The Building Blocks of a Brand 2: The Mood Board

by | Aug 27, 2017 | Graphic Design

A mood board is a collection of visual elements that convey the feel of a concept. What goes into creating one and why are they so useful?

L ast time we looked how the brand values, concept and audience came together to determine a logo of a brand, you can have a look at that article here:
The Building Blocks of a Brand – 1: The Logo

Today we will be looking at one of the conceptual tools that is definitely not-so-secret, yet still under-utilized in design projects of small to medium businesses; the mood board.

A mood board is a collection of visual elements that convey the feel of a concept.

Let’s break that sentence down a little:

A Concept:

This can be anything from an overall project like the brand itself, to any sub-project under it. A product like a bluetooth speaker for example, a service like carpentry, all the way through to concepts for ad campaigns of a brand, the scale of a concept is endless.

The Feel

What determines what a concept feels like?

  • Materials: What it is made of?
  • Environment: What the environment the concept is in is made of, and how has the environment influenced the materials that the concept is made of?
  • The User: Who are the users, how, when and why do they interact with the concept, and how does that influence the materials that the concept is made of?
  • Interaction: What emotion does interaction with the concept incite in the user?

The Visual Elements

– Colours/Palettes/Gradients
– Textures/Patterns/Finishes
– Vector elements/Illustrations/Animations
– Photos
– Typography elements
– Interactions (physical, interface etc)
– This list could really be anything

Now, let’s apply this general breakdown to a few mock mood boards:

Mood Boards:

Benefits of using Mood boards

Now that we have a better idea of what a mood board consists of and where to look for that information, let’s talk about how mood boards on any scale can benefit your brand. There are definitely many benefits, and I’ve found that they all more or less fit into four categories:

1. Speed

Mood boards are fast to put together and fast to change around, giving you freedom to explore different variations quickly and easily.

2. Clarity

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, and indeed what better way to explore and explain design concepts than with visual communication. Images are processed better and recalled better than words, and span across language, culture and perception barriers.

3. Same Page

With images being easier to process, with arguably less subjectivity than words everyone is on board from the beginning.

4. Big Picture

Showing an overall feel for a concept from the beginning of a design process, in a way that is easy for everyone to understand gives all participators the big picture of the concept. Additionally a mood board’s usefulness continues as a style guide for a brand and a springboard for a brand’s subsequent projects.

Great, let’s recap! We’ve looked at how mood boards benefit your brand, both short and long term, how to find the visuals to convey the feel of a concept and of course, what those visuals can be. Hopefully this guideline will have you asking your designers for more mood boards in the future! Below is the second infographic of this series; a quick summary of everything we discussed in this post.

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