What is your brand trying to say? What logo will suit your company? What photos can reflect your brand personality in the most accurate way? If you struggle with answering these questions, you absolutely need a mood board. A mood board is a set of images, words, citations, and other content that can help you visualize and articulate your ideas. Read on to find out how to use mood boards to your business’s advantage.
- What is a mood board?
- What do mood boards contain?
- How to choose the right content for your mood board
- How to create a mood board online and offline
What is a mood board?
When working on something creative, you may find it hard to express certain ideas, especially if you’re faced with a new topic or task. When you’re just starting off, your initial suggestions may sound pretty vague, e.g.:
- “We need retro illustrations.”
- “Our logo must say that we’re better than our competitors.”
- “We need a website design that would look modern and edgy.”
The problem is that these ideas are indistinct and can mean different things to different people. To specify and clarify your thoughts, you can use images, colors, geometric shapes, fonts, and other graphic elements that convey a certain mood. A mood board is a collage consisting of visual elements that evoke the same associations and feelings. Mood boards can be both digital and physical.
Mood boards are widely used by graphic designers, painters, fashion designers, makeup artists, wedding photographers, etc. A mood board serves a number of purposes.
- Reference point. You want to create a smart brand identity but don’t know how to transcend your message? A mood board can help you convey your ideas using visual content. Put together an array of graphics, fonts, textures, etc. that relate to your brand and think about what they have in common. That will be a great starting point for your further work.
- Communication. Even if you have a clear understanding of your brand’s personality, values, and vibe, you may still have a hard time communicating them to your team or outsourced professionals, such as photographers or designers. In this tricky situation, a mood board can help you get your ideas through.
- Guiding concept. Not only does a high-quality mood board spare your time, but it also can guide you in your creative endeavors. Even if you started a project with a clear vision of where you’re headed, you may still lose your focus as you’re progressing. To avoid this, be sure to consult a mood board every step of the way.
What do mood boards contain?
Whether you’re developing a website or organizing a workflow, your mood board must contain a certain combination of artistic elements. Don’t pressure yourself into using all of them at once. Pick the elements that reflect the essence of your project in the best way.
Choose photos and images that create certain associations and put viewers in the right mood. Think outside the box! If, for example, you own a car rental service, don’t be too hasty to cram your mood board with car images. Instead, search for visual metaphors for freedom, safety, and vibrant emotions.
Where to find the best images:
- photo banks (Unsplash, Pixabay, Depositphotos, etc.);
- your own photo library;
- Google search by images;
- newspapers, magazines, and other printed materials.
For your mood board, use the shades that convey the same emotions as your brand. By the way, we have a dedicated article on the psychology of colors. You can’t possibly miss it!
Where to find the best colors:
- websites with color palettes (Colorhunt, Coolors, Colrd, and others);
- colors of the items that you’re working with (interior decorations, mobile app, clothing, etc.).
Just as with colors, each font sends a certain message and brings forth certain associations. Curious to unravel the secrets of typography? Read our insightful interview with a professional font designer!
Where to find the best fonts:
- font libraries (MyFonts, Google Fonts, and others);
- search websites, ads, magazines, and other sources for unusual typography solutions
Words and phrases
Powerful words and inspiring citations can also give you a hand in expressing your ideas.
Where to find:
- make a list of words and phrases that associate with your project or brand;
- go to Google or Pinterest and search for “keyword + quote” to get images with inspiring quotes.
Fabric, paper, leather, wood or metal? Soft or hard? Smooth or rough? Think about what textures characterize your brand or project. Find the images of textures that you have in mind. If your mood board is a physical one, you can pin down snippets of fabric, pieces of wood, and other materials to it.
Where to find:
- pay attention to objects, surfaces, and materials around you.
Geometry and patterns
Each geometrical shape has its unique meaning. While some geometric forms are associated with energy and constant movement, others stand for balance and harmony. To dive deeper into the topic, check out our article on the psychology of geometric forms.
Where to find:
- go to designer websites (Dribbble, Behance, etc.) to draw inspiration from geometry, colors, fonts, and other design elements
Audio & video
If you associate your project or brand with certain songs, memes, videos, etc., don’t hesitate to add them to your mood board.
Where to find:
- online libraries (Giphy for GIFs, Soundcloud for audio, and YouTube for videos).
How to choose the right content for your mood board
Creating a mood board is not just gathering the images, fonts, and textures that you like in one place. It’s much more complicated than that. Let’s take a closer look at how to put together a good mood board. Let’s imagine that we’re creating a mood board which is meant to help us develop a brand identity.
- Identify your brand personality. Describe your business as if it were a person. Talk about their appearance, personal traits, values, habits, talents, and unique characteristics.
- Study your target audience. Who are your target audience? What are their needs, interests, and fears? Create a profile of your average customer. What is their name? Where do they live? What do they do for a living? What pain points do they have?
- Be consistent. The first two bullet points on this list are crucial to creating an effective mood board that would reflect the core of your brand. When adding a new element to your mood board, make sure it resonates with your brand and your audience’s interests.
- Keep searching. Draw inspiration from everywhere, both online and offline. Pay attention to the world around you when you take a walk, meet with friends, go grocery shopping, go to a museum, etc. Focus on colors, shapes, textures, sounds, and scents. With an approach as thorough as this, you’re sure to find the right visual direction for your brand.
- Systemize. Once you’ve gathered enough content, you need to systemize it. Remove the elements that don’t fit into the overall concept or duplicate each other. If your elements are too random, you should split them into two or three mood boards and then pick the best one.
- Use your mood board. Now you have all the source materials needed to envision your brand identity. With ZenBusiness, developing a clever brand identity is a matter of minutes. Enter your brand name, and ZenBusiness will offer dozens of logos, colors, and fonts for your business. The rest is simple! Use your mood board to choose the color scheme, typography solutions, and geometry that suit you best.
How to create a mood board online and offline
Online mood board or a physical one on the wall? Which one works best for you? Whichever option you choose, we have smart tools that will help you create a head-turning mood board!
- Pinterest. Pinterest is a popular social platform that relies heavily on visual content. Search images by keywords and pin them to theme-based boards. Pinterest users have mood boards to fit any topic, from “Animals”, to “Holiday season”, to “Inspiring quotes”.
- GoMoodboard. Create a mood board from scratch or use beautiful templates and fill them with the content you like. Each board has a commentary section where you can talk about the ideas and inspiration behind your creative work.
- Canva. Canva has a huge library of ready-to-use mood boards which can be sorted by theme and aesthetics. Pick the board that caught your eye and enhance it with your content!
- Moodzer. Moodzer is a simple tool for creating beautiful collages. It’s the ultimate collage maker that allows you to apply filters, add your own types, and manipulate your images in any way you like.
- Milanote. Thanks to the intuitive drag and drop interface, you can arrange your contents in whatever way you like. Add your own files (JPG, PDF, Word, Excel, etc.), Internet links, and smartphone notes. Work alone or collaborate with your team.
Take a classic cork board or a grid memo board with clips. Pin down magazine cutouts, photos, pieces of fabric, patterns, geometric forms, etc. to your board and hang it on the wall.
Creating a mood board is a great solution that can help you with a variety of personal and business projects. In addition to being an endless source of inspiration, a mood board can facilitate communication and speed up your work process. Outline the message that you want to send and gather the right content for your mood board. For better results, discuss your mood board with your team and other professionals you’re working with.