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Moodboards: What they are, what they do and why you need them

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Written by Flying Saucer Studio

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You’re knee-deep into the branding process and now you’re ready to get in the mood... for a moodboard. Think of this as your brand’s vision board, your curated scrapbook or a lookbook that gets your creative side inspired!

Moodboards are more than just the first visualization of a client’s vision. They set up the visual direction for a brand and demonstrate that the designer has listened and understood the client. These boards can then be shared on social media as part of the branding process or kept internally as a reference point once rebranding is complete. Want to be inspired to begin your branding process? Take a look at 25 Inspiring Branding Guidelines You Can Learn from Today.
Not all designers use a moodboard as part of their branding process, but we at Flying Saucer feel as though they’re crucial to the creative process. Don’t believe us? Keep reading.

What are moodboards exactly?

Moodboards are a curated collection of images, photos, textures or patterns that show an undetailed look and feel of a specific brand. This is not your mama’s Pinterest board, even though that cookie recipe looks delicious. Moodboards help turn abstract concepts into visuals (sorry Jackson Pollock) that are more tangible representations of what the client is looking for. Designers can then easily communicate with clients quickly and efficiently.

At Flying Saucer, we can include several directions for the client. Each with a unique color palette, layout, font, illustrative style, artistic direction or anything else extra that we may think will help our clients achieve their wildest branding goals. Go get it #goaldigger. Moodboards are oriented towards discovery and conceptualization. They fit snuggly after our clients brief us with all their information and right before we start wireframing or sketching.

 

What do moodboards do?

 

Moodboards help us understand and relate to our clients better. Our world-class team of designers loves to play around with different styles so they can better understand where the client is coming from. The client could be leaning towards a bold approach, but how bold do they want to go? It’s about finding that sweet spot that the client is looking for. Having that variety in a moodboard can help designers find which details are most important and which elements should be taken into consideration. Obviously, this isn’t the final design, but it’s a clear indicator that we are moving in the right direction!

As a client don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty of your moodboard with your team. This is your time to give feedback, ask for advice and let your creative side out. You shouldn’t be afraid to come to the table with your own reference images if you feel like you need to. Now is the time to experiment without commitment, so don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard. 

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If you’re unsure about what you would like to see, find brands that you admire as examples. Do you think their illustrations are on the right track to explaining a difficult process? Does their font reflect accurately their playful personality? As long as the font isn’t Comic Sans. Asking yourself similar questions may seem like a lot of work, but trust me: it will pay off in the long run. I know we’re the design experts, but you’re certainly the expert on your brand, so this is all about teamwork!

Why do you need a moodboard?

 

Less time, more play

Be synched from the start and you’ll find your early collaboration saving you days (or worse weeks!) of rounds and rounds of feedback. Instead of playing musical chairs with edits, you’ll be able to have more time for experimentation. Take this time to play around with visual elements that would best pair with your brand without being too worried about making mistakes. 

 

Clear expectations

Moodboards help us explain our vision in a simpler way. Not all clients will talk marketing or design lingo, and they’re not supposed to. They’re experts at what they do, so it’s our job to teach them to see what we see. Moodboards help create much-needed clarity in the branding process and we are all for that!

 

All onboard

It may sound cliché, but it is true: the key to success in your project is teamwork. Involving clients from the get-go means taking into account the project brief and brand personality with the people who know it best. We guarantee you’ll slash the risk of going off track, especially if the client is specific and genuine with their moodboard feedback. When we all work together, it really is a case of everyone wins.  
Building your brand should be exciting. It gives you a fresh perspective and plenty of new opportunities for growth. No matter where you are in your branding journey, we have the tips and tricks to help you through it. 

Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog about what you can get out of the branding process. Can’t wait that long? Take a look at The Abridged Branding Bible For Startups or contact us today to see what we can do for your brand today. 

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