Moodboards are one of the most important parts of the initial creative direction for a brand. Moodboards help designers and clients have a mutual understanding of the brand’s aesthetic. Designers use moodboards as a guide to drive their design work and stay aligned with the brand’s desired aesthetic. So, what is a moodboard and how are they created for a brand design project? In this post, I’ll cover what a moodboard is, how I create them, and why they are important for design projects.
Moodboards are a composition of visual elements that convey the creative direction of a brand. They are made of various visual elements such as photos, typefaces, logos, brand marks, textures, and illustrations. These images evoke the feelings the brand wants to achieve. Moodboards show the overarching visual aesthetic and act as the guide for the design. The creative direction provides the rational for why this visual aesthetic is chosen.
From the moodboard, the client has a visual picture for how their visual brand assets will be before any design work has begun. As a result, the client and design are on the same page for the overall brand aesthetic.
Here is an example of a moodboard from a project. What does this moodboard make you feel? What words would you use to describe this brand aesthetic? Check out the key at the end of this post to see if you’re right about the aesthetic’s keywords!
Brand design projects begin with a brand strategy meeting. With the information I learned about the brand, I begin the creative direction for the brand’s visual assets. In the creative direction, I define the brand’s values, adjectives, and target audience. These items become the driving force for the selection and creation of the brand’s visual assets.
After the strategy meeting, I invite the client to a Pinterest Board and ask them to save inspiration here. From their pins, I look for patterns in the pins and select images which speak to the brand’s ‘mood’. The selected images should reflect the brand’s values and adjectives. If there is a major disconnect between the client’s visual direction and the brand’s values, we need to revisit the brand strategy to find alignment.
The moodboard is a curated selection of 9-12 images that align with the brand’s values, adjectives, and target audience. In addition to the moodboard, I include a color palette and several typeface options in the creative direction. This eliminates future approvals and assists me to make design decisions.
Here is another example of a moodboard. What descriptors would you use to describe this brand aesthetic? How do you feel when you see this moodboard? Can you picture how this brand would look different from the first example?
Moodboards are important in brand design because they define the visual aesthetic for the brand. Additionally, moodboards give the designer a direction for creating the brand elements. As a result, this helps to streamline the design process by eliminating any confusion in the visual direction of the assets.
Moodboards are a valuable tool in the design process. By using visual elements, the client is able to visualize how their brand will look and the feelings it will create in their audience. As a designer, I use the moodboard as a reference point when designing the visual elements. I can ask myself, does this align with the brand’s creative direction?
This is the final moodboard example. What emotions does this moodboard evoke? What words would you use to describe this brand aesthetic?
You can see from the three examples, moodboards can play a large role in helping clients to visualize how their brand will look. Check out the keywords for the moodboards below!
Desert Dweller Keywords: light & airy, warm neutrals, effortless, laid back, and cool & casual.
Moody Explorer Keywords: dark & moody, earthy neutrals, exploration & adventure, organic, and warm & inviting.
Coastal Romance Keywords: dramatic, cool neutrals, classic, timeless, elegant, and refined.
Did these moodboards make you think of these descriptors? Let me know in the comments below!
Enjoyed this article on moodboards? Check out this article on how to create intentional brand touchpoints!
Check out our Strategic Branding and Web Design Services
From developing strategy and brand assets to implementation education, we provide the tools and knowledge for businesses to confidently implement their branding and create an elevated experience for their audience. You know your vision, we bring it to life.