Brand Development: Moodboards

A moodboard is a great tool to start any graphic design project, whether it is designing a logo, a website, or an entire app. It is a collection of graphic elements, images, colors, photography, text, materials, etc., that, when presented together, intentionally evoke specific emotions and associations from the viewer.

Moodboards are used in a lot of industries – fashion design, interior design, product design, graphic design, event planning, publishing, etc. In all cases, a moodboard sets the project’s tone, establishes a visual energy and, when done successfully, reflects the goals of the tasks at hand.

A moodboard sets the project’s tone, establishes a visual energy and, when done successfully, reflects the goals of the tasks at hand.

Think of a moodboard as a collage of magazine clippings you taped to your wall in middle school. Individually, each piece was something you liked, and together, the collage reflected your lifestyle (or aspirational lifestyle) as a whole.

How to Design a Moodboard

Before creating a moodboard, it is essential to get to know your client and understand the goals of the design project. In most cases, it’s best to understand the client’s goals for their business as a whole.

You want to gather all this information from a good creative interview.

Here are some basic questions to help you get started.

Logo Design:

1. Tell me about your business. How did it start? When? Who was involved?
2. What are 3-5 words you use to describe your business?
3. How do you describe your business to a stranger? How about to your mom? How would you describe your business to an 8-year-old?
4. Who are your competitors?
5. What makes your business unique?
6. Do you have a design vibe that you’re most attracted to? If so, tell me about it.
7. What turns you off? Let’s talk about why.

For websites, the interview is a little more in-depth. In addition to the branding questions above, these questions will help set the tone for a website.

Website Design:

1. What do people NOT know about your business that you wish they did?
2. What is the most common reason people visit your site?
3. What do you want people to do when they visit your website?
4. Who are your competitors?
5. What sites/design inspires you?
6. What key information do you want on a landing page? (contact info, email signup, etc).

With all of this information at your fingertips, and a bevy of inspiration, you’re ready to start your moodboard. We collect our inspirational materials from everywhere: pinterest, websites, magazines, photos, raw materials, packaging, colors, nature, typography, signage, etc. A great moodboard organizes these visuals, with the project’s defined color palette, in a template that shows how the elements interact well together.

Let’s explore some moodboards for a variety of projects.

Moodboard Examples

Client: UX Designer
Project: Logo Design + Branding

The purpose of this project was to formalize the client’s brand, and provide assets she could use on her website, marketing collateral and business cards. Wanting to play off the royalty of her last name (Winsor) the client requested a logo that was reminiscent of a family crest, or house of reign. She also wanted her logo to say what she does, which is design wireframes for complex websites and apps for large companies. During the interview process, the client also mentioned that she was attracted to jewel tones, and wanted a happy marriage between clean, modern lines with the timelessness of a regal symbol.

UX Designer Moodboard


Final Logo


Final Brand Suite


Client: Commercial Interior Design Firm
Project: Website Redesign

“Everyone assumes we do residential interior design, but we don’t.” This was one of the challenges the client faced with their current site. In addition to wanting visitors to immediately recognize that their specialty was commercial design, the client wanted to showcase their team’s positive energy. In other words, this woman-owned and operated business wanted the design of their site to portray their authority in the industry as well as their fun side.

The mood board is a chance to show the client how their work can connect with your vision. That’s why it’s often helpful to include a photo of the client’s work or portfolio to show how it can be elevated with your design.

Using a photo from their previous work and colors from their logo design, we showed how the two could work together to say sophisticated and commercial.

Interior Design Website Moodboard


Interior Design Website


Client: Consumer Product Startup – Travel Packages for Families
Project: Logo Design + Branding

This local Austin startup was founded on the belief that travel inspires confidence in children, and provides learning opportunities unlike any other. Because of that mission, the client in this case study wanted their brand to appeal to young children and adults alike. Above all, they wanted their products and their brand to empower families to travel.

When you have a project that needs to appeal to both parents and children alike, it is important to provide a mix of neutral tones and images in your moodboard that appeal to both groups. Show the versatility of being able to work with both, and user test with each audience to see if it captures the emotions and thoughts you want.

Travel Box Moodboard


Final Logo


Client: Boutique Hotel
Project: Logo Design + Brand Identity

Hotel St. Dorothy wanted the experience of staying at the hotel to be as inspiring as the brand’s namesake. The core inspiration behind the project was the client’s mother, who was a mother of six by day, and an extremely talented artist by night. Materials for the moodboard were inspired by and sourced from her original art, mid-century design and elements of luxury.

A successful moodboard for a place should allow the person to imagine the entire experience. For this project, that meant capturing the feel of checking in, dining, and staying at the hotel itself. It also meant providing multiple moodboards to capture the distinct and key experiences of a night in and a night out at the hotel.

Hotel Moodboard


Final Identity Suite


Other moodboard examples:

Mid-century Bar/Lounge Branding + Concept


Sign Language Interpreting Service Agency Website


Art Magazine Branding + Concept


Tech Startup Branding + Website


Bourbon Company Website


Creative Agency Branding + Website


Insurance Agency Website


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