OK, Socialites, it’s time to get visual! As creative entrepreneurs, we know the importance of visual design and how it can attract people to your product or service. You notice well-designed food packing when in a grocery store, you’ve entered a store simply because their sign and logo pulled you in, or maybe you’ve purchased a print or greeting card simply because they have a really great illustration or design.
If you’re a Pinterest addict like me, maybe you’re constantly saving and “pinning” images or designs that you find visually stimulating. Awesome! That tendency to collect can actually serve you well in your design workflow when starting a new product or service. Sometimes when I’m pinning I don’t have an exact idea in mind of what I’m going for, but as I continue on I can start to see similarities and note the elements I want to emphasize. Once I’ve pinned about 30-40 images, I’ll go through the Pinterest board and select about 10-15 images that I want to use as the inspiration for my mood board.
New to mood boards?
A mood board is a physical or digital collage of ideas that include just about anything - photos, designs, illustrations, textures, fonts, color palettes - you name it! Anything that helps you visually define the direction of your project should go up on your mood board. Once you’ve fine-tuned your mood board you’ll have a clear path toward the vision of your project including the overall feel, color palette and theme. If you’re crafty, you can make a tactile mood board, but I highly recommend Pinterest for ease and efficiency.
Image via Salted Ink
So why a mood board?
Mood boards are great for so many different reasons, especially if you’re in the creative field. However, if you aren’t in the creative industry, don’t let that limit you! Mood boards can be used for everything from redecorating a room in your house to inspiration for a piece of art you’re creating. No matter what you’re using your mood board for, starting the design process with that visual inspiration is a good idea for many reasons. Here are some of our favorite ways to use a mood board in our design process.
Establish your brand vision
Point blank, a mood board helps you. Gathering ideas and inspiration before you actually start working can streamline the entire design process and cut down the time you spend staring at a blank screen wondering where to start. If you’re working with clients, it’s also a great way to make sure you are all on the same page before you spend hours pouring your time and effort into a project that isn’t in line with their vision. Creating a mood board and sharing with your clients gives them an idea of what the finished product will look like and helps both sides agree on the direction before too much work goes into it.
Image via June Letters Studio
If you’re working on a product or service for your own business, creating a mood board will make sure you’re on track with your own branding and not creating anything that will be unrecognizable to your audience. We talk a lot about how important it is for your business or blog to have a cohesive brand, and using mood boards can help ensure you are staying true to yourself.
Keeps you from going off track
Just as a mood board can make sure you’re creating a product that fits in with your branding, it also serves as a visual reminder of what you don’t want to be creating. It’s so easy to get caught up in the creative process and not stop to take a step back and see what you’ve created. Far too many times I’ve worked on a project or a product where I didn’t set myself up visually - which might explain how I ended up with an orange + blue bathroom when I was going for “neutrals”. In my case, I had a completely different idea in my head of what I wanted my bathroom remodel to look like, but impatience and not setting myself up for success caused me to fly off the cuff and just make it up as I went along. The result was nothing like what I wanted as an overall vision. There were bits and pieces I enjoyed, but as an entire story, it just didn’t work and I sunk a lot of time and money into something that I didn’t love.
Image via Pattern Curator
Collaborate with team members
Whenever we start working on a new product here at Social Studio Shop, we create a mood board that all team members add to. When you’re dealing with multiple components of a project such as graphic design, content and branding, it’s so important to make sure your entire team is on the same page from the start. This sets everyone up for success and can make the entire process so much smoother!
Coordinate and conquer
If you’re a busy boss babe, chances are you’re working on more than one project at a time. If you have two products or services that will be working in tandem, creating a mood board for each can make sure that you stay consistent in your branding with both. It also makes it a piece of cake for updating any changes and determining if any of those tweaks you made to one still work with the overall appearance. It’s tricky enough staying organized for one project, let alone multiple - coordinate your vision and you’re sure to have a beautiful launch!
Whether you’re working on a logo design for your blog, working on a rebrand for a client, or just seeking inspiration for a personal project, creating a mood board will make the process so much easier. The beauty of a mood board is that it will always be there for you to look back on and make sure your final product is still what you envisioned from the start!