Everything You Need to Know about Mood Boards

You’ve finished your brand identity. Whoo! Now what?

Now you get to do the fun part — create a mood board! Sweet! Except… what’s a mood board? A mood board, also known as an inspiration board, is a collage comprised of photos that depict how you want your brand to look and feel.* Why should you make one? Because it’s a visual source of inspiration that, when combined with a brand identity, helps to build a consistent brand.

Here’s an example of a mood board.
Mood Board Example.png

*Mood boards don’t have to be for branding. You can use them for any kind of project.
The board above is one I threw together in 10 minutes for this post.
I made it about my wedding  🙂

Most people use photoshop to create their board but you can go old school and use a real bulletin board. You could also use a poster board, Canva, Microsoft Publisher, or your fridge.

Creating Your Own

Start out by finding inspiration for your brand. Collect pictures, textures, patterns, colors, typography, etc. that you would like to incorporate into your brand or that you feel represents the brand well. You can find these inspiration clips anywhere. You can try using magazines, advertisements, products you own, looking at other brands in your field or that you love, or just google image searching. The easiest and most obvious way, though, is to use Pinterest. I suggest making separate boards in these categories: logo and elements, font/typography, patterns/textures, color palette, and site design. On each board, aim to have at least five pins but the more, the merrier. This makes it easy to see which styles you’re the most interested in and narrow down your inspirations to specific styles. Once you’ve found the ones that speak to you, go ahead and put them in a mood board! Or make a few mood boards and ask family and friends (or better yet, people in your target market) which they prefer. Decide which one best represents the image of your brand and you’re all set!

How To – Using Canva

This is your free template! I didn’t make it but it’s still free and a template. haha. Canva is how I prefer to create mood boards because it’s really easy. Like, drag and drop easy.

  1. Go in to canva and choose the size you want your board to be (I chose the Instagram size.) A new tab will open up with a blank page.
  2. In the menu on the left side, click elements, then grids.
  3. Click on the layout you like. It should automatically set itself on the blank page.
  4. Go back to the menu on the left. Click Uploads. Upload the images you would like to have on your mood board.
  5. Drag and drop your images from the menu on to the grid. The images will snap to the sections of the grid.
  6. When you’re done, click download in the top right corner. Choose the file type you prefer and voila.

How to Find Your Identity as a Brand

A brand identity worksheet should be the first step when creating or redefining a brand. It’s like a (very, very) condensed business plan… but for your brand identity. While it’s a small and easy step, it is imperative to cohesive branding. You can get a free brand identity worksheet from The Library or write out your own, it doesn’t have to be fancy.

What needs to be covered:
Mission Statement

If you’re working on branding, chances are you have already completed a business plan and have a mission statement. If not, you’re in luck because I have some tips to help you figure it out. Your mission statement is the foundation of your business. It encompasses the entire business’s identity in one sentence. Things to consider when finding your mission statement:

  • Why did you start your business?
  • What makes you unique?
  • Who do you help and how?
  • Look toward the future. Where do you see your business in 2 years?
Define Your Ideal Audience and Target Market

Consider your ideal audience and target market. Who do you see? Personify your business in such a way that your ideal audience and target market will connect with your brand. When finding your ideal audience and target market, start broad and narrow it down. Considerations when finding your ideal audience and target market:

  • Demographics
  • Lifestyle
  • Occupation
  • Marital status/family life
  • Level of education
  • Specific interests and hobbies
Brand Feeling

How do you want your ideal audience and target market to describe your brand (3- 5 words.) Once you have your adjectives, make a few lists about ways to convey them. Keep your ideal audience and target market in mind.

  • Colors
  • Symbols/Objects
  • Activities
Tone and Voice

Now that you’ve decided on an image, you’ll need to decide how you will relay it to your consumers. What kind of tone does your image carry? Professional and formal? Young and chatty? Sarcastic and blunt? Find yours and try to stay cohesive. Most people have trouble with this at first. It’s a hard decision to make. One way to find your business’s tone is to write a few sample paragraphs on different subjects as if you were talking to your ideal audience. Go back and read. Look for similarities, differences, the parts of style you think fit well or don’t fit at all.

