So you’re launching a new brand.
Or maybe you’re rebranding for a new launch.
Either way, you probably need some creative inspiration to help guide you. How can you convey the perfect blend of sophisticated meets adventurous meets hardworking professional?
A moodboard is the answer.
A moodboard is a collage of colors, fonts, and images that describes your brand’s look and feel in a way that words can’t on their own. It can help guide ongoing design decisions and even inspire future business decisions.
Why do I need a moodboard?
A good moodboard expresses your brand visually. Think of it as the first step toward your brand guidelines!
A good moodboard can be used to direct the look and feel of your:
- Social media profiles
- Website design
- A brick and mortar space
- Online shop experience
- Newsletter and other content
- Product packaging
- Event design
- Your overall design aesthetic
Says Lieu, a moodboard is “an integral resource to refer back to as you DIY, or work with your growing team to convey your brand to your photographer, designer, or for partnerships/sponsors. No matter if someone finds you on social, or your website, or in-person via ZOOM or events, that’s the power of a brand-360 and conveying those brand values through your visual communications.”
So, how do I make a great moodboard?
Let’s get into the key steps you must take to build out a moodboard from scratch!
1. First, start by brainstorming a theme or concept.
You want to start with some focus lest your moodboard look like a tornado dressed it this morning. Jot down on a piece of paper the following things:
- A feeling you want to get when you look at your moodboard
- Words you want to associate with people’s experience of your brand
- A general creative direction: fun, minimal, vintage, modern, etc.
With these notes, you’ll have a sense of direction when pulling your moodboard visuals. If you’re not sure where to start, look to other brands that are similar to yours or where you want your brand’s direction to go.
2. Next, collect the images you’d like to represent your brand.
Remember the good old days when you’d make a collage by cutting up magazines and gluing your favorite clippings onto a big piece of cardstock paper?
Putting together a great moodboard starts with collecting images. You can do this the old fashioned way by going through magazines and flyers, and cutting and sticking ideas to a wall or corkboard. Or you can do it digitally, using an app like Pinterest or Canva.
Allow yourself to get messy and think outside the box! While there are no limits, these are things you can add to your moodboard:
- Images from fashion photo-shoots
- Travel scenes
- Personal photos that ground your values or your “why”
- Scenes from your favorite movies
- Color swatches
- Textures or patterns
- Song lyrics
- Quotes from books, movies, or people
- Website and app layouts
Don’t filter yourself! Collect anything and everything that resembles your initial notes—you’ll be curating it later.
This is also your chance to think about your brand’s fonts and logo. If you don’t already have chosen fonts in your brand identity, use the moodboard as a way to pick fonts that convey your brand’s character. If you don’t already have a logo, maybe your moodboard will inspire one!
3. Now, curate the images and clippings you have collected.
Stand back and take a look at the material you’ve pulled. At this stage you’re looking for things that complement each other and create a sense of harmony.
There should be one or two color palettes that stand out. You can get these by pulling three to five colors from the images to create a color palette that best represents your brand. If you’re using a physical board, you could even pull fabric or paint swatches to create a color palette. Display your fonts and logo, if you have one, too.
At the end of the process, this is what should remain on your moodboard:
- 5-10 images that best capture that original concept you wrote down
- 2-3 fonts that best articulate your brand personality
- 1-3 words that best capture your brand voice
- 1 color palette
- 1-3 of your favorite logos for inspiration
Once you begin curating, you might end up with two or even three moodboards after finding images, fonts, colors, etc. that work best with each other. This is where online moodboard makers come in handy. They make it much easier to build out multiple boards at a time.
4. Time to use your moodboard!
Now that you’ve made your moodboard, it’s time to put it into action.
You can use your moodboard to:
- Pitch investors or potential clients on a project idea
- Pitch your boss on a new look for the company
- Collaborate with your design team on a project’s direction
- Schedule your social content
- Design presentation decks and marketing materials
- Design a new logo or brand guide
- Plan for the future of your business
- Daydream and get inspired!
Remember that no moodboard is ever set in stone, but rather a working document that can be used as a communication or collaboration tool.
The best online moodboard makers
When building your moodboard, you’ll need to choose the tool best for you.
If you’re a savvy designer familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite, you may prefer to build yours out with inDesign. Adobe also offers a free moodboard maker with its Spark platform, allowing you to “plug and play” with its variety of ready-made templates, even if you don’t have any prior experience.
Moodzer is a great option for everyone from performing artists to brand strategists, and especially those who are new to design. This easy-to-use web-based app allows you to upload your images and edit them directly within the platform. It also provides a “swatch” for adding or creating a colour palette and font options directly on the moodboard, which you can drag and drop anywhere you like on the board.
Canva also provides a free drag-and-drop moodboard builder, perfect for someone with little-to-no design experience. You can also choose from images, textures, and colors to really build a palette that pops.
InVision, an app designed for team collaboration, is another great place to build your moodboard, especially if there are a lot of voices who will be a part of the process. From InVision, your team members can comment, sketch on top of the moodboard, and easily access source files.
Pinterest is another popular option for building your moodboard. Since it’s essentially a search engine, Pinterest acts as a great source for images and inspiration, from which you can collect, display, and easily share all in one place.
Instagram has a “save to collection” feature that could be used to save colors, fonts, and visuals by laying everything out in one easy-to-view grid!
Moodboard is another good beginner option. With no account needed, you can upload your images and drag them around however you look. Moodboard offers a variety of templates to choose from, or you can build your own!
Morpholio is a moodboard maker primarily for interior designers, but has great crossover for any creative project. With this app, you can create stunning moodboards by searching and saving everything from furniture to bathroom tiles. It also includes products from top design brands so you can incorporate items you can actually purchase right into your moodboard — as well as an AR integration that lets you see how the furniture would look in your home.
Milanote is perfect for designers, social media managers, students, and everyone in between. Because it is integrated with Unsplash, you can choose from thousands of images to upload and use. Milanote also has its own Chrome Extension which allows you to instantly save images or links to your board from whichever website you visit. You can even upload GIFs and videos for a more interactive moodboard!
Whichever method you choose to design your moodboard, whether an app or the old-school magazine way, trust your gut, and follow what feels authentic to you.
Some great brand moodboard examples
Looking for inspiration? Check out these killer brand moodboards.
Below is a moodboard designed to inspire this coach & content creator’s rebrand. She shared this post on Instagram as a way to celebrate the new look.
This is a moodboard designed to inspire this artist’s next collection of paintings.
Here’s a brand moodboard that was designed for an accountant who wanted to come across as approachable and warm. Keywords are included in the board to help reflect the client’s mission and values.
Here’s a beer delivery company’s moodboard. Doesn’t it feel like the company is a locally-grown, organic, and family-run sort of business?
Below is a moodbard made by designers at Honey and Co Creative for a sustainably-minded lifestyle goods e-commerce shop.
Time to make your moodboard!
Congrats! You now have a totally unique visual representation of your brand. You can now bring this board with you into design meetings, social content planning sessions, and even business planning meetings.
Your moodboard is a handy new tool you can use to inform the brand decisions you make going forward, whether it’s launching a new product, planning a client’s next social campaign, or designing a new logo. Now go on and get planning!