Wednesday, July 19, 2017

At Archer, we typically begin the brand development process by asking: “how would you describe your company in three words?” It’s a simple question, but it’s not necessarily easy to answer if you haven’t thought about your company in that way before.

Answers can range from three words to a lengthy story detailing a company’s long history in the industry. While the answers to this question can greatly vary, they set the stage for the entire design process.

We like to get our clients to think of their company as a person, as opposed to a business. What would that person be like? How do they make you feel? When a company is described as professional, technical, and corporate, as opposed to light-hearted, bright, and friendly, that gives a real sense of the mood that the company is trying to express. Using this insight, along with an analysis of competitive research, target audience, and the client’s overall goals, we can develop mood boards to help expand on the personality that the new brand identity should portray.

To help better explain what mood boards consist of and how they can help establish strong, consistent brand identities, we had two designers at Archer compile mood boards representing their own personalities.

Ashley's Mood Board

Ashley’s mood board showcases an organic, eclectic, and cheerful style. The light shades of blue and green consistently show through in the natural elements and photography, as well as the handmade-look of the pottery, jewelry, and lettering. By gathering these pieces together and viewing them as a single unit, we can envision Ashley’s personality and style.

Luke's Mood Board

Conversely, Luke’s mood board represents a much more modern, minimalist, and geometric style. The color palette is subdued and includes more neutral tones. These elements would imply a simpler aesthetic with a lot of white space and clean lines.

As you can see, these two contrasting mood boards feature several different design elements, colors, typography selections, and photography styles. But each one makes it possible to start visualizing what their new logo, website or ad campaign could look like. The boards clearly express a unique visual personality and aesthetic, helping to make future design choices.

Three major benefits of developing mood boards that accurately represent a company include:

  1. Unique Experiences. They help the company and design team think about the brand in a more personal way, therefore creating a unique experience for customers that is relatable and emphasizes the company’s core messaging.

  2. Client Expectations. They provide the client with a clear indication of styles or imagery that are being used as inspiration for the next steps of the brand development process, including logo design and tagline creation.

  3. Guide for the Future. They provide a touchstone for future design work to follow, which in turn ensures brand consistency.

With the help of design and photography blogs, as well as apps like Pinterest, it’s easy to research different styles and create mood boards for any project or brand. Taking the time to do this will help a brand develop and maintain a cohesive look that makes sense. This will likely lead to improved brand recognition and more effective connections with consumers. It can also enhance a business owner’s understanding of their brand and help them communicate its messaging in a meaningful and compelling way.