thought of a mood ring and thought this whole concept was kind of silly … someone searching for things in a specific color that all sort of go together.
“Why is a mood board so important,” I thought.
Early on in working with clients (and even potential clients), I ran into some challenges in creating a unique concept tailored specifically for each individual person. The mood board process helps remove much of the chance of duplicating the same concepts with new clients. After all, each client, each company and each brand is unique … while they may be similar in what they do or offer, but they are different because they are run by different people.
What is a mood board?
Mood boards come in a range of styles and contain a wide range of content. I personally like a grid-based system with a variety rectangular sizes and maybe one or two circles to mix up the grid a bit. You can grab three free InDesign and Illustrator templates here.
Within the grid, you’ll find various elements that represent the client and/or brand – lifestyle images, textures, patterns, color palette options and other design inspiration images. It’s important to note that the mood board development process doesn’t just happen from me searching on Pinterest for days on end (which I could TOTALLY do if I had the time). It begins with a branding worksheet/questionnaire that allows me to get to know my client and their personality and goals for their business. Their answers provide a framework for what I search for to develop a mood board (usually 2 for the full brand identity package).
Case Study: Living Well With Nic
I had the pleasure of working with Nicole Nelson, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Wellness Expert on her brand and website Living Well with Nic. I (virtually) met Nicole through my good friend Carly, so I didn’t know her personally. We traded a bunch of emails about her style, her goals with her business and other brands she admired and liked the creative elements from. I presented Nicole with two very different mood boards and int he end, we ultimately ended up combining elements from both to come up with her final brand.
Mood Board 1
Mood Board 2
Final Living Well with Nic Brand
Case Study: My Revamped Life (in progress)
I am in the process of working with a former colleague from the House of Mouse on branding her lifestyle blog My Revamped Life by Erika Jarvis. I’m fortunate with this brand development process because Erika is SUPER easy to work with, I know her AND I can creep her on Instagram without feeling, well, like a creep. In addition to the brand questionnaire, the ability to see Erika’s style in real life really helped me in collecting content for the two mood boards (below) I ultimately presented her with.
Mood Board 1 – Wonder & Whimsy
Mood Board 2 – Sophisticated & Subtly Bold
So why should you care?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your brand is more than just your logo. Your brand begins with the creative look and feel (your logo, color palette, visual identifiers) and translates into your print collateral and digital presence.
But you can’t get to a cohesive brand without doing the legwork up front to develop something that speaks who you are without saying a word.
Don’t forget to download your FREE mood board templates. Also, grab my Branding Questionnaire and see what kind of questions I use to get a base for building a mood board.