Day 10 - Setting the Mood



Welcome to Day #10 of the 31 Days to Better Branding series! To learn more about this series, click here and find links to the other days so you'll be able to follow along or catch up if you happen to miss anything. I am by no means an expert but after hearing a lot of the same questions, I figured others could benefit from a few lessons in branding. Hopefully it will give you a place to begin or even just a few tips to improve your business and bring you more clients. Feel free to add in your thoughts and what has worked for you in the comments!

"I can't decide on my design style."

A quick way to get on the same page with your designer or even just to pinpoint your design style is to create a moodboard. A moodboard is a collection of visual imagery that all targets the same idea. When custom designing, I almost ALWAYS ask my clients to create a moodboard on Pinterest so that we don't waste time going in the wrong direction. It take a little time up front, but there's nothing worse than spending hours revamping designs over and over because we had different things in mind.


Here's what I look for in a really good moodboard...

.An Image Category: Rustic, Vintage/Retro, Modern, Minimalist, Edgy, Victorian, Earthy, Tribal, Avant Garde are all examples of categories that I look for in my clients' pins. So if your brand is pretty obviously one of these things, try to pin images that show that style. If you're not sure of the category you fit into, just pin what you naturally gravitate towards. You can pin images like cars, furniture, clothing, jewelry, magazine ads, etc. if you think they are evoking the brand experience you're going for.

.Colors: One of the strongest elements to influence a client's experience is color choice. For example we naturally connect light colors with purity, innocence, freedom and space. While dark colors can come off as edgy, dramatic, and romantic. Think about how you want your viewers to feel and then check out what's popular in that category. Design Seeds is my favorite place to find good color palettes.

.Type: Typography is really hard to guess and takes a lot of trial and error. That's why it's good to pin as many type examples as possible in the style you like. This isn't so that you can copy an exact font or logo as much as it is just to get an overall look down. It's a lot easier to see how certain font styles will look next to your colors, patterns and images in the moodboard before getting to attached to a typeface.

.Textures, Lines, & Patterns: A great way to find these is by going to online stores or websites that already have a style you like. Take note of the details they use in their imagery or backgrounds and how they are achieving that style. Maybe you like their social media buttons or the dividers they use. Keep track of those details and your style will all start to come together as you pin.

.Specific examples: If you're creating a blog header, it makes sense to add a few blog header examples you like to your board. Again, this isn't so that you can copy someone else's design. It is just to help get ideas for general things like a layout or elements you'd like to focus on. Pinning a few specific examples will help give you a starting point.


When choosing items for your moodboard try to keep in mind that "experience" you want your target clients to have. What do you want them to think and feel when they encounter your business? Find things that really speak to your brand and personality's overall style instead of getting too hung up on small details. Always write down exactly what you like about each item so that you (and your designer) can be purposeful. And if you're having trouble, just pin a lot of things you like to your board even if you're unsure how it fits. Those extra details can make the style just suddenly come together.

Once you've finished pinning, go ahead and narrow it down with your designer so that you both have the same vision.


Homework: Get a Pinterest account! You don't have to share it with all of your friends if you're not ready to jump on the bandwagon but this is definitely the easiest way to collect and share ideas. Then get busy pinning to a specific moodboard for your business:) If you don't have a lot of time, just add a few things each day and then check how it's coming along by the end of the week. Have fun!