What is a Mood Board
A mood board (or and inspiration board) is a collage of imagery that you use to inspire the look and feel of your project/service/business.
Why is a Mood Board important?
For starters, if you try to brand something as big as a business without one, the finished product is going to look messy or undone.
If you made your brand personified, the mood board is essentially a list of their favorite things. What kind of clothes they wear, car they own, house they have, etc. If you saw all of this about a person, you would be able to assume that you know the type of person they are.
It is the same thing with your brand. Someone should be able to look at your branding on anything and be able to know more about your business without having to see it all.
Using a mood board is a good litmus test to see if your creation looks and feels the way that you had originally intended. Consistency is the most important part of the branding and the best way to stay consistent is to have a roadmap or key on how you are going to do it.
This will also help when you are further down the road in your business and have new ideas, you can hold it up to your mood board and see if it is a good fit or if that idea should be written down and put out of sight and mind.
Of course, that means we need to create one first, so let’s look more into that.
Steps to Creating a Mood Board
First, you need a list of adjectives to describe what you want your customer or client to see when they look at your business. Do you want to be luxurious or approachable? Feminine or Masculine? Young or established? Elegant or fun? etc.
List as many as you want and read through it to make sure that you don’t contradict yourself.
This is the first step to branding and when you will have to start making decisions. Now we can take this list and make more decisions about aspects of our branding like fonts, colors, etc.
Second, I recommend Pinterest. There is SO much on there and the algorithms work in your favor if you are looking for similar images. You can create a board that is specifically for this project and get started.
To find images that work, take an adjective from your list and plug them in and add the word “aesthetic” after it. Press enter and start scrolling. Add anything that you feel attracted to when it comes to what your business should look like.
The cool thing is that you don’t just have to save business card designs you like for your business. Maybe a storefront or coffee mug will trigger a response. Save those! The best part about this is that you don’t have to be so literal.
Keep trying your adjectives and add “aesthetic” or “design” at the end to see what comes up. Generally, I’ll think I know what I want, but after a fun rabbit hole dive of Pinterest, I find that I deleted all of my original pins and created something I love.
Which brings us to our next step.
Editing your Pinterest Board can be tough. I want to make sure you know that it is totally okay to like something but not incorporate it into your brand.
For example, I love the boldness of the color red. You will, however, never find it on my website. Why? Because the feel of my color palette does not work with red.
Go to your board and scan through it really quick. Delete anything that does not look like the others.
Now, go into the ones that you feel like are just perfect. How that photo feels is exactly how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business. Analyze why you like it. Write down some keywords and phrases that come to mind.
Then, go through the rest of your pins on that board and see if they also fit those key phrases. If they don’t get rid of them. The goal is to simplify!
And that’s it! You have your mood board. If you want to take it a step further, you can put the best images into a template on Canva or just paste them into Microsoft Word.
When I work with my clients, who are looking to create an experience for their online course that is so on-brand it hurts, I make them a custom mood board PDF that includes their mission statement and logo. This is a professional, tangible resource that they can use in the future.