A moodboard? Seriously, what IS it good for?
Contrary to the natural response my headline elicits, a moodboard is definitely good for something. Let me start off by explaining what a moodboard is not. It is not a direct representation of what your website will be. It does not portray what your collateral will look like. And it does not include the copy that will ultimately appear on your website, brochures, etc. (90 percent of the time, it’s just dummy text.)
What it is
A moodboard is intended to convey the emotion behind a brand and provide a starting point for the creation of all branded materials. It outlines the style direction that a client is pursuing and lends inspiration to final photography, product placement, layout, and messaging.
Creating moodboards is an important part of our design process here at Gate6 because oftentimes when creating a website, our client will ask us to do other things, e.g., brochure, packaging design, etc. A moodboard ensures that each piece of collateral we design consistently and accurately represents a brand.
I like to compare making a moodboard to making stew. You have all of these possible ingredients and you’re exploring what combinations will work best together. In this case, the ingredients are colors, fonts, and photography style (e.g., people vs. no people, product, environment, etc.). We also take into consideration header treatments, and paragraph, navigation, and button styles.
A moodboard can also represent the congestion or openness of a layout. Up front, we’ll ask a client questions including:
- “Is your style more like a newspaper (packed with content) or a high-end fashion magazine (large, luxurious photographs of product)?”
- “Ultimately, what “feeling” do your want your clients to have concerning your brand?
The moodboard answers these questions, communicating everything you want your brand to say without actually saying it.
To understand the true essence of a moodboard, the artist who designed it should always be the one to walk you through and tell its story. As with every other piece of art, there is conjecture and people are going to have their own interpretation of this “still cooking” product (or stew). Ideally, this should happen face-to-face. Some of the best ideas and most innovative new directions often stem from collaboration.
Moodboards are an essential part of the creative process. Still have questions? Leave me a note and I’ll get back to you when I’m in the “mood.”