Why Mood Boards matter
A Mood Board is a visual representation of a particular topic in the form of a collage of photographs, illustrations, fonts, colors, etc. The images work together to create a mood or convey an idea. Mood Boards are one of the most underestimated and overlooked aspects of graphic design. In the context of corporate identity design, a Mood Board is the foundation of the creative process, and no logo design should ever be attempted without one.
Why are Mood Boards so essential?
1. They inspire. A well-put-together Mood Board is half the idea generation work done. As a designer, it allows you to come up with more diverse creative directions and original ideas.
As I create a mood board at the beginning of a corporate identity assignment, I am able to do more in-depth research on the brand I am working with, their product, and industry. By searching for visuals that represent the central theme behind the brand, I can connect the dots between different aspects of the brand and develop a more creative approach to the logo and visual identity.
2. Facilitate early communication between client and designer. Mood Boards help designers get on the same page with clients about the initial look & feel of the brand very early on, before even creating initial design concepts. Mood Boards are excellent early check-in points for your client to give initial feedback – the earlier you receive corrective feedback, the less time wasted on developing ideas your client doesn’t dig. It’s better to pivot in the creative direction at the beginning of the project than start from scratch after you have created the final logo concept. Besides, your client will be more impressed with your work if you nail the logo from the first attempt.
Creating a Mood Board is very helpful because it allows you to discuss ideas visually. The exploratory call you had with your client and your design questionnaire are often not enough to communicate ideas in the beginning so that both parties agree on the goals and direction of the project. You also need to get your ideas across visually since images better communicate design concepts than words.
3. Mood Boards ensure consistency. Designers often tend to get sidetracked into creative directions that are not relevant to the brand. Being creative is about exploring uncharted territories and not being afraid to experiment but being an effective designer is also about following the brief and solving your client’s problem.
Having a mood board by your side is a great way to stay close to the project brief and specs. Whenever you feel lost in the creative process, you can always come back to the mood board to ensure that the concept you are developing is relevant and consistent.
How I go about creating a Mood Board
The exploratory call and design questionnaire are the first steps in my corporate identity process. (You can learn more about my process here). After I get all the specs from the client and ask all the right questions about their brand and design needs, I start putting together a collection of images, fonts, and color palettes that turn the project brief into a visual story.
I scour the internet for photos, fonts, illustrations, color schemes, patterns, and symbols that represent the brand. I use word mapping to come up with keywords to help me search for graphic content related to the brand theme. I then sift through the images and only keep the ones that represent the brand best and combine them into a neat grid type of mosaic.
When I am ready, I send the Mood Board to the client for feedback, together with a list of keywords and core values associated with the brand. I ask them to highlight the images they particularly like and outline those parts that don’t resonate with them. Not only does the Mood Board help tremendously to get feedback early and avoid mistakes, but it reflects the brief to the client and sets them at ease – they feel heard and understood.