I’ve been working on a lot of branding projects lately, for both corporate events and weddings. So I thought I’d take a moment to discuss how mood boards are beneficial to the design process, why I use them, and how I create them.


mood board for an artisan furniture company

First of all, what are mood boards? Mood boards are a tool that designers use to help steer the visual of a project in a certain direction. They are a collage that can include texture, images, colors, icons, and fonts. Throughout the design process, the board serves as a touchstone for inspiration.

When I’m starting a mood board, I try to think about what makes each particular project and client different. Delving deep into a client’s tastes or a company’s culture will help me establish what to look for when gathering imagery, compiling a color palette, and putting together patterns and textures. During this process, I don’t often collect finished design work for my board. I don’t want the design of other projects to affect or influence my end product. Pinterest has made it so easy to gather all the necessary elements. What did I do without it?


mood board for a springtime wedding

I always choose at least one typeface to serve as a touchstone for my look and feel. Even if I don’t end up using the chosen font for whatever reason—maybe it wouldn’t be legible in blocks of copy or in signage read from far away, for example—it adds depth to the design.


mood board for the American Board of Ophthalmology’s 2016 Symposium

Some designers and agencies share their mood boards with their clients so they can be sure they’re on the right path to the solution. And if they’re not, they can easily change the mood without having to spend too much time or expense altering a design. I normally don’t share my boards with my clients because most of the time my clients aren’t necessarily used to working with designers, and it has been my personal experience that clients can get sort of fixated on the “mood” in comparison to the comps I end up showing them, or they are often confused by what their looking at. But I might share the board if a client is a close friend, another creative or happens to be used to the design process.


mood board for a summertime wedding

I’m working on a particularly interesting, yet challenging, project for the National Mining Association. They are having their national expo this September and I’ve been tasked to create the look and feel for the event with several deliverables, including overall branding, signage, and presentations for the awards gala and general session. To be honest, I know nothing about the mining industry…nothing. Needless to say, this project is a bit out of my comfort zone. But it’s projects like these where a mood board really helps. And with over 52,000 guests expected to attend I really want to get it right.

Below is the board I created. What do you think? I’m kind of in love with the palette…so bright and fresh. And the earthy textures speak to what their organization does and who it represents.


mood board for the National Mining Association’s 2016 Expo

In the end, the extra time needed to create a mood board actually ends up saving time for the design process. And truthfully, it’s kind of fun!

mood boards • pomp creative • design studio • washington, dc • annapolis, maryland