Every project here are Reux Design Co. starts with a moodboard. Alongside my Brand Strategy (which is Part 1 of any Brand Design), the moodboard helps set a tone and direction for the project. It’s a visual representation of my ideas melded with my client’s dreams for their business. The might sound a little “woo-woo” but I really believe that a strong moodboard at the beginning of any project sets you up for success in design.
Time and time again, I’ve seen how a strong moodboard sets the tone for a project. When clients come to me, they have to trust not only in my design skills, but that I’ll be able to take their ideas and effectively translate those into a visual identity. When I show them the moodboard for the first time, they’re able to relax and know that I understand their vision, and I’m going to create a holistic, unique brand for their business. It created a deeper level of trust and understanding throughout the design process.
Today I’m wanted to share my process for creating moodboards. Not only are they valuable in the design process, but they’re fun! Curating images and color is truly one of my favorite parts of any project. It’s a time to be completely inspired about a project. Whether you’re working with a designer and want to better understand the process, or you want to create moodboards for your own projects/brand, I hope this gives you a helpful insight into creating purposeful moodboards.
I always have clients fill out a client questionnaire before their project begins. It gives me a foundation for their business, seeing insights into their goals, ideal clients, etc. Starting with this questionnaire (or your own ideas about a project), write down mood words, emotions and key phrases that pop up. These words will give you a feeling or “vibe” to look for as you search images.
Next is the fun part. Start curating images! I create a secret board in Pinterest for each new project where I can collect and save all of my inspiration. I find images all over the internet but a few of my favorite places to search are Pinterest, Tumblr and Unsplash. Here are a few things I always keep in mind while searching for images.
— I like to save images from 4 main categories: interiors, type/branding, color/texture, inspirational images. This gives me a wide range of content and inspiration to pull from.
— Pull anything that catches your eye while thinking about the words and emotions above. At first, don’t spend time trying to curate.
— Then pare down and eliminate anything that doesn’t fit in. After I have a good chunk of images, I go back through my secret board and cut anything that doesn’t match or seems “off.” — This is where intuition comes in.
— End with 9-12 main images to pull into the moodboard.
As a note: I always take into account my client’s taste (color preferences, style ideas, etc.) but I make sure to keep in mind the ideal customer. Our primary goal is to design something purposeful that the ideal customer will be drawn to and trust. So sometimes that means a color palette or style that doesn’t perfectly align with my (or my client’s) taste. That’s okay, and something to keep in mind when curating images for the moodboard.
Related post: You Might Not Like Your Branding… & That’s Okay!
Now it’s time to take those images and create an actual moodboard. This is where I’ll play around with layout, refine any last images and pull a color palette from the board. Here are some tips:
— I have two main layouts that I switch between (square or layered) depending on the project. See the free downloads below for both!
— Make sure to spread colors evenly throughout the board. Keep it balanced
— Mix all 4 categories so it flows nicely. Too much of one type of image will make the board look cluttered or busy.
— Only use images that fit and match the color scheme – make it 100% cohesive.
— Use the eyedropper tool to pull color swatches from images to create a color palette
— Make sure the mood or subject of a photo matches the brand or project at hand
Related Post: How to Create a Color Palette for Your Brand
The moodboard is the visual foundation for all of my projects which is why I spend so much time on it at the beginning of a project. It gives me a chance to check with the client to make sure we’re on the same page. Once it’s approved, it serves as a guide for both of us: something to come back to and reference so we’re not influenced by trends or personal taste. This ultimately means that the finalized branding is thoughtfully designed to attract the ideal client and help the business grow into it’s full creative potential!
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