Mood Board 101: How Do Small Businesses Design and Create Marketing ideas?

visualize branding ideas

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Hi, I am trying to design branding and marketing for my small business. How do I get started? I don’t have any ideas.

Initialize your ideas and turn them into visuals

You have ideas. You just don’t know the best way to visualize it. Most of the time, when I visualize ideas, I start by writing things down.

If it is my brand, the first thing I write down a mission or vision statement, then I write down a list of adjectives associated with this statement.

For example, at Typogram, our statement is “empower everyone with design and creativity.”

First, I will write a couple of values that I want my brand to project to my customers visually.

Empowering, Creative, Fun

Then, I can go on Pinterest or any image discovery platform and start pulling together some images to create mood boards. Lots of people tend to skip this step, but it is super important. Building a mood board helps you build a style/ aesthetic library in your computer and mentally. I know it sounds a little magical, but it’s true. By making a mood board, you will better imagine what your brand can become, visually.

Discover and expand your visuals

How do we build a mood board from each word?

Consider each word from different angles (customer side, the business side, and so on).

Take the word empowering, for example:

  • What are some emotions associated with empowering?

    Maybe Serious? Happiness? Warmth?

  • What are actions associated with empowering?

    Maybe Protest? Diversity? Inclusion? Support Groups?

Search on these terms on Pinterest and see what kind of images will come up.

You might see:

  • Serious → dark colors?
  • Happiness → pictures of smiling people,
  • Warmth → sunshine? Yellow, orange, warm colors?
  • Protest → protest poster art, bold fonts

It could be images of people displaying emotions, landscapes, a specific texture, a particular color, a particular event that resonates with you. Choose the images you like and try to pin down the reason you choose a specific image.

You can do this for a few terms. It’s good to have a collection of images (more than 20) for each board. That way, you can identify a running theme among images of within a board, like colors, styles, or aesthetics. This will give you some directions on color palettes, or look and feel of your brand.

Collect inspirations and turn them into value

Mood boards are an excellent resource for inspiration. In addition, it can serve as a collection of resources for your other visual content, such as blog posts, newsletter graphics, or social media posts. It is also a great reference document to hand off to a freelancer or an agency if you are working with one. When I worked at an agency, we feel relieved when clients give us mood boards because it shows us what they are thinking.

Of course, this is my process. You can always do something different that works for you!

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