Since the start of Pinterest, people have been creating mood boards for just about anything. Whether it’s how to style a space in your home, your dream career, your wedding, or your own personal brand, there’s no doubt that having a judgment-free, virtual (or physical) space to layout your thoughts is beneficial.

 

What is a brand mood board?

Just as mood boards are a creative way to drive inspiration for personal projects, they’re also a great way to share the design direction with stakeholders on brand identity projects. A brand mood board is a collection of colors, images, typography, inspiring words or phrases, textures, and patterns that cohesively create the overall look, feel, and direction for a brand.

At Wisdom Digital, we create mood boards as the first step of our creative process to understand who a business is, their aesthetic, and the feeling they’re looking to send the world. Getting aligned on the creative vision for the brand ensures we’re on the same page visually before we fully dive into the design process.

 

Why are mood boards important in the creative process?

 

 

     

 

 

They inspire the client.

Mood boards are the first visual element in brand identity projects that visually express a client’s vision for their business. When a branding project starts, there are often many stakeholders with different ideas of what their brand should be. Creating a mood board helps connect all of the differing visions they had in their head to something tangible. This is where they start experiencing their vision come to life without getting distracted by the finer details and have something to be inspired by – a cohesive collection of their dream brand.

Even better, when you know the client’s business and listen to their vision, then successfully communicate that into a mood board, it shows you listened to what they had to say. They’ll feel understood and inspired from the beginning.

 

How to create a brand mood board

 

Our creative team takes stakeholders through various creative exercises during our Brand Workshop that help us understand the elements most important to their business. Common exercises include:

Brand Personality Spectrum
We pull visual brand keywords to understand the phrases that resonate with the essence of their brand and how they want to be perceived in the minds of their customers. This also gives us an idea of their personality and the best way to communicate this in their brand elements.

Color Test
Using color psychology, we show stakeholders a color/emotion matrix and choose 2-3 colors representing their brand. This is an essential step in the mood board creation process because choosing the right color sends different messages to their target audience. Do they want to be vibrant and fun? Confident, but authoritative? Each color evokes a different feeling.

Logo Styles
With all of the different logo styles today, it can be intimidating to clients to choose the direction for their brand. We pull designs from each design category (emblem, brand mark, wordmark, combination) and walk them through the different ways we could design their identity. This exercise helps us visualize their aesthetic and get aligned on a style.

20-Second Gut Test
If a brand identity project goes hand-in-hand with a website redesign, we love doing the 20-Second Gut Test to get a feel for their aesthetic and the structural elements they want to include on their website. We choose 8-10 websites beforehand, some in their space, others that are entirely different industries, then take 20 seconds per site to get their gut reaction and a ranking (1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest). Together, we walk through the sites that stood out to them and discuss why. Was it the color palette? The experience? The content? The imagery?

Bringing these elements together with the client gives them a hand in the creative process and gives the design team a visual launchpad for the brand’s essence.

 

They are a constant source of inspiration throughout the project.

 

Mood boards aren’t just a great reference to kick-off your brand identity efforts; they are beneficial throughout the entire design process. Both the client and designer can use them as inspiration to ensure that any future designs align with the initial vision for the brand.

We also include the mood board in the final Brand Guidelines document, a deliverable that clients can refer back to it at any time if there is ever a question of preserving brand cohesiveness.

Mood boards are an important part of the creative process to get everyone aligned around a shared vision for the brand and create a cohesive experience from the start.

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