How to Create a Mood Board For Your Brand
In the last tips and tricks post, I talked about deciding to rebrand. If you've made it through the decision process, or even if you are just starting from scratch, you need to create a mood board to start your design process off right.
Why is a mood board important? It's a good practice to set a style early on to use for reference when you make future branding decisions. Starting this process without a mood board is kind of like taking a road trip without a map. You'll eventually get there, but you’ll end up stressing yourself out more than if you just knew exactly where you were going.
So how do you start? I'm going to take you through a few simple steps so you can create a mood board for your new brand.
FIND YOUR INSPIRATION
Most people know what they want, but often have a hard time articulating it (sound familiar?) This is where visual queues are so helpful to create a mood board for your new brand. A great place to start when you are trying to nail down your blog or business style is to create a Pinterest board to collect all your images in one place.
When I'm working with a client, I have them start a secret Pinterest board and share it with me. Once they have completed that part of their homework, I then go through the board and like the photos that I think match the answers from their brand and style questionnaire best. (Little tip, it’s a good idea to have your brand values nailed down first!)
And while Pinterest is a great resource, don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to the internet alone. Get outside and take a picture of something that speaks to you. Maybe it’s your favourite coffee shop, or some flowers on your daily walk to work. Grab a stack of design or fashion magazines and thumb through them. Feel free to cut them out and hang them up so you can get a better feel for them.
ORGANIZE YOUR IMAGES
Once you have all of your images selected, it’s time to start organizing them. It is important that all the pictures work well together, and there is cohesiveness between them. This is where you may decide to weed out a few images that just don’t flow well.
Once everything starts to come together, you should see a definitive style that is identifiable to anyone. If you’re having doubts, show them to a few friends or family. Even better, a random stranger that knows nothing about you. Like I said, it should be discernible to anyone.
I like to use Adobe Photoshop to create my mood boards, but there are plenty of free and paid programs out there to help you curate your mood board. Typically I just throw all of my images into Photoshop and then start moving them around, kind of like a puzzle. At this point, I may cut out some of those pieces that aren’t fitting stylistically, or crop them down if I want to put more focus on a specific part of the image.
SELECT YOUR COLOURS
Once you have your images organized, it is time to select your colour palette. These are the colours that you will use throughout your logo, collateral, web design and additional branding, so choose wisely.
At this point, you should start to see a colour trend within your mood board. If all of your images are muted, but you choose a neon palette, it will create confusion within your brand design.
One easy way to select your palette is to upload your current .jpg file to the Adobe Kuler Colour Picker website. You can auto pick from a variety of palettes or customize it yourself. Then, you can add the #HEX or CMYK colours to your mood board.
SIT ON IT
This is a final piece of advice I give for any and all design work. Sit on it. Walk away and take a break. Seriously, it’s likely you have been obsessing over these images for days, maybe weeks. You’re elbow deep into it, and now you need to take a step back.
Just for a day, rest your brain and come back to it fresh the next morning. You may find that it is 100% perfect. Or, you may not be as in love with that one shade of yellow as you were before. Trust your instincts.
Congratulations! You now have a pretty rad mood board. As you can see, it can be a fun and exciting project. Have you recently had the opportunity to create a mood board for your new brand? I'd love to hear about your experience.
STILL HAVING TROUBLE GETTING YOUR NEW BRAND OFF THE GROUND?
I'm taking on new clients for early summer 2015.