With every branding client, we have a step in our process that includes creating a mood board. A mood board is “an arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text, etc., intended to evoke or project a particular style or concept.” A mood board sums up how you want your brand to look and feel. A mood board consists of images, color, and text that you want to reflect your brand. Some people choose to physically create a mood board with images that they get from a magazine, or get textures from certain fabrics, etc. The other way of creating a mood board is digitally, which is the method I prefer. Once you arrange the images and find ones that are cohesive then you can apply this mood board and it’s elements to your creating your brand.
.01 | foundation of your business
Once I start a conversation with my clients and they fill out my questionnaire, I will begin to have the clients find images that inspire them and reflect their overall vision and that will appeal to their target audience. If you need help finding out who your target audience is read this post. This gives the client a chance to show me how they want their brand to look and how they envision their brand, which means you need to have a foundation to your business prior to creating a mood board. We recommend using our Brand Clarity Workbook before you decide to take this step in the process.
.02 | start with inspiration
My favorite tool for clients to find inspiration is Pinterest and I will have them create a secret board that we both have access to so I can see their choices. I suggest to clients to pin at least 5 website or blog designs that they like, 5 logos that they like, 5 colors that they like, and 5 images that they think represents their brand the best. TIP: These Images are only for inspiration, as you do not want to create something that someone already has done. You might like a picture because of the colors, or you might like a logo because of the way they styled a specific element, so be specific when you pick out images. This is something that you want to discuss and communicate if you are working with a designer.
Once the client is done pinning their images and inspiration, I will begin to look through their pins and you should notice a pattern. There should be a pattern of colors, textures, and texts that tend to correlate with each other and I will place these all in a mood board to represent the overall look and feel.
You can gather images from anywhere but we find that Pinterest makes its the easiest. However, some other places to look for images are Instagram, Dribbble, and Unsplash.
Reminder | When gathering images these should be reflecting what you want your brand to look like but also attracting your target audience. Make sure you’re aligning these images with your target audience.
Once you have found the images that you want, download all of the images into a folder onto your computer.
.03 | create the mood board
I create my mood boards using Photoshop or Illustrator. These make it easy for me to move images around and swap out as needed. If you don’t want to take this step you can keep your private board on Pinterest as your mood board and refer back to it when needed. We like creating a final board and posting it where we can always see it. This ensures that the branding stays in line on all of our projects. So here is a final look at a mood board I have created using Photoshop. (This is also the free template that you can download)
here is how you can create your mood board using our photoshop template
download our free photoshop mood board
When I create a mood board, I will begin with the structure of the mood board and see where I want to place the photos before I actually place them. The good thing about this is that we took the hard part out of this by creating a Photoshop template that you can easily replace the placeholders.
.01 | Open the Photoshop template, it is a square of 2000px x 2000px so that you can easily post it to Instagram if you want. We created the template with Smart Objects so you can place an image and then move on to the next photo. We’re all about saving time around here.
02 | In the layers panel in Photoshop, look for the layer labeled “Square | 01” – This correlates with the square labeled “.01”
Double Click the small icon in the bottom right of the thumbnail to
open a Smart Object. See Diagram Below.
.03 | This will open another Photoshop window and this is where you are going to “Place” or “Drag” the desired photo in that square.
To Place: Go to File > Place Embedded > Locate the desired photo in the folder.
To Drag: Go to the folder of your saved images > click and drag on the desired Photo and drag into Photoshop.
Then go to File > Save and close the window to that Smart Object.
Your image will automatically pop up into the Mood Board:
– Make sure your images reflect your style, tone of voice, and appeal to your target audience and the emotion you want to evoke. If you select an image, make sure you answer why you selected that image.
– You don’t have to use just Pinterest for your inspiration, you can gain inspiration anywhere. I also like to use Instagram and Unsplash.
– Keep your mood board around for all future designs. Whenever I work on my own brand, I pull up my mood board just to make sure that everything I’m designing is inline with my mood board.
– Have fun with it. If you don’t find this part fun, then I would love to help you create a vision that you love. You shouldn’t have to stress about it.
If you don’t have Photoshop they do offer a free 30-day trial, but I suggest you don’t download it until you are ready to start branding your business and already have the foundation set.