If you’re not a designer you may think creating mood boards is an unimportant design exercise. Be assured, mood boards are huge time savers when it comes to:

1) getting on the same page with everyone on your team (head of marketing, designers, copywriters & developers) before a project start,

2) onboarding new team members, and

3) making strategic and executional decisions and counter-checking details throughout the project.

Mood boards are relatively quick to make, much quicker than going through color changes or even more substantial strategic or design updates later in any branding or marketing-related process.

In fact, you can actually use them for anything: mood boards are visual brainstormings. What does your target audience look like? What publications do they read? What colors should a brand have? Lines, shapes, anything really. Abstract thoughts, indirect details and personal insights will open up interesting shortcuts when doing this exercise.

A Mood Board Says More Than a 1000 Words

Words are aiming to paint a picture to begin with. Mood boards certainly give you a different angle than 1000 words. It asks for associations.

The human mind can grasp something much quicker and better when it’s visual—as opposed to word clouds or long paragraphs. Creating mood boards has been a part of design tradition. They resonate easily with everyone who’s sitting at the table discussing their thoughts on the brand.

Here are a few mood boards we made for A Women’s Thing magazine:

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Mood Boards Tell a Story

One good image tells a story. A series of images give more details on the story.

Looking at a mood board every time a new project starts is an easy way to discuss various angles: What do you want your brand or project to feel like? A photo of your stereotypical target demographic, things s/he’s interested in, images of their world, possible colors and typefaces. What does the competition look like? What do you like about their approach? Sit down with all the people who will have a say, discuss if the images have the same meaning to them as they do to you. See how visuals correlate with one another and eliminate the ones that you feel like aren’t working at this stage already. Every single image on the mood board needs to add value to the overall understanding and it needs to mean the same to everyone on the team.

Here’s a good tool for making a mood board. Alternatively, even in our digital world, agencies still dedicate office walls to project mood boards where everyone can pin an image and add comments to when passing by the board. And if you need help developing your brand strategy or any brand visuals send us an email. We’d love to hear from you!