What is a mood board?
A mood board is a visual summary of inspirational images, objects, material swatches, trims or product examples that explain the concept and feeling of your brand, collection or customer. Basically a brain dump of whatever you are inspired by.
The inspiration can be a topic, a place, a color scheme, material story or entirely functional, based on the activity of your customer. You can either do it on the computer or on a big hard board. Personally I love to touch things and feel the textures so a physical board or wall is my thing. Try both till you find your favourite way of working.
Why do you need a mood board?
Because this will make you stay consistent and focused to your brand values. You will have it “in your face” and you will be reminded on where you are going. Before designing your garments, the images and objects on the board will help you steer in the right direction, design wise.
When you are finished, make an edited digital version. It will serve as a fantastic communication tool and it will keep your team on the same page as you.
The mood board is a living document and should be changed season to season, because as you, your brand will evolve. Regardless of the evolution it should always be consistent with your values.
How to make a mood board.
The quick and easy way would be to buy highly priced trend forecasting books. I know that you’re smarter than that and that you want to do things YOUR way. Otherwise a big risk is that your stuff will end up looking like somebody else’s because you have the same inspiration. Create your own universe, with your values and taste and make your own trend forecasting.
Pinterest and Tumblr are fantastic online sources for pictures or just type your search word into google and see where that takes you. For more “live” inspiration go on a trip, go to galleries, exhibitions, the library or to a music festival. Buy fashion, design, and architecture magazines that catches your eye. Your board doesn’t necessarily have to only include garment pictures, it can be a modern architectural building, a fine sculpture, a vintage shoe, a breathtaking view, even a conversation.
Writing down words that pop up in your head and put them on your board. For some people words are more inspirational than images.
It is very easy to look at what other brands are doing and to pin pictures of referential garments. Give yourself a challenge and DON’T include competitors products on your board.
You can also pin material swatches and trims you like. You can make small mock-ups for interesting design solutions. Pin anything that will evoke some sort of feeling. It could be a good idea to give your board a title, like a phrase or a name. This can be used in your marketing.
No matter how many pics and things you have on your board at the end, edit. The pics that don’t speak to you that much should be taken off the board. Consistency is key. Too many different things can give a messy impression. With time you will learn how to curate.
To make sure you are consistent in your head and not only on your board, present the mood board to a team member or a friend. Saying things out loud will force you to think what makes sense, and what doesn’t follow the red thread.
One more very important thing: Have fun! This part, before the product development phase is crucial and will dictate the tone of your collection. Give yourself a couple of weeks, don’t stress or force it and trust the process. Take a step back, look at it from afar and open your brain up for the input flow that it will give you. Take notes and even sketch if you get immediate ideas.
Enjoy, this is one of the best parts about having your own brand.