Brand moodboards are a great starting point when thinking about your brand's visual identity. A moodboard is also the first step in my own brand design process when I begin working with a client. Brand moodboards are a great way to establish the tone from the outset and allow you to get clear on what you do what and crucially what you don't want.
Here I'll show you what moodboards are, why you need one for your business, what yours should include, and where to find inspiration. I've also created a template for you to make it super simple to make your own, that you can edit in Adobe InDesign or Illustrator.
Get your free brand moodboard template here.
1. What is a Brand Moodboard?
A brand moodboard is the first step in creating your brand's visual identity. It allows you to think creatively and select images, textures, typography and colours that represent your unique brand. It helps you to clarify WHAT your brand is (your vision, ethics, personality) and what it is NOT.
Simply put you want to attract your target audience and repel everyone else.
2. Why Do I Need A Moodboard?
I always use moodboards from the outset when working with clients as it allows me to get a sense of tone, style and focus for the brand.The moodboard should be a unified selection of graphics that sum up the brand's vision. Whether you're working with a designer or creating your brand yourself, you need to understand the importance of a cohesive theme and how it affects your brand recognition.
I talk about brand recognition and developing your brand style guide further in this post.
Developing a brand moodboard also allows you to get super focused on what you want from your brand - now and in the future. I can't emphasise enough the importance of creating a succinct and powerful brand from the beginning. First impressions count for EVERYTHING. It's how your audience decides whether to return to you or not.
3. What Should Be Included?
A moodboard is a culmination of the visual aspects of what makes your brand unique. Therefore, I like to include a few different elements to my client brand moodboards and suggest you do the same (only if it's appropriate for your brand).
Whether you choose to create a brand moodboard on paper or on screen, images are at the epicentre of the creative process. They are the glue that defines the style and tone of your brand.
You may think images and graphics are the same thing - they aren't. Graphics are images such as icons that give your branding character & functionality (especially important when creating your website).
Textures are extremely viseral and allow your audience to 'feel with their eyes' so to speak. They give your brand emotion and uniqueness and can be used throughout your branding, website and online presence.
On your moodboard, this is just a snippet of the typography that resonates with your brand (this is expanded further in your brand style guide).
The colours you use will come through from the images, graphics and textures you’ve chosen, so ensure they compliment each other and are cohesive.
4. Where Can I Find Moodboard Inspiration?
When I start working on a new client's brand and website design, I ask them to set up a secret Pinterest board and fill it with the images, typography, textures and colour inspiration that they see for their new brand. I suggest you do this too as a basis for your branding and to see what you like and what fits in with your brand's vision and messaging.
Remember the images on Pinterest can't be used for commercial purposes without the owner's permission but they're a great resource for developing your brand's moodboard, which can then be incorporated into your brand style guide.
If you decide to get pen & paper creative (something I looove), then you can find inspiration from magazines, books, posters, fabric, swatches etc and create an actual cork moodboard.