October 30, 2018
One of my favourite go-to places for branding inspiration is Pinterest. In fact, at the start of any branding project, I recommend my clients build their own mood board.
What’s a mood board? Well, it’s simply a collection of images that represent the overall look and feel of your business.
But, before you get started, it’s important to remember WHO you are trying to attract to your business. So first, let’s think about our Ideal Client!
For this exercise, try to put yourself in the mind of your Ideal Client. You know the one! That person you would love to work with and is the perfect fit for your offerings.
What outfits would your Ideal Client wear? Is he or she a top exec that dresses in high-end business suits or an environmentalist that lives in outdoor wear.
Or what would be their go-to accessory? A backpack from Herschel or a luxury B handbag from Fendi?
Where do they live and how would they decorate their house? If your ideal client is a stay at home mom, her house may be relaxed and casual or if you are targeting 20-something hipsters with an apartment in the city, their home would look & feel very different.
Another approach is to think about what they do in their spare time. Do they love weekend cityscapes to fun, new places or prefer staying local and checking out the latest art exhibit? Maybe they love spending Saturdays making batches of French macaroons or prefer being cozy on the couch with a crossword puzzle and a cup of tea.
Now that we are thinking about what our Ideal Client would be drawn too, let’s start pinning to our mood board!
There are so many places to look for branding inspiration! My biggest piece of advice is to look outside your industry or niche for unique ideas and a fresh perspective. Here are a few suggestions:
Don’t just Pin what YOU like.
Think about who your target customer is – what would he or she be drawn too and why? Above all, if your brand doesn’t appeal to your target client, you won’t attract the right customers for your product or service.
Don’t just Pin other people’s websites or brand style guides. Look outside your industry or niche for unique ideas and a fresh perspective.
Remember, the purpose of a brand is to differentiate yourself in your market. You don’t want to look the same as your competitor. Also, the intention is to stand out in a saturated marketplace, not to fit in with the crowd and be forgotten.
In other words, set yourself apart and look for branding inspiration outside of your niche!
Once you have a good variety of Pins that you think would attract your Ideal Client, it’s time to start editing!
Branding Inspiration for my client, KMN Events Co. in South Surrey, BC
Let’s start editing! Look back at all your pins so far. Start editing by removing the ones that don’t fit in the overall mood of your board. Ideally, by the end, you’ll be left with about 20 key images that are a true reflection of the look and feel you are trying to create.
This includes outfits and rooms including detailed elements like a great jacket, rug, or light fixture. Why are you drawn to those things? Look at the angles or lack thereof, the colours or metals being used. For instance, are the materials soft & luxurious or hard & solid?
Think about the elements you’ve pinned such as flowers, forest, water, sky, bark, cactus, etc. We are looking for colour & texture inspiration here. What moods are evoked by these natural elements?
Some examples are stripes, marble, abstract art, polka dots, watercolour, ink blots, etc. Look for possible patterns or backgrounds that can become unique features in your brand. What adjectives would you use to describe the patterns you pinned? Do they fit with how you would describe your business brand?
Here you are looking at the graphic design elements you’ve pinned. Do they have fonts with big & bold lettering or newspaper style, traditional serif text? Typography styles do have moods and characteristics of their own. How would you describe the fonts that you’ve pinned?
Are you noticing a common palette amongst the pins you have collected? Do make sure the colours you’ve chosen have the right connotations for your brand.
For example, is your brand reminiscent of a beach hut, a mountain chalet or a sleek penthouse in New York City? All of these destinations set very different moods. Are you noticing any similar feelings or traits in comparison to your fashion or interior design pins? Try to edit your pins to images that are consistent and cohesive with the moods they evoke.
Now that you’ve edited your mood board down to about 20 images, how would you describe what you’ve pinned? Think about how the group of images makes you feel? What do they remind you of? Make a list of these traits and characteristics.
Now, are these things what you’d like your business to be associated with?
If you said yes, congratulations! You’ve got a cohesive mood board that you can use to develop the visual direction of your brand.
But if you said no, go back and repin. Like anything of quality, a strong brand takes time and thought. Keep pinning and editing as many times as it takes to get the details just right.
As a visual designer, I’m always pinning images that inspire me and my client projects. So, come and follow me on Pinterest for more branding inspiration!
I’m Vanessa, a west coast Canadian girl obsessed with all things design who left her corporate gig to build websites for like-minded creative entrepreneurs. I’d love to help you too!
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