When you’re collecting visuals, such as images or graphics for your brand there are hundreds of different options to choose from. And while you probably have a good sense of what you like, all these different images might not always create a very cohesive picture. This is where a moodboard can be a very helpful tool to organise and curate all your visuals in one place.
What is a moodboard?
A moodboard is a collection of visuals that work as a guide to how your brand should look like and how they should make your audience feel. It will work as a reference for the visual direction of your brand. Different from a vision board, it tells you more about your brand’s aesthetic than referring to future goals or dreams. You can use it as a reference guide when you’re searching for photos to post on your social media, or when you’re designing your visuals for your brand.
Why do you need a moodboard?
When you’re just starting out you might have no clue of what the visual direction of your brand should be. Or you have tons of ideas and have collected different types of visuals, but you get overwhelmed with what choice to make. A moodboard will help you to organize and visualize all these ideas and determine which ones make most sense for your brand.
Secondly a moodboard also makes it much easier when you work with a designer or your team, to have everyone on the same page. You can give your moodboard to a graphic designer so she can see what your ‘brand feel’ is, and create corresponding designs. Or showing your moodboard to your team is a much quicker way to explain your vision or idea.
Ultimately it saves you a lot of time. If you’re in a pinch to choose a photo for your Instagram photo for example, you can refer to the moodboard. You can easily see what type of photo you need to find and don’t have to start all over again spending a lot of time searching for the right photo. This way you’ll have more time to work on other things in your business, and it’s also easier to find a cohesive look.
What to put on a moodboard
When you make a moodboard you normally think of putting photos on it. But to create a more comprehensive moodboard you can also think about putting colors, typography, illustrations and graphic design elements such as shapes and patterns on it.
How to actually create your moodboard
Step 1: define your 3 tone words
Creating a moodboard starts with knowing your brand personality. A brand personality consists of 3 to 5 tone words that describe the personality of your brand.
For example, a yoga studio that describes its personality as minimal, pure and organic.
Step 2: elaborate on your tone words
When you have your tone words, find 5 to 6 word associations. So, brainstorm for each word what it means to you, what it looks like and focus on how it should feel. Also write down what colours you think fit that best.
For example: it feels like walking through a forest, the smell of fresh herbs and the touch of running earth through your fingers. White and green.
Step 3: find your images
You can basically find images everywhere, Google or Pinterest, or find images on free stock photo websites. To find images that go with your description, type in words from your description and then add these search words:
For example, type in: ‘fresh herbs + photography’, or ‘forest + images’ or ‘organic patterns + design’. Choose the images that you get excited about and associate most with. Are you typing in your descriptions but can’t find the images you like, try to find synonyms for each word. For example, ‘organic’ can also be described as ‘natural’.
Step 4: making your moodboard
The last step is to actually make your moodboard. There are several ways to do this.
- Pinterest. If you’ve found all your images on Pinterest, it’s just a matter of creating a board in Pinterest and then adding your pins to it.
- GoMoodboard. If you’ve collected images from different places, I like to use a free website called GoMoodboard (http://www.gomoodboard.com/) to upload all the collected photos and it will automatically create a moodboard.
- Canva. Canva is also an easy way to create a moodboard. You can find moodboard templates in their library. Upload all the photos you found and simply drag them into your moodboard template.
Choosing the right images from millions of different photos that you find online, can be daunting. But a moodboard can help you determine the visual direction of your brand. It will remind you and your team what your brand is about and how it should feel. This will make it much easier to make decisions and create a brand that people can recognize as your brand.