Pre-Dev Process: What is a Mood Board?

Pre-Dev Process: What is a Mood Board?

As part of our web design services, we offer a 10-step predevelopment process that helps us execute your vision for your new site. 10 steps sounds like a lot, and it is! But it’s also the best way for us to get to know you and your organization so we can build you a website that speaks to your goals, your vision, and your company culture. The process includes design comps, wireframes, conversations with key stakeholders and potential site users, all with the goal of developing the perfect web experience, tailored to the needs of your audience. Every piece of that puzzle has value, but our favorite has to be the mood board. 

What is a mood board? Why do I need one? 

A mood board is a visual creation that brings together images, text, concepts, and colors that will define your brand and communicate your brand identity. Mood boards have a lot of different uses, but ours are focused on bringing the key elements that will make up your website together to clearly communicate our customized vision for your organization. 

Our clients find the mood board is a great way to consider how they’re presenting their current business goals and identity. As we pull together threads from conversations with your company’s leadership, employees, and clients, the picture that emerges isn’t always exactly what the team had in mind when they started a rebuild. The brand attributes that come to the surface can be a guiding force in setting new directions for the organization, affirming existing brand identity elements, or communicating company principles clearly across the organization. 

What goes into my mood board? 

The foundation of the mood board is imagery that captures the look and feel of your brand identity. The type of images vary across organizations and business types, but the images we choose here will guide us throughout the web design process, so it’s important we get them right. They might be images of your key products, action shots of your facility or offices, or visual representations of your customers or target audience. 

Next, you’ll see a palette of colors that we’ll use to define your brand. For established brands, these are generally drawn from the current logo, but if you’re looking to build or rebuild a brand identity from scratch, we’ll used color theory to customize a palette for you. We draw from colors that evoke the same emotions as your brand, considering whether the colors are muted or bold, warm or cool, and traditional branding for your industry or brand attributes. 

Speaking of brand attributes, these are also a key element of your mood board. These short phrases become guiding principles as we build out the website together. These elements are generally conceptual, rather than concrete. Any word or phrase in the brand attribute section would be at home in the company’s mission statement or vision statement. Things like HEALTHY | INDUSTRY LEADER | PREMIUM QUALITY | ACCESSIBLE | FARM TO TABLE give you a vision of the company’s core principles, without knowing anything else about it. 

Finally, we select typography that is consistent with your brand experience attributes and demonstrates the proper look and feel your audience. Typography requires balancing readability and structure with beauty and elegance, and our design team does a phenomenal job of selecting fonts that work well with your color scheme and logo while communicating the appropriate “intangibles” to the users on your page. We’ll choose fonts and colors for titles, headers, sub headers, navigation elements, and layout the design for any buttons on the page. 

Bringing it Together 

When it’s all said and done, we bring these elements of imagery, brand experience, color, and typography together into one succinct deliverable that serves two purposes. First, it gives you your first real vision as to what the site will look and feel like when we’re done. It’s your chance to weigh in on any of these elements to make sure that we’ve collaborated to get to a vision that’s pleasing to you and demonstrates who you want to be on the web. Secondly, you can use this piece as a part of your larger brand identity (or to build your brand identity if you’re just starting out) to help make sure that other elements of your business carry through these visual elements. Typography and palette can be used to build business cards or letterhead, for example. We can help customize a Prezi template or PowerPoint presentation template file that you use again and again to keep your branding on point. The sky is the limit, but it all starts with the mood board.