I don’t know when the last time was you created a moodboards, but if you’re skipping this crucial step then you’re likely wasting a lot of with edits, changes, arguments, or misunderstandings with clients.
Honestly, the first time I heard the phrase, ‘moodboard’ I pictured something out of The Secret – a crude board coated in images cut out from magazines, which is used for positive affirmation and motivation. I was half right – it is a pastiche of images in some sense and is used for creative guidance, but this is pre-storyboard step ensures alignment between overall aesthetic, client expectations, and the final design. Think of it as a client’s Pintrest board.
When creating a moodboard, you want to address all the key specifications and features the client knows for certain. Moodboards aren’t necessary if your client has a brand book or guidelines; in those instances, jump right ahead to storyboarding.
As a designer, you’re not only supposed to create the aesthetic but guide your client’s wishes to realisation through effective visual communication and leadership. Moodboards are a vital first step to ensuring you, your client, and the final design are all in-sync together.
Moodboards are an organisation tool for creating holistic engagement across the project’s stakeholders. As a centralised point for collaboration, moodboards help set the initial art direction to reduce time and efforts wasted on amendments. By arranging key design elements in an easily digestible medium helps set artistic direction from the outset.
Obviously much of the moodboard’s aesthetic will be set out by the client’s expectations, so we will ask about any design features they prefer. Colour palette is one of the most important elements as it sets the mood of the moodboard. If there will be text in the final design, then fonts are also important for inclusion as they play a key role in the visual aesthetic too. Also, we make sure to ask clients for any previous collateral/assets including key notes such as what worked and didn’t. It doesn’t hurt too ask for any other sources of inspiration clients like, which can be reinterpreted or redesigned to suit their needs.
Since PowerPoint is such a simple program to use, it’s easy for your clients to comfortably contribute ideas and inspiration to their moodboards, include notes and comments, or pick from the design element options.
Furthermore, creating in PowerPoint means it’s easy to transfer elements, or complete slides, from your moodboard to storyboard to the final product. And this doesn’t just include static elements such as colour, images, and text, but also video, animation, and audio tracks.
Due to time constraints, designers often forget and skip moodboard creation and jump straight into storyboarding before they have adequate artistic direction for the project. This is understandable but entirely counter-intuitive considering the amount of time is wasted on design tweaks, changes, and edits – all of this back and forth could be minimised from the start if designers would remember to start with a moodboard. We’ve all received vague or incomplete design briefs, so don’t be afraid to ask for more clarity around what the client wants. This way you won’t waste precious time and resources making massive changes that could have been avoided with the right moodboard.