The Ins and Outs of Creating a Brand: Brand Guide Part Three

April 9, 2020 / Branding

Creating a Successful Brand - Branding Moodboard - Brand Guide Part Three

Recently, I introduced a new series to the Grace Built Blog: The Ins and Outs of Creating a Brand. Throughout this four-part series, we will be discussing all of the essential aspects of creating a memorable brand, that works for your audience and drives sales. 

We’ve already covered a lot! In part one we covered; what is branding, brand evaluations, and identifying your target audience. Part two walked you through setting brand objectives and brand tone.

In this installment of our brand guide we’re discovering how to create a branding moodboard and why you should. By the end of our brand guide, you should have all the tools you need for creating a brand that stands the test of time. Shall we get started?

What is a Branding Moodboard and Why Do You Need One?

A moodboard is a succinct collection of visual elements that help define the direction of your brand. It can include themes, colors, moods, textures, aesthetic and context. A moodboard will help you generate ideas, visualize the direction of the project and attach emotions to your brand.

One of the major benefits of a moodboard is to ensure that you and your designer are speaking the same language. Phrases like “modern” or “clean” may carry a completely different meaning for you and your designer. A moodboard is a great way to communicate the mood and a visual concept of your brand project to make sure everyone understands the direction for your project.

Collecting Moodboard Inspiration

Before you can search for inspiration for your brand, you need to have a clear idea of your brand values, target audience and brand tone. If you’re not sure about any of these, take a look at part two of our brand guide to get to grips with the first steps in creating your brand.

Moodboard inspiration can come from virtually anywhere, the most important part is to find inspiration and save it all in one place, so you can easily whittle down later.

Starting with stock image sites and social media can help you to find images that could form part of your mood board. One of my favorite ways to gather inspiration is to create a secret board on Pinterest. Search for images, fonts, patterns and other designs that relate to the tone of your brand and aim to pin 30 to 50 images that define the style you want. Make sure each image on your board relates to one of your tone words, remove any that don’t match or don’t feel right. 

Here are some stock image sites you can use to find more:

You can download these images and upload them as pins on your board. When you’ve completed these steps you should have around 20 images on your board and each of your tone words should be represented.

Creating a Branding Moodboard

Once you have a collection of images for inspiration, you can identify trends in colors, mood, white space and even patterns and textures. You may have chosen logo styles or illustrations and icons as well as photographs or even color palettes and fonts. 

Trends to look out for:

    • Fine or thick lines – are the lines in illustrations, fonts or graphics bold or thin, are they modern or traditional in feel, are they detailed or clean?
    • Typography – did you select a variety of fonts, do you notice any trends in how they’re combined, are fonts bold or thin, delicate or quirky?
    • White space – are the images spacious or do images and graphics fill the frame?
    • Colors – do you notice colors that repeat in several images, do you recognize a season in the colors you choose? For example, a summer brand would include pastel cool tones while a spring brand would be bright, bold and warm.

When selecting the final elements for your moodboard, make sure that you are focusing on your brand values, tone and target audience. To create your moodboard pick out 8-10 images that really feel like the brand you can be passionate about. 

Inspiration vs. Imitation

While a branding moodboard can be an invaluable tool for envisioning the look and feel of your visual brand, it is important to remember that your moodboard is a guide, not part of your finished brand. The images and designs you have found to inspire your brand should never be copied or used without appropriate copyright licences. 

A few key things to remember:

    • If you find work you like, try to pinpoint the core concept, style or process you are drawn to.
    • Images on Google or social media sites are likely to be subject to copyright.
    • If you are using images from stock sites be sure that you understand when and how to credit the creators.
    • Most vector artwork (even purchased) cannot be used in a logo.
    • Fonts must be purchased. If a designer uses a premium font in your brand you will both need to purchase a licence

Moodboards are an important step in creating a cohesive design and ensuring your brand project runs smoothly. Have you created one for your brand?

Next Up in the Brand Guide

That’s it for today! Not too overwhelming, I hope?! If you have any questions about these two steps to creating a brand, please leave a comment below or email me at courtney@gracebuiltco.com. In part four of this series, we will be discussing visual identity including how to use fonts and typography to elevate your brand.