Why I Love Moodboards in the Client Process: Ballast Notes

When I was just starting off as a freelancer and business owner, I didn't really understand the point of moodboards. They felt a little cliched and pointless to me, and I never integrated them into my branding process with clients. But over time, I noticed something.

When it came time to present clients with the first round of logo drafts, a few different things would happen:

  • There were small, but noticeable, details that were incorrect or overlooked in the logo because of a miscommunication
  • The client had to take some time to sit with the drafts, because they weren't used to seeing their brand as a visual
  • Once we finalized a logo concept, the brand color process took much longer than expected due to the client not being 100% sure of their desired color palette 

I started toying with the moodboard process, and was shocked by how much more smooth my branding presentations to clients went. Turns out, moodboards are an incredibly valuable tool.

If you don't work in the branding field, you can also create moodboards to chart the visual feel of an event, program, or season. I'm a huge proponent of manifesting what you want, and a moodboard is a great way to do that. I try to create a moodboard each quarter to help me manifest how I want to feel and the goals I want to achieve during that time of the year.

Here's a few ways that moodboards can help with the branding process:

  • Moodboards help the client get used to viewing their brand through a visual lens
    With the creation of a moodboard, the client was able to participate in the kickoff of the branding process, creating buy-in, and they also knew what the general look and feel of the brand will be. It can take clients awhile to warm up to their logo concepts, because they've never viewed their brand in that visual way before. It will also give the client some great ways that their desired colors and feels can be used in the real world.
  • Moodboards translate vague preferences into concrete visuals
    People can sometimes have a hard time describing what they like, and at times, what means one thing to someone can mean something else to another. Creating a moodboard eliminates this risk of miscommunication, because you’re able to really agree on what the direction looks like. I could describe a brand as minimal, vintage, and feminine — but many others could describe it differently, or think of varying visuals when I use those describing words. A moodboard ensures that you and your client are always on the same page.
  • They establish brand colors early on
    This eliminates vastly different color options in an early stage, so clients can get used to brand colors and see what truly works best with the look and feel they're aiming for with their new brand. Even if you have different primary and secondary color options later on, the moodboard process gives clients a general idea of the colors you will recommend for their brand. 
  • They get people excited
    This is a slightly more selfish reason to enjoy making moodboards, but people love them. Of course, they get the client excited, but moodboards are also awesome content for Instagram and Pinterest. It takes time, care, and creativity to put a moodboard together, so it's natural the people are drawn to them for inspiration and their aesthetically pleasing quality. It's also a great element for your clients to have to show friends, family, and clients to make sure the desired emotions are being evoked by the moodboard, and to get clients excited about the entire branding process. 

Check out some of my favorite moodboards I've created above. What is your favorite? What does your moodboard process look like?