Designing a brand mood board is the first step I take with all of my design projects because it helps me establish the visual mood of a brand before diving in to create visual branding or a website. It also ensures that my client and I are on the same page first thing, which not only saves me from multiple revisions down the line but means that they are confident that I know what it is they’re looking for in their brand. It might seem silly to take such a deep dive into something that can seem so simple, but I think it’s important to give the brand mood board the attention it deserves! In this blog post, I’m going to be talking everything brand mood board related: from what one is to how to create and use one. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn more than you ever wanted to know about brand mood boards.
WHAT IS A BRAND MOOD BOARD?A brand mood board is a collection of images, textures, colors, and other objects that convey the feeling and imagery you would like your brand to exude. It’s kind of like a collage, but way cooler. Your brand mood board can be as simple as a Pinterest board or as complicated as a curated and edited selection of photos. No matter what form it takes, though, the main goal is to evoke the ultimate feeling of your brand. If you want to get fancy, then using mood board templates like the (free) ones I’ve included at the bottom of this post is a really easy way to make your brand mood board pop!
WHY YOU NEED A BRAND MOOD BOARDWhether you’re just launching your business or going through a major rebrand, a brand mood board is one of the most important tools to have in your arsenal. Having a brand mood board (also called an inspiration board) provides a solid foundation for your visual branding and is something that you can refer back to again and again. It’s also a really handy tool to show to other people when you’re trying to explain the brand that you want to have. Finally, a brand mood board helps ensure that everything you’re doing is consistent–which is absolutely key when it comes to branding!
HOW TO CREATE A BRAND MOOD BOARD: STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONSNow that you know what a brand mood board is and why you need one, let’s dive into how you actually go about making one. To do so I’m going to take you through the process of making the brand mood board for Cocoluxe Travel, one of my premade branding packages!
STEP 1: SET UP A SECRET PINTEREST BOARD (& PIN!)The first step to making your brand mood board a reality is to create a secret Pinterest board and pin to it. To do this, set up a secret Pinterest board by creating a new board on Pinterest and switching the toggle to “secret”. Then, use the search bar to look for photos, textures, etc. that fit the brand vibe you’re going for. They don’t have to be directly related to your business, they just need to fit the vibe. Then pin them to your secret board with a note about why you like them! Pro tip: To find more photos that fit your brand vibe, click on pins you’ve already saved to see visually similar ones! Here’s the Pinterest board I made for Cocoluxe Travel:
STEP 2: SELECT YOUR IMAGESAfter you’ve got a good build up of images on your Pinterest board, go through and look for similarities and themes that occur over and over again. Once you have an idea of the sorts of things that keep popping up, it’s time to select the images for your brand mood board. A good rule of thumb is to select about 8-10 photos (or however many you need for the mood board template you’re using) that really embody the vibe you’re going for with your brand. It’s also a good idea to pick a variety of different types of things: 1-2 patterns or textures, some text, and some regular photos. Then, save the photos you’ve selected to your computer.
STEP 3: ADD IMAGES TO BRAND MOOD BOARD TEMPLATEOnce you’ve selected your images and saved them to your computer, it’s time to add them to your brand mood board template. To do this, start Photoshop and open up the mood board template you want to use. Then add each photo to the mood board! For a tutorial on how to use mood board templates, be sure to check out this video I posted over on my Facebook page. Pro tip: If you don’t have Photoshop, Canva also has some great mood board templates!
STEP 4: PLAY AROUND WITH PLACEMENTAfter you’ve placed all of your images, play around with their placement to see what works best. Although you might feel like you’ve placed the images exactly where they’re supposed to be the first time around, this often times isn’t the case. There is usually a better way to arrange the photos to make them more visually appealing and cohesive. While this is mostly a gut feeling, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re arranging the photos in your brand mood board:
- Try not to have two textures, fonts, etc. next to each other
- Two images that are visually very similar should also not be next to each other. If they’re too visually similar change one of them out for something different
- Try not to create distinct color groupings
- Pull out a few colors from your photos using the eyedropper tool to have some flat color blocks
STEP 5: EXPORT & ENJOYOnce you’re happy with your brand mood board export it from Photoshop, save it in a safe place, and enjoy!
HOW TO USE YOUR NEW BRAND MOOD BOARDSo you have your beautiful brand mood board… now what? First things first, you should use your new brand mood board as the visual foundation for your brand. Show it to your graphic/web designer (if you have one) so they know what vibe you’re going for, or keep it on hand while you’re designing if you’re going the DIY route. It’s also a good idea to share your brand mood board with everyone in the company to make sure that you’re all on the same page. When you’re doing anything even remotely related to branding (designing graphics, writing copy, etc.), it’s a good idea to have you brand mood board on hand so you can remind yourself of your branding vision. Once you’re done designing something, hold it up to your brand mood board. If it matches, you’re on brand! If not, you need to start over again.
TIPS & TRICKSFinally, I just want to leave you with a few extra tips and tricks for creating and using the perfect brand mood board.
- Create 2-3 mood board options. Although it’s tempting to just design one and go with it, designing a few different options means there will be more chances that one of them totally hits it out of the park. Just don’t forget to choose a final one at the end!
- Never used Photoshop before? Check out this video tutorial on my Facebook page to learn how to use mood board templates.
GET YOUR FREE MOOD BOARD TEMPLATES
Ready to design your own brand mood board? Download these FREE mood board templates by signing up to my newsletter to get started!