Are you the founder of a brand-new startup or a small business? Or perhaps you’re getting ready to have a new website, logo, or branding designed for your brand? How do you begin? There’s a helpful tool that you can use to tap into inspiration. And it is not just for artists and designers. It’s called a brand moodboard.
All types of creative professionals such as designers, photographers, illustrators, filmmakers create moodboards to communicate the feel of an idea. A moodboard can be a powerful starting point in any creative project. Think of it as a visual reference for your creatives and as a springboard for hatching new ideas for marketing and branding.
Accentuate Web Design and Marketing’s experienced Graphic Design and Branding Team use moodboards during mock-ups to help you see how your new branding will look, not only on your product. We also use moodboards for use in other scenarios, such as during the design of your other business assets, such as your cards and stationeries and even your website.
Our team is passionate about creating appealing and cohesive branding for our clients. Find out more about our Gold Coast graphic design and branding services.
Basically, anyone who is developing an environment or needs to have a particular look often starts with a moodboard to specify design elements and colour schemes. Moodboards are a great tool for creative projects, they are also referred to as inspiration boards used in the creative field.
What is a Brand Moodboard?
Finding the inspiration to design projects is one thing. But having that inspiration organised and turning it into a more cohesive base for design creation that wows your clients and audiences is an entirely different animal.
A brand moodboard is a collection of either physical or digital visual assets. It consists of images, text, materials, colours, photos, videos, and other design elements arranged into a depiction of a final design style and the kind of brand message you want to put out.
In the early stages, the moodboard starts off by defining a central theme and/or a specific emotion of the brand. This can then be refined with the use of photographs, videos, magazine clippings, works of art, colour palettes, words, illustrations, even textures – any audio/visual medium that can communicate a concept or mood is fair game.
Moodboards can serve many purposes, beginning with organising the inspiration around a project. It helps keep the style and aesthetic consistent and on track with a client’s expectations and goals.
Aside from visually representing the inspiration, moodboards also help in refining a project’s style before diving into the actual design process. What’s great about them is that they are a much lower investment than mockups and prototypes in terms of expending resources and time to convey a lot about the look and feel of the final design.
Moodboards are also an excellent way to convey design ideas to clients. When a web designer says minimalist or perhaps using Grotesk font or realism, it won’t come as a surprise if your client will be completely clueless as to what you are talking about. But showing them a moodboard with the design elements incorporated in it, they will immediately understand and express whether they love or dislike the ideas in real time.
Finally, it helps ensure that the design teams are all on the same page when working on a project together, such as during website creation, brand photoshoots, social media strategy sessions, and more.
Ideas for a moodboard can come from virtually anywhere. Designers often keep swipe files of inspiration, which is as good a place as any to start. During the curation process for a moodboard, the image or visual of the finished project should be kept in mind.
Designers must also keep in mind things such as the client’s brand values and brand voice, and who the target users will be. These can impact on what types of inspiration to be collected.
For example, website creation for a law firm will likely have a significantly different tone and style than one created for a street fashion aimed at teenagers. If designers don’t keep these differences in mind when they start working on a brand moodboard, it is highly likely that their finished board won’t resonate with the client.
Moodboards can also be used as part of the brand’s persona creation process, it helps visualise brand persona characteristics.
To summarise, here are the benefits of creating brand moodboards:
- They help provide focus for designers when coming up with new design concepts and ideas.
- They help UX designers and planners think about how people will interact with a product or service.
- They are a great way to involve the client early on in the design process and encourage collaboration.
Why Create a Brand Moodboard?
Why should you make a moodboard for your brand? Brand personality and voice are the biggest differentiators that captures the vision of the brand. It sets the stage and creates a vision of what you’re working towards.
As we help clients in building their brand identity, working with moodboards guides other decisions such as choosing font types, colours, photography, even logo design. It helps in setting the objective for the whole brand project.
When working with a client, it’s something we can measure against and return to. Clients give feedback, we make tweaks, and once we’ve landed on the right one, we refer to it throughout the design process.
