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Web Design
3 min read

The Power of Mood Boards

Have you ever looked at a company logo or website and instantly gotten a sense of who they are? That's the magic of creative direction – using visual elements to tell a brand's story.

But how do designers translate that story into something tangible? The answer lies in the power of mood boards.

Visual Storytelling: Why it Matters

Visual design isn't just about aesthetics; it's about creating an emotional connection with your audience. Every element, from your logo to your colour palette, contributes to this narrative. A well-crafted brand identity ensures the "outside" (visuals) reflects the "inside" (brand personality).

Building a Mood Board: A Step-by-Step Guide

Mood boards are the foundation for strong creative direction. Here's how designers use them to bring a brand's vision to life:

Step 1: Brainstorming Through a "Word Dump"

This is where ideas take flight! We start by listing words that capture the essence of the brand:

  • Attributes: Who is the brand? What are its personality traits?
  • Audience: Who are they trying to reach? (Think buyer personas)
  • Feel: What emotions do they want to evoke?
  • Competitors: Who are the major players in their field?
Step 2: Pursuit of Design Inspiration

Now it's time to gather visual inspiration. We explore various sources:

  • Colour: The right colours set the mood.
  • Typography: Fonts can convey professionalism, playfulness, or anything in between.
  • Imagery & Illustration: Photos and graphics help tell the brand story visually.
  • Patterns & Textures: These elements add depth and personality.
  • Logo Styles: Exploring different logo styles helps narrow down the ideal direction.

Here are some of our go-to resources:

  • Online Platforms: Behance, Dribbble, Pinterest
  • Competitor Research: Analysing competitor websites for inspiration (both direct and indirect).
  • Thinking Outside the Box: Design thrives on inspiration from unexpected places. Sometimes a break from design can spark that "aha!" moment.

We typically save our finds on Pinterest boards or designated folders for easy reference.

Step 3: Designing Mood Boards

With a treasure trove of inspiration, we start narrowing things down:

  • Mood Board Magic: We revisit our saved images and carefully select those that best reflect the brand's identity.
  • Software Savvy: Using design software like Adobe Illustrator, we arrange the chosen elements into a mood board layout.
Color Harmony & Font Selection

Mood Boards also guide colour palette development. We often use Adobe Colour to generate a core palette based on key images within the mood board. This becomes the foundation for further exploration and refinement.

Similarly, mood boards inform font selection. We might choose a unique headline font to grab attention, while opting for a more standard, readable font for body text.

Step 4: Presenting Choices & Moving Forward

The final stage involves presenting the client with 2-3 refined mood boards, each offering a unique take on the brand's personality.  These mood boards typically follow a 3x3 grid layout for optimal visual impact.

The Client Connection & Beyond

Once the client approves a mood board direction, we can move forward with creating a comprehensive brand style guide. This guide outlines the official brand elements, including:

  • Logos
  • Graphics
  • Colours
  • Typography
  • Image Filters

The ultimate goal? To ensure the brand's visual identity resonates with its target audience, leaving a lasting positive impression. After all, a brand story told well is a brand story remembered.

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