Don’t be intimidated by all of this. Seriously, just dive right in and write everything down. It doesn’t have to be right the first time. This is a brainstorm of loose ideas. A branding identity worksheet is just a way to keep all of these ideas together. If you find that your pages are messy and have lots of ideas, that’s great! The more ideas you have, the better your final identity will be. Just be sure to keep cutting out the things that don’t fit. I would recommend making a “finalized” copy to keep around as a reference during the branding process, as well as throughout the future of your business.

Ready to get started? Click here to download the free brand identity worksheet!

What You Need to Know about Successful Branding

I’ve recently decided to rebrand my business. By myself. Alone. Without an art degree. Or PhotoShop. *Insert horrified look here* I swear I’m not crazy. I’ll be honest, I have some experience in branding and art but mostly I’ve just done a TON of research and self-teaching. Lucky for you, I’m going to tell you all the juicy, important stuff that I’ve learned so you don’t have to rummage around the internet for three months to figure it all out.

I have an updated vision for the future and I want AMaureen Studios to reflect that. Since I am currently going through the process, I wanted to share my experience and insights with you! Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you either own a business or plan to work on the creative side of one in the future. You might not necessarily be the one creating the brand but branding is incorporated throughout each business and you will eventually encounter it.

What is branding?

Branding refers to a set of visual and emotional concepts that come together to create an image or personality in order to represent an entity. LOLWUT? Okay, so that was a really wordy and abstract definition but you know what branding is. At least in the most basic sense of the term. Think of your favorite company. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? I can almost guarantee it was their logo. It takes less than a full second for a person to recognize a logo, even if only part of the logo image is actually shown. That’s one of the reasons why so many companies are willing to pay for product placement. There is a lot more to a brand than just a logo, though. A brand consists of a cohesive and consistent set of rules that outline what is acceptable for use and what isn’t. These rules can be about anything from acceptable color use to website format. There are far more elements to each brand than consumers realize on a conscious level.

Who needs branding?

I know that this is starting to sound like a lot more work and a lot less logo-design-fun than you were hoping for but if you’re serious about a business, branding is crucial. I hear you over there, “Okay but I don’t reeeaalllly need to do any branding because I’m not a big corporation. Heck, I don’t even have a physical store front!” WRONG. Anyone who does any kind of networking can benefit from branding. I’ve even heard professors saying that you need to brand yourself before you start applying for jobs. If you deal a lot in first impressions, then branding will likely benefit you, too.

Why you should be branding yourself and your business.

In marketing and advertising, there is something known as the Self-Image Congruence Theory. The theory states that when there is a high degree of congruity between a person’s self-image and a product’s image, they are more likely to purchase or using that product. This theory applies to more than just products, though. As a business, you want to project an image that your target market relates to. They want to use your business because it mimics their lifestyle, values, and beliefs. Your business/products/blog/etc. portray an image that your consumers identify with and feel is trustworthy.

A few benefits of branding:

  • Quickly and easily recognizable
  • Professional
  • Improves credibility and trust
  • If you’re branded correctly, your first impression will be the right one
  • Not only can branding attract more clients/consumers/followers but it can attract the RIGHT clients/consumers/followers who will want to engage with your brand.

How to brand effectively.

Here’s that sucky part about branding: you can’t just slap together a logo and call yourself a brand. I mean you could but it won’t really count. In order to brand effectively you need to consider all aspects of the business and incorporate everything into a neat and tidy package. Here are some of the major steps in branding:

  1. Brand Identity – A business plan for your brand.
  2. Mood Board – A visual representation, often a collage, of desired brand characteristics. A draft of sorts, used for inspiration.
  3. Brand Board – An organized, visual representation of the brand. Often includes a color palette, typography, textures and patterns, logo, submarks, and other elements used within the brand.
  4. Brand Marketing Guide – A book (yes, a book) that shows the details of the brand board along with rules and guidelines on how to use each element appropriately in a variety of settings.

 

Stick around over the next two weeks because I’ll be going more in depth in order to help you learn how to DIY branding!

Want access to The Library of free worksheets, checklists, printables, and templates?
Of course you do!