Tips to creating a Brand Moodboard
Brand moodboards are a great tool to fight back against boring branding. Showcasing your brand voice and brand personality are keys to standing out from the crowd – brand moodboards help in translating your voice and personality into your brand’s look and feel.
The basic premise is to relay or communicate ONE mood, not many. The goal is to embody a brand’s desired perception, visually.
To be able to do this effectively, a branding expert will usually present several moodboard options to help clients describe exactly how they want to visually showcase your brand voice to be perceived. Such as communicating:
- The brand’s energy level
- The language they use
- Their brand’s persona
- The brand’s attitude
- And the brand’s overall mood.
However, when there’s a misalignment on your chosen voice, it can lead to rework, frustrations, and delays. A secret to prevent this and getting your team on the same page is to stop talking about how you want the brand to talk, and instead show stakeholders how it could talk.
The idea is to visually show what any given direction will imply. This will effectively allow the stakeholder to see the end result without having to extrapolate it from the conversation, and also allow them to think in concrete terms.
Setting up a Brand Moodboard.
1. Identify who your audience is and the scope.
Brainstorm who your audience is and the scope of your touchpoints in reaching them. Knowing who your audience is critical as you get to know who what you’re creating is for. Obviously, it’s important to grasp your brand personality and voice as a brand, but more importantly, that it resonates with your ideal client.
What part(s) of your persona and voice is going to connect with who they are? If you can hurdle and find even the closest match, you’re in good shape.
2. Define the channels where you will apply your brand voice.
Ensure that your moodboard contains real and relevant examples that highlight the end-to end experience for your target audience. This helps in creating clarity around the reach of your brand voice.
3. Define the feeling you’re trying to create.
Capture the overall vibe with fonts, colours, shapes, emotions, and all other elements. You’d also have to think about words or feelings you’re trying to convey.
4. Set the direction of the project.
Remember, a moodboard is all about exploration, so don’t get too attached with just one direction in your exploration. But the moment you have set a specific direction, jot down some initial ideas before you start collecting inspirational ideas.
5. Collate existing materials such as text and imagery.
After establishing the direction you want to take, add whatever content you might have. This can include written content that exhibits your brand values, positioning statements, tag-lines, or any parts of the brief that will inspire you and keep you on track.
Next, add any existing design elements or photography. These might not make it to the final moodboard, but still a great place to start. Imagery you choose can influence the look and feel of the project. These materials can define things like tone, lighting, colour, etc.
Key points to remember when making a Brand Moodboard.
- Keep your buyer persona and brand voice in mind – this is ultimately what you want to resonate with, so it is important to keep your ideal client in mind during the entire process. If you need help with defining your audience, book a Digital Marketing Session to help determine your brand message and target audience.
- It’s not just about pictures – There are a variety of patterns, textures, fonts, and images to choose from. Try out a variety of styles when you’re just starting out. The themes that keep repeating will become obvious as the process progresses.
- Edit and refine – After collating content, go through all of them and see which ones jump out at you that clearly expresses the entire feel of the brand. This process can take a while, you’ll probably have more material than what you need. That’s okay! Creativity is an act of transformation.
- Remain open to Inspiration – Inspiration can strike anywhere at any time. Keep your eyes open, because whatever you see can inspire you.
- Explain your thinking – a moodboard is invaluable to convey the look and feel of your project in a way that words sometimes can’t. Include notes about your thought process to explain your ideas and keep everything in context without going into too much detail. This could be done with small notes, labels, or even emoji’s.
Once you have completed your moodboard, you now have a powerful starting point for your creative project. Do note that you can create multiple moodboards to explore different visual directions.
Moodboards are a versatile tool for any design project, be that a website, logo, ads, etc., it helps in organising ideas and bringing them to life. Communicate your design concepts and ideas in a way that’s easy to understand.
If you’ve never tried creating one for your brand, our skilled design team can work with you to find ways to bring your branding to market. Discover how we can help you realise your brand vision by getting in touch with us today!