Moodboards are gorgeous, and a great way to build a colour scheme. When I’m building a custom brand for a client, I almost always start with a moodboard. They’re an easy way to gather together a bunch of images that inspire you, and a great jumping off point for any brand.
Especially if you’re DIYing your own brand, a moodboord is a great place to start, so you can gather your thoughts and choose a design direction you want to go in. Once you have a moodboard you like, you can open it up and refer to it every time you’re designing anything for your brand. This makes it easier to ensure that your designs are cohesive. You can even print off your moodboard and hang it up on your wall near your workspace, and glance at it when you need inspiration.
Since a moodboard can be so beneficial to anyone DIYing their brand, I’ve created a free template you can download and use in Photoshop to create your own moodboard. I’ve got technical instructions below and a video version on how to use the template, but first let’s talk about what you should be putting in your moodboard. If you just pick a bunch of random images from the web and throw them in thinking it’s going to build you a colour scheme, it probably won’t.
This is the moodboard that I created along with my brand when I branded The White Corner Creative in the first place. Then when I rebranded as Melissa Carter Design, the design was still relevant since I maintained the same colour scheme. The best thing to do when creating your own moodboard is to browse Pinterest to find inspiration. Create a specific board for your brand, and then start pinning images to it. Pin images of logos and graphics you like, of colour schemes you like, and any image that you see that you think ‘hey, I’d like my brand to be like that‘. Once you have a good number of images in there (I’d say atleast 10), then go over it again. Pick one that you love, and use that as the base image for your brand. Delete any images from your board that don’t flow well with that image. If you do that, the images you have left should all have the same colour scheme or feel, and you can pull from those to use in your moodboard.
When deciding what images to actually use in your moodboard, think about having a nice array of colours and subject matter. If you are an organizer, you don’t necessarily want to have just pictures of just desks and boxes. It would be nice if someone could look at your moodboard and know exactly what it is you do, but it isn’t necessary. My moodboard includes pictures of water, ice cream, and a car, none of which have anything to do with what I do as a designer. It’s more the feel of the board that you are wanting to carry over into your brand. So the feelings that your board brings out are what’s important. My board brings out words like minimalistic, fresh, bold, and modern, so even though I don’t have anything do with ice cream in my business, this board is still representative of my brand.
Once you have your images selected, then start using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop and just clicking on them to pull out colours you like. Eventually you should have one or two colours you love and you can build from there. You can also check out my post on How to Choose a Colour Scheme When You’re not a Designer for a detailed break down of how to choose colours.
Though using Pinterest images is a great way to find inspiration, it’s tough to know the true legalities of doing so, since those images belong to someone out there. If the moodboard you are creating is only for personal use, for your own brand, it’s likely okay to use those images in your moodboard, and it’s what a lot of people do. However, if you plan on sharing the moodboard or posting it to your website, think about using stock imagery or your own pictures.
If you absolutely must use images from Pinterest or somewhere on the web that aren’t yours, then atleast provide credit on your website linking back to that person like I have here. Usually in the economy of sharing and cross promotion that we live in today, most image owners will be happy with a link back, though you still could find some out there who are unhappy with you using their images without their permission.
Using this template in Photoshop is super easy, and it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to place all your content.
Open the template in Photoshop. You also need to open the images you are going to use in your mood board – either in photoshop or any other program, or just online if you have them there. Then you just drag the images into your brand board photoshop document. This will create a new layer for each image.
Next, in the layers panel, find the layer that you want to place the image in for. If you’re not sure which layer is which, you can show/hide the layer by clicking on the eye icon, and see what disappears. But, each layer is numbered so it should be simple to tell.
Next, we’re going to place the image in the area you want it to be in, for example, number 1. In the layers panel, drag your image so that it’s the layer above the number 1 layer. Then grab the actual image on the canvas, and drag it so that it is on top of the area you want it to appear in.
Then, right click on the image layer, and click Create Clipping Mask. This will make it so that the image only shows through in the rectangular area. You can now move, edit, and resize the image within that area using the transform tool.
Then just repeat this for all the different areas in the moodboard, until all your content is in place.
To colour in the areas on the right with your brand colours, you just have to select the Colour Palette layer, and use the paint bucket tool to colour each rectangle in. Last of all you’ll want to delete or hide the the numbers layer so they don’t show up on your moodboard.
This post was originally publishing on December 16, 2015 and has been updated to better serve you!