I start almost every creative project with a mood board. As an extremely visual person, it helps me to see colors, fonts, and photographs in front of me in a sort of collage before I start designing the visual identity for a brand. Branding is a combination of visual aesthetics and strategy and I find it immensely helpful to start client projects by creating these digital collages which help merge the two. Not only do they ensure my clients and I are on the same page, they serve as a great reference point throughout the project to ensure that the "mood" we are going for is achieved.
Great branding makes you feel something. It's a visceral and emotional experience. Mood boards are a great way to brainstorm, visualize, and play. Let's talk about how to create a great one.
Moodboards can be created using Canva, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or other digital collage makers
START BY COLLECTING INSPIRATION
Pinterest and Instagram are my go-to sources for mood board inspiration. I screenshot images that inspire me and the project I'm working on in some capacity. So, for example, if I was branding an Ice Cream Shop, I would search related hashtags on Instagram and browse Pinterest looking for color palettes, logos, fonts, and photographs that reflect the style I am after. No need to stay strictly within your industry either. If a clothing company has cool branding they can be included in our ice cream shop mood board. The idea is to gather inspiration, discover your style, and get in the habit of looking for inspiration around you.
Also consider creating an album on your phone and taking pictures of inspiration around you. I have an album on my phone with everything from sock patterns, snack labels, and clothing logos that inspired me in some way.
SORT & CHOOSE FAVORITES
Now it's time to go through your virtual stack of inspo images. Notice which things are similar. What things are you consistently drawn to? Which things are your favorites? In the case of small business branding, you'd also want to infuse target audience strategy into this. You want your branding choices to speak directly your ideal client or customer. Ask yourself: Who would be most thrilled about my products or services? How can I capture their attention through my branding?
ASSEMBLE YOUR COLLAGE
Now using your platform of choice, you can begin layering the images, fonts, and colors that represent your project's ideal style. Platforms such as Canva, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop are great for this--with lots of free mood board templates available from a quick google search.
USE YOUR BOARD AS A LAUNCHING POINT
Use your finished mood board as a starting point for your identity design. Trust the creative process and don't be afraid to tweak things as new ideas emerge.