In the Mood

On Mood Boards

When we sit down (or stand up, depending on what kind of desk you prefer) to develop a brand identity, it doesn’t happen in a silo.

(Not much happens in a solo silo at Brains on Fire, to be honest.) We try to bring as many brains to the table as possible, whenever possible. AEs chime in with copy ideas. Copywriters get recruited to help source design inspiration. Community Managers hop in on strategy development. This isn’t an accident. We’re a mixed bag by design. We find that the more diversity in perspective we can bring to a project, the better the thinking, the better the work, the better the outcome. So while our clients typically have a set team of standard players working on their accounts and showing up to weekly meetings, there’s a strong likelihood they’re reaping the benefits of much bigger mix of minds behind the scenes.

One of the projects a lot of us enjoy hopping in on are mood boards. At the onset of a project, we will often start to flesh out 3+ different identities. This includes everything from colors to fonts, language to images. It can often be a challenge for some people to envision the nuanced differences from one identity to the next, so we will typically create mood boards to accompany each. (Somehow, being able to see the subtle differences seems to make it a lot easier to grasp. And in many instances, this helps a client easily gravitate toward the identity that best “fits” them.)

I asked our resident design humans to share some thoughts on mood boards and why/how they work:

“A mood board is a visual tool created from gathering a series of images (either printed or digital) used for design inspiration to help convey the essence or theme for a new design project. The inclusion of fonts can be one of the most helpful parts, whether it’s the full font or a partial letter from an old photograph. Creating a mood board helps to create a baseline for the creative process. It’s a starting point that everyone can visually reference and match to in terms of color or a specific image treatment.”Val

“Mood boards help set a tone with the client. They are a fun and quick way to visualize themes and a very general direction for where we could take their branding / identity. This can be shapes, colors, photographs, existing branding, fonts, etc.”Josh

“The mind of a creative/artist/designer can be difficult to understand for the left-brained. Mood boards are a way for the “visually impaired” to better understand limitless potential of their brand from a creative’s perspective. To better see what we see, and grasp the rationale behind the solutions we share. Sometimes referencing a simple photo or brand they connect with can turn on lights and create defining moments in the process. Defining moments that exude new trust and confidence from both sides.”Sean

We recently challenged the team at Brains on Fire to assemble individual mood boards that represent our “personal brands.” Think you can figure out who is who? Check them out and take your best guess. Answers at the bottom of the post. 

Our Mood Boards

(Answers below)





























Answer Key: 1. Abby Pautz  /  2. Ben Hart  /  3. Amy Taylor  /  4. Gustavo Delgado  /  5. Amanda Knight  /  6. Robbin Phillips  /  7. Josh Maynard  /  8. Greg Cordell  /  9. Moe Rice  /  10. Alison Quarles  /  11. Laura Garvin  /  12. Emily Kosa  /  13. Josh Elwell  /  14. Valerie Miller

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