Why I love the moodboard



Ask any designer, be it graphic, fashion, interior, architecture, they will all have one key tool up their sleeve - the moodboard. It is one of my personal favourite parts of the branding process and an all round favourite at Tonik too.

To those of you unfamiliar with the life of a designer I would simply describe the moodboard as a collection of images that sum up a look and feel. A toolkit for which designers use when designing, containing colour palettes, vibes, fonts and imagery already in place to take cues from. If you’ve ever tried designing without a moodboard, let me tell you, it’s nearly impossible. 

I often use the theory of moodboarding outside of branding projects - most of you Pinners will do the same too! I save ‘boards’ on Pinterest and ‘Collections’ on instagram - usually planning for future flatlays or design reference. A branding moodboard however, requires you to be uber selective and only choose the most suitable images for the future of the brand. It must sum up exactly the story and visual equity of the brand through image alone. A tall order for the mere moodboard don’t you think!?




A good moodboard means that the designer’s job becomes easier, (in theory) but it also acts as benchmark for the finished design. If your brand looks like it fits on the moodboard then you’ve nailed it!

At Tonik, usually (depending on the project that is) we will create two mood boards or ‘Directions’ as we like to call them, often digitally for the client but it’s also nice to get back to basics with some good old cutting-and-sticking. (It makes for a great BTS piece and it’s fun to do too!)

My moody tips:

  • When designing always have the moodboard to hand - don’t take your eyes off of it!
  • Study every detail, if you think something looks good then ask why? What particular design element makes it so?
  • Use a selection of imagery that sums up the ‘feel’ of a place. This is hard to explain, maybe it’s designer intuition but try to find an image that represents the emotion of the brand or place.
  • Be selective. Only use images that work well together - remember this is your toolkit! If you ain’t going to use that kind of typeface or colour then why is it there?
  • Avoid duplication. If two images are doing the same thing, streamline it. Moodboards can be busy places! There’s no need to repeat a reference for a script font if there’s one doing a really good job already.
  •  Play with scale. If everything is the same scale it can be difficult to focus. By pulling out the important reference you are drawing attention to areas that need it.
  • Think about the colour zones. Create a co-hesive colour world - if you squint your eyes what 3 key colours pop out? If I find a reference that’s the wrong colour I just change it in photoshop.

In summary, the moodboard should never be overlooked in any branding process – although often seen as a bit of ‘fun’  it’s pivotal to the execution of many, if not all, successful projects.


Laura EvansLady Luck