In The Mood For Mood Boards
We call it a mood board. You may call it an inspiration board or a vision board. If you’re referring to the collage of imagery to convey an idea, feeling or style, we’re on the same page.
To the blind eye, these mood boards may look like a bunch of images cobbled together. In actuality, these are highly curated pieces that serve as the benchmark for all visual identity for a brand. But how do they come together? We asked our two graphic designers, Josh and Cate, about their thoughts, strategies and inspirations for creating these pivotal boards.
Like any other creative medium, mood boards begin as a blank slate staring back at you. Casting a wide net at first by looking for relevant terms and feelings on web image searches and especially Pinterest, Cate gathers as much inspo as she possibly can. The mood board is in its beginning stages, with an amalgamation of abstract and literal images across countless different iterations.
The second step is curation. Josh approaches this all-important stage with the goal of consolidating what’s in both the client’s and designer’s head. It’s an extremely important litmus test to dial in on what everyone wants in a visual format. Cate focuses on balancing between styles and eras, graphics and photography, and time and place.
Mood boards are a keystone, connecting the discovery and research phase with the visual identity phase. The feedback we receive on our Brand Sentiment exercise during the discovery meeting is Josh’s compass. He implements as many themes as possible from our initial discussions. Every aspect of the images should reflect a feeling of the client’s, from subject matter to stylistic approach to colors. And he wants to surprise them with something new, of course.
But how do you know when a mood board is done? Cate equated mood boards to a movie trailer. If the brand was a film and she was giving a sneak peek, what are the central themes, subjects, settings, eras, colors and more? And does it tell a story?
Josh called mood boards arguably the most important deliverable in the designer’s journey to creating a brand. It lays the foundation in which to return for inspiration dozens of times throughout the process.
We love mood boards so much, we decided to apply these strategies and inspirations to ourselves in our new social features. You can get to know everyone at B&Co. a little better through their own self-reflection in images. If we did a good job, you’d be compelled to see the full movie as well.