In case you missed it, I went into detail about making the decision to rebrand. If rebranding, refreshing, or even if you’re starting from square one, you must create a moodboard to start your design process off right.
Why is a moodboard important? It’s a good practice to have a creative direction early on to use for reference when making any future design or branding decisions. Starting this process without a moodboard is kind of like taking a road trip without a map. You’ll eventually get there, but you’ll end up stressing yourself out more than if you just knew exactly where you were going.
So how do you start? I’m going to take you through five simple steps so you can DIY your moodboard without breaking a sweat!
Here are some keywords to get your wheels turning.
These are only the start, you could probably think of thousands. But reel it in! Pick 3-5 strong keywords that represent your brand, and who it’s for. Once you have these nailed, you can move on to maybe my favourite part.
You know what you want, but are having a hard time articulating it (sound familiar?) This is where visual queues are so helpful to create a moodboard for your new brand. A great place to start when you are trying to nail down your blog or business style is to create a Pinterest board to collect all your images in one place.
When I’m working with a client, I have them start a secret Pinterest board and share it with me. Once they have completed that part of their homework, I then go through the board and pull inspiration that match the answers from their brand and style questionnaire. (Little tip, it’s a good idea to have your brand values nailed down first!)
And while Pinterest is a great resource, don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to the internet alone. Get outside and take a picture of something that speaks to you. Maybe it’s your favourite coffee shop, or some flowers on your daily walk to work. Grab a stack of magazines and thumb through them. Feel free to cut them out and hang them up so you can get a better feel for them.
I do this on the regular, and it’s a game changer having a tactile, physical moodboard I can change with the, well, mood!
Once you have all of your images selected, it’s time to start organizing them. It is important that all the pictures work well together, and there is cohesiveness between them. This is where you may decide to weed out a few images that just don’t flow well.
Once everything starts to come together, you should see a definitive style that is identifiable to anyone. If you’re having doubts, show them to a few friends or family. Even better, a random stranger that knows nothing about you. Like I said, it should be discernible to anyone.
I like to use Adobe Photoshop to create my mood boards, but there are plenty of free and paid programs out there to help you curate your mood board. Typically I just throw all of my images into Photoshop and then start moving them around, kind of like a puzzle. At this point, I may cut out some of those pieces that aren’t fitting stylistically, or crop them down if I want to put more focus on a specific part of the image.
Once you have your images organized, it is time to select your colour palette. These are the colours that you will use throughout your logo, collateral, web design and additional branding, so choose wisely.
At this point, you should start to see a colour trend within your mood board. If all of your images are muted, but you choose a neon palette, it will create confusion within your brand design.
One easy way to select your palette is to upload your current .jpg file to the Adobe Kuler Colour Picker website. You can auto pick from a variety of palettes or customize it yourself. Then, you can add the #HEX or CMYK colours to your mood board.
This is a final piece of advice I give for any and all design work. Sit on it. Walk away. Take a break. Seriously, it’s likely you have been obsessing over these images for days, maybe weeks. You’re elbow deep in it, and now you need to take a step back.
Just for a day, rest your brain and come back to it fresh the next morning. You may find that it is 100% perfect. Or, you may not be as in love with that one shade of green as you were before. Trust your instincts.
Congratulations! You now have a pretty rad moodboard. As you can see, it can be a fun and exciting project. Have you recently had the opportunity to create a mood board for your new brand? I’d love to hear about your experience.
I’m taking on new clients for early summer.
I would love to hear your questions or comments below!