Using mood boards to start your brand down the right path
“Do you sketch out your ideas before you execute?” I think I’ve asked this question to just about every art director or designer I’ve ever worked with or interviewed. The reason I ask is to make sure that their thoughts are worked out on paper before going too quickly into an execution. Think of mood boards as a sketch of a brand—a critical early step in capturing the heart of a brand before getting in the weeds. They force you to get your story and foundational brand elements in order before jumping the gun and creating random marketing tactics.
Mood boards are deceptively simple. They are a visual combination of color, typography, graphic elements including maybe photography or illustration, and of course copy tone and voice. They are like a poster that captures the most important elements of your brand, all in one shot. And that takes experience.
Good mood boards have depth. This depth comes from a healthy dose of listening, research and insight. They have some meat to them. A real story. And that’s even before the visual part comes in. The best mood boards tap into the heart of a company. They make you “feel” a brand. Once the “feel” is nailed, then it’s OK to carry out execution across multiple channels and media.
Mood boards ensure your brand has legs. When considering the style, voice and visuals of a brand, one must look forward to how these elements will come together over multiple platforms and fit the needs of multiple audiences such as patients, physicians, caregivers and executives. It has to always feel and look like the same brand even though your audiences could be vastly different.
Mood boards are nothing new, but many tend to skip this step and go right into execution of tactical elements. Maybe it’s because deadlines have become tighter and tighter as technology gets better and better. I advise carving out space in the brand development process to sketch out your brand to make sure it stands for who you are, how it’s relevant to your customers, and how it can twist and turn with your many changes as time goes on. You’ll be glad you did.
To see real life examples of brand mood boards, check some out on Pinterest.
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