What to Expect Series: How I create client moodboards


What to Expect Series is a series designed to remove confusion and anxiety for potential clients about starting a Brand Identity project with Vale Design. These posts will describe what your project will look like from initial client inquiry email to final file release. No more guesswork needed!

In the What to Expect Series, we have discussed Onboarding your project and the Vale Design Client Questionnaire. Now let's get into some visual phases! The first visual phase is Creating Client Moodboards.

A moodboard is a board of visual images and colors that are grouped together to provide a suggested look and feel for a Brand Identity client. The moodboard visuals are chosen based off a couple of factors we will discuss below. These boards are the first attempt at visualizing what a client has in mind for their business brand design. I typically provide my clients with 2 to 3 moodboards per project.

Once a specific board is chosen by the client, that direction will begin to dictate the logos that I will create. That board will also be referenced throughout the design project by both client and designer to make sure that each brand element designed also fits the chosen look and feel.

Creating moodboards is one of my favorite phases of a Brand Identity project. I have created so many for clients over the years and I have mastered the technique. (You can view past client moodboards right here.)

How I research for client moodboards

1. Client Questionnaire answers

Client questionnaire answers are the first place I start when researching images for my client's moodboards. The answers tell me a lot of things.

They help me conduct industry and analogous industry research. I can see what is currently happening design wise in my client's field. I can also see what is visually missing. Remember when all electronic products were black...and apple came out with white ones? Such a simple decision. They stood back and viewed the industry as a whole and all products were black, so they simply chose to make their products white.

As a seasoned designer with experience in all forms of design from packaging to web design, I am an expert on design research. I am quickly able to assess what has been over done via design and what design might help my clients stand out from their competition. I use all of this when I create moodboards for my clients.

2. Pinterest Boards

I gather all of my moodboard images via Pinterest. I create a board for each moodboard "theme" I am working on. These "themes" are answers from a Vale Design Client Questionnaire question.

I gather visual inspiration from varying Pinterest areas for Brand Identity projects. Antiques, landscaping, home interiors, the fashion industry, textiles, paintings and illustrations, color combinations, pop culture, vintage imagery, etc.

There may be a 1950's Sophia Loren image on a pizza brand moodboard. There may be antique bells imagery on a bed & breakfast moodbboard. There may be other logos created by other designers on a board. These random images are suggesting a feel. Suggesting a mood. Suggesting a theme. Suggesting a brand feel.

The moodboards are a crucial component of what will make your Brand Identity project a success. We will compare logos in the initial design presentation to the chosen board to make sure we are on target. We will compare and use design elements found on the moodboards for any support collateral pieces I design. Example, maybe there is a lot of scroll work on your moodboard. We will use a lot of scroll work on your designs.

3. Client Created Pinterest Boards

Over the years, my clients have also created Pinterest boards for me to reference. They will create a board and invite me to view it via invitation. I always use their images in combination with my own chosen images on the moodboard presentation boards. I try to discover any internal themes they have created on their boards and really emphasize that theme. The client might not even know they have created a theme!

If a client is going to create their own board for me to connect to, I always recommend that they choose 30 images. Having 100 images is not necessary. If you pin 100 images, then I would encourage you to delete and wittle down to 30 final images for me to reference. Any more than 30 and you may not be clear on your design direction.

As I stated above, I love this phase! It is the first chance that a Brand Identity has to visually come alive. I can start to see where we are headed with the project and it gets me so excited!

If you would like to work together or have any additional questions about working with Vale Design, simply contact me!