Mood boards are design and marketing tools used extensively within the design industry to communicate information visually.
Mood boards are usually a collection of images, texture, colour etc. with the intention of communicating a visual statement
This creative process is a method to solve any number of design problems.
Mood boards are primarily used by designers to bring together sets of visual data, usually in the form of imagery, but can also include small objects, such as shells or gemstones etc., that link to a theme derived from the design brief.
Mood boards provide a “space” to arrange the collected visuals in a meaningful manner to the designer that enables the flow of thoughts, inspirations, and creativity for design outcomes—products.
Visual board process has three stages.
1. Research stage. Information is sourced and collected
2. Selection and elimination of data.
3. Information is presented to a client.
The use of mood boards as design tools is a well-established part of the design process.
Mood boards help designers in ‘analysis, creativity and idea development. Recognition was also given to mood boards as useful tools for identifying problem spaces (problem-finding) as well as exploring problem spaces.
There is a range of mood board types, each given a name that reflects its general purpose. They are grouped into four basic categories:
Category 1: remain relatively unchanged and are used to represent a company’s target market, often encapsulating the social, cultural, and personal values of the typical target consumer. They are referred to as lifestyle, customer, or customer profile boards, and underpin all design and marketing decisions made by the company
Category 2: target market in mind and are used at the initial experimentation stage to explore and develop design ideas. They are usually non-product specific. Typical names used for this type of board include mood, concept, ideas, inspiration, image, source, theme, story, and style or presentation boards. These boards are in essence potential qualitative research tools as they allow for the exploration of ideas for products or themes.
Category 3 boards are used to develop further and refine ideas and are more product-specific. Specific board types include styling and theme boards, forecasting, and colour, fabric, and sample boards. Each of these boards enables designers’ to focus on specific areas of the design separately to bring about a strong product concept. An example of a styling board is shown in Figure 5. These boards are used extensively by fashion designers to enable all aspects of design for new apparel ranges to be fully explored to bring freshness and originality to the garment ranges.
Category 4 boards are used for presenting products to clients in marketing and sales presentations. These mood boards employ robust visual communications to demonstrate not only the product or service but also to support and strengthen a brand.
While mood boards have purpose and importance, they should also be useful, innovative, and fun to use, providing a powerful tool or technique for communicating a statement or focus on a project.
Mood boards can be used to encourage the development of creative abilities, to articulate creative thinking and for the exploration and communication of these in a visual manner. They can be used to stimulate the initial understanding of a brief to engage with a project, regardless of whether they are a requirement or not.
Simon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown. Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses. Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment.
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