What is a mood board & why do I need one?
A mood board sets the tone for your design project and your branding. Mood boards can be simple or they can be very detailed, but basically, a mood board is a collage of colors and photos that are a visual representation of your brand. The mood board is not meant to be include everything in your branding. It’s the vision for your overall brand.
The name says it all really. It sets the mood. It’s a tool to get clear on the tone and colors that you want to represent your business. It’s a chance to stir up your creativity and really play with what your brand story looks like.
What are the words you use to describe your brand? Or what are the feelings you want your audience to feel when they interact with you and your brand? You want those words and feelings to be a part of everything you do. From your logo to your website to your Instagram feed.
For example, if your brand words include relaxed or peaceful. You want to look for imagery that conveys those feelings. You wouldn’t want to include bright, jarring images or colors. But if your brand words are exciting and bold you would want those bright, lively photos.
The photos on your mood board do not need to be photos you will necessarily use in your marketing unless they are photos you own and have a license to use. You can grab photos for your mood board anywhere, Pinterest, social media, or Google.
You can fall in love with one photo that has the colors you love and build around that. I am often inspired by clothes I see shopping or even on TV. Magazines and advertising are full of inspiration. Pay closer attention to those commercials while watching your favorite shows and make a note or snap a picture with your phone when something jumps out to you.
What is the secret to a successful branding project?
Emotion. Use your mood board to visually communicate the emotion you want to convey, both to yourself as the business owner and your audience, readers, customers, or clients. Brand loyalty starts with YOU! You have to love it first so you are excited to work on your business every day. Can you imagine creating Instagram graphics with colors and imagery that you don’t love?
When you feel the emotion then you are ready to share your vision. Use your mood board to stay consistent with your content. It should provide clarity.
How to create your mood board
Canva! It’s free and easy and most importantly fun! Search for Mood Board templates and you will find many to choose from. Swap out the photos for ones that speak to you. Tip: Search for your brand words or colors. Canva has a ton of photos that you can use for free. Or if you have photos you would like to use you can upload them to use.
Once you have a few photos chosen you can select colors from them. If your template included color swatches change them to colors in the photos. Or if you already have your brand colors chosen add them and see how they feel with your photo selections. This is where it gets fun and you can really let your creative side come out to play.
Change is inevitable
Feel free to change your mind and your direction. If you’re not in love with your mood board a few months down the road…edit. No one says you have to be married to your mood board forever.
That is the beauty of owning our own businesses. We get to make the rules and we get to change our minds and direction. Use the mood board creation as an exercise whenever you want to tweak the direction of your brand. A change doesn’t necessarily mean you need to rebrand or redesign your website but maybe it would redirect your voice or imagery on social media.
Most of all remember it’s a fun, visual expression of your brand and your vision. No need to get all precious about it being perfect or that you are locked into that vision forever. Try some new things and let the creativity flow.