6 Reasons To Use Mood Boards for Web and Logo Design

Posted on November 12, 2013
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Have you heard the old adage ‘A picture is worth a thousand words”?   If you subscribe to this sentiment, then you’ll likely agree that mood boards are worth at least ten thousand words!  We recently began incorporating mood boards into our design process and have found them to be an extremely effective communication tool.

A mood board, also sometimes called an ‘inspiration board’ or ‘style board’, is a collection of images used to convey a visual style direction for a creative project. Mood boards can include patterns, photos, sketches, colors, and fonts –anything that creates a visual reference point for the project at hand.

Following are 6 reasons we have found mood boards to be an essential tool for our logo and website design projects:

1.  Mood Boards Help Us to Get To Know Our Clients

We really enjoy collaborating with our clients to create mood boards.  It’s a great casual way to start the creative process.  Sharing images with our clients communicates in a way words alone simply cannot.  Humans are visual creatures by nature, so why wouldn’t we use our strongest sense to learn about and communicate with our clients.  Seeing isn’t just believing.  Seeing is learning, understanding, and communicating.

 2. Your Definition Is Not Always The Same As My Definition

Each and every person has a unique view and unique reference point for the descriptive words they use.  We create these definitions based on our individual experiences.  For example, when I describe something as vintage I may conjure up mental images of Elvis, juke boxes, and bee hives.  When someone else describes something as vintage they may think of old-timey mustaches and flapper dresses.   So a mood board can be a tool to ensure we are referencing the same visual definition for our descriptive words.

 3.  Less Time Wasted

Every graphic designer has a story (or two) about how they spent days creating what they thought was the perfect mock up – only to hear their client say something along the lines of “That’s not what I envisioned.”  It’s not the clients fault.  There was simply a miscommunication along the way.  (Refer back to number 2.)  Creating a mood board is a great way to ensure we better understand our client’s vision before we begin drafting options.  With a good mood board we tend to waste less time on ideas that don’t fall in line with our clients’ vision.

 4.  We Can Start Wide & End Narrow

When clients approach us for help with their new brand identity or website design, we find that they often have lots of ideas, but have a hard time choosing a single focus.  The mood board process allows us to collect a plethora of inspirational materials without the initial stress of focusing on a single idea at the start.  We typically let our client start the mood board process by collecting and sharing images that appeal to them.  Then we’ll begin to add our ideas.  Our job is to notice the ‘trends’ in our client’s choices and then help guide the project to a more narrow focus.  Together with our clients, we curate the inspirational items until we have a cohesive mood board with a central theme.

 5.  Mood Boards Facilitate Dialogue

Seeing where our client finds inspiration provides talking points for better understanding their vision.  We’ll often ask additional questions to ensure we understand what our client likes about a specific example and then discuss how we can implement these ideas into our project.

 6.  Mood Boards Helps Us Stay on Track

Aside from being an extremely effective communication tool, mood boards help us stay on track throughout the design process.  It’s all too easy in the brainstorming process to jump from one idea to the next.  Using a mood board keeps our focus on how to incorporate the visual cues we collected into our final design solution.  We’ll revisit the mood board often to ensure we stay in line with our initial goals and ideas.

So what do you think?  Are mood boards worth ten thousand words?  We certainly think so.


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