Before you or your designer jump into creating a logo or other branding elements, it is crucial to evaluate the style and mood that you’re envisioning for your business. Each brand design projects start with an inspiration board or another call it a moodboard. As I said, moodboard helps you narrow down your style preferences and helps your designer to translate that references to actual brand identity design.
I used to create moodboards for my clients, but to be honest it was always the hardest part of my design process. I didn’t “feel right” to pull out some pretty photos from Pinterest (taken by someone else) and then show them to a client. Today, I’ll explain why I don’t design moodboards for my branding clients and what I do instead.
FIRST, WHAT IS A MOODBOARD/INSPIRATION BOARD?
Moodboard or inspiration board is a collection of images, showing your style, ideas, mood, feelings, elements and so on. Sometimes it’s easier to show a photo which explains what you mean or feels than use words. Moodboard or inspiration board is to express what you have in mind with images.
WHY I DON’T DESIGN MOODBOARDS FOR MY BRANDING CLIENTS?
First off, is not that I don’t ask my clients for any inspiration images, it’s the quite the opposite, actually. In short – I ask my clients to create an inspiration board on Pinterest instead of me.
Why? Because they are the only one who knows what they want. Sure, I’m a designer, but I’m not a mind reader and it’s not possible to know what someone wants unless you know this person really well.
As I’ve mentioned, I used to design moodboards for my clients, but it always felt off. Firstly, because using someone else’s photos without the license is illegal (unless the image is under Creative Commons license), so I can’t stand when I see designers who use photos they found on Pinterest in their portfolio and on the brand boards. Some designers mention the photo source, but still…
Not to mention, is kind of “cheating”, because clients might be attracted to the photography (which wasn’t taken by a designer) and NOT the logo, colour palette or any other aspect of the brand identity. It might be subconscious, so the potential clients might not even realize that they liked the photo from the moodboard more than a logo or other design element.
Besides, the pretty photography from the moodboard draws attention away from the actual brand design, which sometimes is bad, but the photos make it look good.
A LITTLE WORD OF ADVICE:
If you’re going through designers portfolios where they share a moodboard, try to focus on the designs they did instead of the photos they used on the inspiration board. It’ll save you a possible disappointment.
WHAT I DO INSTEAD OF DESIGNING MOODBOARD FOR MY BRANDING CLIENTS?
As I said above, I give my clients a homework in which they can find a brand design questionnaire (or brand & website design questionnaire for brand & web design package) and I ask them to create an inspiration board (a secret Pinterest board with images) that visually reflect the direction that they would like to take their brand. Also, I ask them to edit the pins descriptions and explain why they pinned each image and what they like about it. It helps you better understand their vision and style.
My design process for both brand design package and brand & website design package starts with creating three logo concepts based on usually 20-40 pins my client added to the Pinterest board with inspiration. To learn more about my design process for each of my design packages click one of the buttons below:
Thanks to the strategy of not designing moodboards for my branding clients, I an insight look at my client’s vision for their new branding which saves a lot of time on both ends.
A lot of business owners worry about that they won’t like any of the logo concepts the designer send (designers usually send 1-6 logo concepts to choose from) and they’ll end up with a countless number of revisions to “get their logo right”. Also, ever since I’m stopped designing the moodboards, I don’t have problems with logo concepts or revisions, because as I said, thanks to the inspiration board my client created on Pinterest, I know exactly what they are looking for.